Like she’s done so often during the past six years, Michelle Obama has stepped out of her pre-defined role as Lady of The White House and into the more rough and tumble world of hands-on politicking.
Her focus on getting America to eat better and exercise more is already a large part of the Obama Administration’s legacy. But. There’s a subtle shift – a ramping up if you will – in her scheduled activities that I believe signals a lot more than just an administration trying to accomplish all they can before it’s time to leave the white porticos of Washington D.C.
In the article linked at the top, The Hill refers to Mrs. Obama’s broadening agenda as flexing her muscles. They describe her as being sought after by 2014 Democratic candidates for public endorsement. That despite Barack’s current poll numbers, everyone running for office wants a thumbs up from Michelle.
When Hillary Clinton made it known she wanted more than her role as First Lady, her advisors encouraged her to make a political name for herself by securing a term as Senator. This, they said, would give her political credibility, authenticating her bid for presidency when the time came.
She played by all the rules, proved herself to be an effective senator and politician, ticked all the boxes that create a sound presidential candidate but in the end-game the delay cost her: None of her advisors saw Barack Obama coming. So while those of us who worked actively to seat a woman in the oval office, Mrs. Clinton lost her place on the 2008 ticket.
Sarah Palin marched toward the office of president on a very different path. Whether you believe her political career was contrived or not, built entirely on deception or not, she managed to go from total obscurity to national spotlight literally overnight. Her charismatic camera presence won over the hearts of a conservative party lacking in female leadership. Her brazen positioning herself as mother of a special needs child was pure gold, proffering a bottomless well of political currency that still pays her extravagant hotel bills today.
But Sarah Palin, with all her religious pandering and feigning of sacrifices made as the mother of a special needs child, failed to convince the vast majority of Americans that she was a capable leader and the election slipped through her fingers to land forever out of reach.
But before Sarah Palin slid back into obscurity she accomplished one immeasurable feat: She opened the door for other female aspirants to bypass the old rules of parliamentary procedure, showing by example that one needn’t spend years in elected positions to qualify for a run at the White House. Indeed, her own made-up record as mayor and governor demonstrated what a sham that requirement can be.
Michelle Obama’s schedule for the remainder of 2014 reads like a page from the play-book of aspiring young candidates. No longer obligated to support her husband’s political agenda it could well be her turn to set an agenda of her own. She has name-recognition, a strong educational and legal background, diverse popularity, a stable family life with beautiful, intelligent, scandal-free daughters and a country filled with people who already adore her personally and share her values.
No one is going to tell her to take time out and run for a lesser office first. She’s got momentum now and it would serve her well to keep going.
The Obama-created election machine is already in place. If Michelle Obama continues on a path to build her political portfolio, I’m betting 2016 will find more than one woman vying for the office of President of the United States. That said, an Obama or Clinton or a Clinton-Obama ticket in 2016 would suit me just fine :)
Thanks Sarah – for your unwitting contribution to Hillary and Michelle’s campaign. Go ahead. Pat yourself on the back! Your efforts may yet have helped put a woman in the oval office!