Tomorrow night, Joe Biden will give his State of the Union address. What will he say? Many in the Democratic Party would love to see someone else give that address – as in run for office against Joe Biden. Would Michelle Obama ever consider running for the Oval Office? Some in the GOP think it could happen:
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A few weeks back, while speaking to conservative radio talk show host Buck Sexton, Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson suggested that efforts are now underway to push President Joe Biden aside. Carlson responded, “I think this is to make way for Michelle. Just my view. Not provable. We’ll see.”
Michelle Obama for President?
Carlson and Sexton are far from the first to suggest that the former first lady could be a viable candidate in 2024.
In fact, in November 2021, a Hill-HarrixX poll showed that Vice President Kamala Harris and Michelle Obama were ahead of other possible candidates, notably Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
However, some context is needed.
Harris, who maintains a lower approval rating than Biden, was the choice of 13 percent of respondents to the poll, while Obama had 10 percent.
Those are hardly massive numbers, to say the least.
Moreover, this was a hypothetical poll only, so no doubt if Oprah Winfrey’s name was on the list she might have secured as much support as the other two – and perhaps even more.
It was also just a year ago that RealClearPolitics contributor and former GOP presidential campaign advisor Myra Adams offered an op-ed for TheHill.com that Mrs. Obama could be the Democrat’s best option should Biden not run.
Adams cited a survey from YouGov that found that Michelle Obama topped the list of the world’s most admired women for 2021 – well above Harris or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
A Baseless Rumor?
It apparently has little basis in reality – just as there is little basis to suggest that Oprah Winfrey would run either.
In a 2018 speech at the 39th annual Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, Obama said, “The reason why I don’t want to run for president — and I can’t speak for Oprah — but my sense is that, first of all, you have to want the job.”
It is clear Mrs. Obama doesn’t want the job, but as anyone who has read her books – or watched the Showtime original series The First Ladies – likely knows, she actually didn’t want her husband to be president either.
“I’ve never had the passion for politics. I just happened to be married to somebody who has the passion for politics, and he drug me kicking and screaming into the arena,” Mrs. Obama added.
That hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from working overtime.
“I really believe if Michelle Obama runs, she wins,” comedian Joe Rogan suggested on his popular podcast. “She’s great, she’s intelligent, she’s articulate, she’s the wife of the best president that we have had in our lifetime in terms of, like, a representative of intelligent, articulate people.”
While some Republicans would certainly debate Rogan’s take on the issue, it isn’t crystal clear that she could even win.
It is true that charismatic individuals have an advantage in American politics. John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard Nixon by his use of charm and charisma – but politics is about more today, or we should at least hope it is.
Michelle Obama: What Experience?
Simply put, former First Lady Hillary Clinton was already an experienced lawyer, but she knew that she’d need actual government experience to be considered a viable presidential candidate.
She was successfully elected to the United States Senate before launching a White House bid.
Later she served as secretary of state under President Obama, who had defeated her in the 2008 Democratic primaries.
Michelle Obama lacks such political experience.
Charisma goes a long way, but it is a substitute for experience. It is true that Donald Trump lacked political experience, but he appealed to a completely different base of voters and ran on his business success. Obama would be forced to run on her popularity, and that might not be enough to win moderate voters.
Yet, the most crucial consideration is that, as she said in 2018, you must want the job.
It doesn’t really seem like much has changed.
Whereas Hillary Clinton likely wanted the job even while husband Bill occupied the Oval Office, and by all accounts, felt it was owed to her, Michelle Obama is as likely to be happy to have that part of her life behind her.