When it comes to Michelle Obama, it’s not all about the brunches, dresses, and pearls. In fact, Michelle Obama has used her role as the First Lady of the United States to advocate for various policies across the country. While her main platform is fighting childhood obesity by getting kids active, she is currently working with Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, to promote Joining Forces, an initiative to help get our troops back into civilian jobs.
What is interesting about this campaign is that while on the surface it seems like a typical, run-of-the-mill, First Lady wanting to help the troops that makes us all go “Aww, isn’t she sweet?” we really should be saying, “What a smart move for the Obama team.”
In the president’s State of the Union address, he told the American people that more and more troops will be coming home every day, and this war should be over by 2014. While this is great news and has helped Obama’s term, the Obama team must already realize a major problem bubbling up….giving about 1 million women and men the chance to transition into civilian life when they return from overseas.
But why is it Michelle promoting this campaign and not President Obama? Perhaps it has something to do with popularity polls. These polls show that President Obama doesn’t always do so hot when it comes to the opinions of the American people. In fact, it is usually Michelle that racks up an extra few points above President Obama.
See this link for more information about the first lady and the president’s popularity polls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Vyvfdk8UTI
So let’s face it, Michelle’s likeability coupled with her intelligence and wit, makes her quite the asset, especially during the 2012 campaign. Some could even say she’s becoming a national phenomenon given all her recent public appearances (Jimmy Fallon and the Oscars, anyone?). All this surmounts to the fact that she can extend the role of first lady to push forward some of President Obama’s policies.
For example, on February 25th, Mrs. Obama spoke to the National Governors Association about Joining Forces, a campaign with the goal to get America’s heroes back to work once they return back to the states. She referred to it as, “the most pressing responsibility to our troops.”
But what she casually mentions is that this work of helping veterans and service men and women find jobs was started by President Obama last year. She said, “Last summer my husband created a task force to help our service members obtain the national certification that they need to help fill high-demand civilian jobs, starting with the manufacturing industry. And today we are excited to announce that we are expanding this effort to the state level to focus on the healthcare and transportation industries.”
She continues by asking the governors to take this matter seriously, and provides resources and information for the governors to take back home.
So what do we see here? We see a First Lady having a conversation with political actors. We see a First Lady prompting governors to work on this campaign. We see a First Lady being assertive and reminding these governors that she will be following up. We see a First Lady that is actively taking a bigger role in national politics.
See this link for a full video of the first lady addressing the governors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YEZPDRBkYE
Where else have we seen this? Yes, I’m sure you’re thinking it: Hillary Clinton.
In fact, political analysts have already discussed the similarities between Michelle and Hillary. And these political analysts are already buzzing about whether Michelle will follow in Hillary’s footsteps and run for political office down the road. Perhaps the senate seat back in Illinois after 2016?
See here for some information about the similarities between Michelle and Hillary: http://www.salon.com/2013/02/25/michelle_is_the_next_hillary/
Could she pull it off? Perhaps she can. Her popularity and likeability seem to keep going up and up. She is becoming a household name thanks to her recent appearances on Ellen and Jimmy Fallon’s talk shows, as well as Good Morning America.
As for now, political office aspirations are probably just that, aspirations. However, Michelle Obama is definitely someone we want to keep an eye on in the future.
Check out these videos of the first lady on various talk shows:
On Ellen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTAIedFfUBU
On Jimmy Fallon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2XWHew_IbM
More On Jimmy Fallon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq-URl9F17Y
On Good Morning America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXcA_BEhd3g