What on earth has happened to the spicy Michelle Obama? This is not a shy lady. Neither is she a woman without strong views on the news of the day. For awhile there, we would hear from her with some frequency on matters of public interest. When Obama took office, I had expected that we would see a FLOTUS in the Hillary Clinton mode, very much in the foreground as an advisor to the President, and vocal in support of the administration’s policies. I thought it likely that she would seek public office herself someday.
I still think that.
And that’s why I find it most interesting that, as her beloved (I’m not being sarcastic here) husband is suffering an appalling decline in his personal popularity, and his initiatives, one after the other, leave the center who elected him mostly aghast, she is reportedly devoting her fierce intelligence and legendary energy to the encouragement of organic arugula. True, her gardening efforts have called attention to the levels of lead in urban soils, but other than that not even Michelle Malkin has found anything overtly political in the First Lady's switch in fertilizers from sewage sludge – really – to “White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand,” according to The New York Times. (Oops, I spoke too soon.)
I confess that it has occurred to me that Mrs. Obama might have her finger a little more firmly on the pulse of public regard than does her man, and is looking forward to a time when she might want to offer herself up for voters’ approval. A prominent public embrace of POTUS’s widely loathed – at least for now – initiatives on health care, immigration, judicial appointments, international blame-taking, and all the rest would make deniability, uh, implausible:
“I stand before you now as one who, according to the Congressional Avoirdupois Office -- created with bipartisan support at my request -- advocated for policies that resulted in a net aggregate reduction of 157 million tons of suet from the growing bodies of our nation’s children and adolescents during the four years I served this country as its First Lady. That, in turn, has reduced childhood diabetes and other lard-related illnesses to the point where our nation can safely reduce its reliance on professional healthcare, which, as you know, has declined in recent years for some reason." [Wink, eye-roll.] [Wild cheering.]
I’m not saying that her trademark project of fighting childhood obesity is unworthy. Every FLOTUS has assigned herself some uncontroversial cause or other, and this is a pretty good one. But during this period of enormous change accompanied by enormous controversy, her disappearance from the hustings is notable. Thinking ahead, that one is.
By the way: Turnips, carrots, spinach, chard, black kale – the President has reportedly vetoed beets – it’s not surprising that Malia and Sacha have lost weight. What’s surprising is that they haven’t run away. If you’re invited to the White House for dinner, you might sneak in some Skittles for the young ladies; and, as a gift for the host, Obama’s own personal weight-loss aid: a carton of Marlboro Lights.