Thursday, January 5th, 2012

It's Time for Michelle Obama to Get Pregnant

Worried about Barack Obama's reelection chances in the face of flagging support from his base, experienced Democratic political strategists, former White House administration officials and professional political pundits have called for the president to "go bold." Last week, former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich even predicted that Obama dump Biden in 2012 and make Hillary Clinton his new vice president: "Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base."

Only a Yale-educated statusquocrat's idea of "bold" would be to add another Clinton. I have a far more truly bold political strategy for 2012 (one based on absolutely no inside information): Get Michelle Obama pregnant. In other words, put a pregnant First Lady on the Democratic ticket for 2012.

Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of not just a Democratic base that’s lost the "hope" and passion of 2008, but also of the only large group of undecided voters left: Grandmas. A Michelle heavy into her third term in October can give the reelection campaign that kind of (baby) bump. Here's why:

A lack of perceived sex appeal has never been Obama's problem. But what sitting president's image, hobbled with a flaccid economy and a impotent Congress, couldn't use a shot of virility?

A First Lady with child is an unlimited well for campaign stump speech jokes about a pregnant wife that speechwriters can punctuate with crushing moments of gravity about "securing the future for my unborn child." Just imagine the President speaking with trademark Obama gravitas while placing a hand on the swollen belly. At any given time, about least 3.3 million American women are pregnant. Assuming 2.8 million of them are of voting age, a pregnant Michelle Obama could be counted on for at least a 2.6 million "pregnant vote" landslide. Imagine the "Meet the Press" episode of December 2012 that mentions the "womb vote."

Not only will all of those "Michelle Obama has a fat butt" jokes go away, those who told them will feel rightfully ashamed.

By not aborting the baby, Obama will have improved his standing with the pro-life voters—a standing that currently could not possibly be worse.

Certainly there are some drawbacks to this strategy. For example, some might bristle at the suggestion that the First Lady of the United States be used as a broodmare to advance her husband's political prospects. To these I say, "Think of England." Or more specifically, "Think of Cherie Blair."

Blair was then 46. Michelle is 47. Which, as it happens, is only a year or so older than the Duggar family mom who just months ago announced that she was pregnant again. America loves the Duggars. With the Duggars having endorsed Rick Santorum, this is a perfect way to neutralize any Duggar bump. Of course, Mrs. Duggar (also named Michelle) just recently revealed that she suffered a miscarriage. While the Obama camp clearly could not plan (or wish) for such an unfortunate incident to occur, I would point out it would clearly be worth a 12 to 14 point bounce for his campaign. It might even reach 16 points should anti-Obama activists launch a "Where's the death certificate" action.

Finally, with Ron Paul now the sure GOP nominee after his unexpectedly high showing in Iowa, Obama will be loaded with charming, disarming debate jokes about how being at an event with Rep. Ron Paul is reassuring as Paul is an obstetrician.

Sure, earlier this year, President Obama told ABC News not to expect any more little Obamas, saying, "I think what Michelle's general view is, 'we're done.'" But Obama has not seemed particularly bothered by not keeping campaign promises before.

Obviously, Obama needs to get started on this campaign strategy immediately. By late October, Michelle would ideally be in her 38th week or later. My suggestion: The Lincoln bedroom.

Only one baby has been born to a president in the White House. In 1893, President Grover Cleveland and First Lady Frances welcomed daughter Esther. While I would not go so far as to say the Obamas should hint that they would name the baby Esther, it would almost certainly be worth another half point to a point with that important swing grandma demographic.

Obamas +1 in 2012. It’s a natural, even if the birth itself isn't.

Abe Sauer is the author of the book How to be: North Dakota. He is on Twitter. Email him at abesauer @

52 Comments / Post A Comment

sigerson (#179)

I like this plan a lot. But it won't be necessary when the President will get 300+ electoral college votes just by running on his record, bitchslapping the Republicans in Congress for doing nothing, and highlighting what a big phoney Mitt Romney is.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@sigerson What good will that do against the Republican nominee, Ron Paul?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@Abe Sauer Are there enough Republicans who want to end the Fed? Really?

r&rkd (#1,719)

@Abe Sauer
Obama can always remind voters that, while he has always supported there being at least one long, drawn-out war, a vote for Paul is a vote that war should not just go on forever!

LoriA (#173,752)

Wow. What a total satire fail.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@LoriA I'm old and fat so my vote doesn't count, but I thought it was delicately balanced between satire and valid counsel.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@LoriA Wow. Completely hilarious satire, and probably a great idea.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

@LoriA Wow. What a total comment fail.


LoriA (#173,752)

@LoriA You guys are so right. There's nothing like a white man commenting on the womb of a black female public figure to undermine and ridicule social norms. I mean, it's *ironic*, so that's all that counts.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@LoriA Point taken on the race/gender squeamishness, but I thought the actual target of the satire was the voting public, with a little collateral damage on the continued existence post-Shrum of "Democratic strategists."

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@LoriA "Commenting on the womb"? That sounds painful.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@MissNormaDesmond maybe LoriA's imagination is just too vivid and (s)he actually envisions the moment of contraception between these two people (I personally respect) *from inside their bodies* and feels like this is a violation of some sort. I feel I've violated myself just supposing such a vision.

LoriA (#173,752)

@dntsqzthchrmn Right. And I'm saying he missed his intended target. Hence the 'fail.'

Didn't the JFKs birth an infant while in office? It died but certainly counts in Santorum world.

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

If he was really ambitious, he would get Hillary Clinton pregnant.

@Lockheed Ventura : Get out of my head. Also, out of that folder hidden under "Tax Forms" on my hard drive.

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@Lockheed Ventura I'm new here. You can't click that thumbs up button more than once, right?

hockeymom (#143)

Look at how cute they are!
(sorry, I still react to happy Obama photos the way Balk reacts to a baby polar bear and Choire reacts to appropriate footwear.)

He should name the kid Osama. Circle of life.

Zack (#2,609)

This is a much better plot device than Canadian Bacon's.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

The campaign needs a good scandal, like Biden selling votes for hairplugs. Or Michelle can get hairplugs and Biden gets pregnant.

liz (#3,108)

this is amazing

jfruh (#713)

It's not a bad way to improve a flagging show's ratings as it enters its fourth season, but wouldn't be easier if they just adopted an adorable nephew, or let their wacky nerd neighbor move in with them?

freetzy (#7,018)

@jfruh Or replace one actor with another and let NO ONE EVER SPEAK OF IT.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@freetzy Where is Marta #1 these days, anyway.

@dntsqzthchrmn In the banana stand, with Ann #1.

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@jfruh Obama wakes up and his first term was all a bad dream.

cherrispryte (#444)

Oh good, another example of misogyny vaguely disguised as satire.

@cherrispryte : I assume you were going to say "thinly disguised as satire," but you didn't want to be sizeist.

cherrispryte (#444)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose While I do work quite hard against sizeism, it was in fact a toss up between "marginally disguised" and "vaguely disguised" – thin didn't enter into it!

LoriA (#173,752)

@cherrispryte Don't you get it? A white man commenting on a black woman's reproductive choices is totes satire if it's done *ironically*. Hipster racism and sexism FTW.

@LoriA : That's pretty ironic, coming from someone with a white avatar.

Oh God, I'm going to commentator hell.

Abe Sauer (#148)

This is why Democrats can't have nice things.

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@LoriA You're seriously trying to argue this was a comment on Michelle Obama's reproductive choices?

cherrispryte (#444)

@Abe Sauer Funny, I was pretty sure that Democrats can't have nice things because they're (we're?) so quick to alienate key elements of the party.

and @LoriA Technically I believe the satirical element is intended to mock all of the "Obama should do X to get re-elected" pieces we've seen recently, not a comment on Michelle Obama's reproductive choices.
That said, if you're going to use a potentially misogynistic example to skewer a different topic, you better do so in a way that actually takes to task the people you're attempting to insult, rather than demeaning women voters as well as, you know, the First Lady.
There's the gem of a good idea here, but it's totally mishandled. The piece should have been written by an actual feminist, not someone who thinks, among other things, that it's acceptable to shame women for being fat and pregnant.

LoriA (#173,752)

"you better do so in a way that actually takes to task the people you're attempting to insult, rather than demeaning women voters as well as, you know, the First Lady."

Yeah. This.

LoriA (#173,752)

@MissNormaDesmond You're seriously trying to argue that "It's Time for Michelle Obama to Get Pregnant" is not a comment on her reproductive choices? Or did you mean to put 'serious' right before 'comment', instead? Because, no, obviously it's not serious, but that doesn't mean it isn't playing into the same bullshit it weakly attempts to skewer.

LoriA (#173,752)

@Abe Sauer You're right. This kind of attitude is exactly why.

LoriA (#173,752)

@Gef the Talking Mongoose That's actually not ironic at all.

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@cherrispryte I get it if this is a writer you don't like because you're aware he's written other obnoxious stuff before (I'll check your link in a moment), but I'm honestly not seeing what he's written here that's objectionable.

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@LoriA Yes, I'm seriously trying to argue that, because it's not. First, because, as you point out, it's not intended to be taken seriously. Second, because it's not about whether or not Michelle Obama gets pregnant, it's about the kind of ass who thinks that cynically getting one's wife pregnant (and that would be how such an ass would put it, totally ignoring that said wife is anything more than a receptacle for said pregnancy) is a legitimate campaign strategy. Which means that in turn it's about what's become of U.S. politics, which is that nothing matters except personality and feel-good moments, the phonier and hollower the better. I'm right there with anyone who's pissed off when women are genuinely being disrespected, but as I said before, I'm just not seeing it here.

LoriA (#173,752)

@MissNormaDesmond If you don't understand how "It's Time for Michelle Obama to Get Pregnant" is a comment about Michelle Obama's reproductive choices, I probably shouldn't even be having this conversation with you, because you apparently do not understand what words mean.

But for anyone else who's reading: a white man saying racist and sexist things doesn't automatically become funny or subversive because he doesn't really mean it. For more:

LoriA (#173,752)

@Abe Sauer I'll post this in reply to you, too, just in case you decide to stop acting like a jackass:

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@LoriA So basically you insist on respect for women, except for women who don't agree with you. Got it. And also, you don't really have an argument to make, so instead you try to make it about how I'm not perceptive enough to get the deep argument that you have yet to make. Got that, too.

cherrispryte (#444)

@MissNormaDesmond Here is my objection: I believe that if you're going to trivialize pregnancy, disregard female bodily autonomy, and insult the intellect of pregnant women – even when doing so to prove a completely unrelated point – you better have loudly and clearly proven that you are not at all a misogynist, and that you completely understand that what you're saying is deeply offensive. To me, if you're a dude, you need to make that point far more loudly and clearly than if you're a chick. Abe has not done that.

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@cherrispryte Okay, having now read that story you linked to in your earlier e-mail, yeah, the hair on the back of my neck would probably stand up anytime I read anything else by this guy, too. That was just — Jesus, words fail me. And that all these people told him how wonderful it was totally depresses me. Maybe I don't want to hang around here after all.

So it's interesting, I guess that's the difference it makes to be already acquainted with someone's point of view with a piece like this, vs. coming to it able to give them the benefit of the doubt. I totally get why you'd see it differently, and I have to think over what I think about it. No question, though, that earlier piece is just godawful.

cherrispryte (#444)

@MissNormaDesmond I should point out – and this is the complicated thing – that Abe is a fantastic writer/investigative reporter, and he's written some truly phenomenal pieces for the site on other topics. I just wish he'd stay the hell away from women's issues (and size issues, for that matter.) The piece I linked to is, in my opinion, one of the worst things this site has ever published, so please don't judge The Awl as a whole by that one toxic piece and it's comments. In other words, I hope you stick around!
But yeah. You can't be satirically misogynistic when you've got a proven record of actually being a misogynist.

yanisudd (#201,877)

Is there any other american president had baby during presidential period..?

MissNormaDesmond (#201,411)

@yanisudd And if so, how was it formed?

Molly Cruz@facebook (#202,678)

Obama will most certainly be re-elected; this suggestion is absurd and bizarre.

cherrispryte (#444)

@Molly Cruz@facebook Did you miss the "Political Theater" tag?

Post a Comment