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.