So the glass ceiling continues to hold secure on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and the person now most cited to be the first to crack it is the woman currently getting out and dusting down her suitcases – the outgoing FLOTUS, Michelle Obama. She of the vegetable garden, the hugs, and the J Crew cardigans; she who achieved a subtle nuancing of her husband’s administration, passing on important social and political messages (girls, it’s your turn now) without barging into actual policy making.
Michelle Obama has got fantastic popular nous. She’s obviously incredibly smart. And she’s a great public speaker, too. Her all-important “narrative" talk about the American Dream realised. Michelle’s story is already a Hollywood blockbuster.
This is a woman directly descended from plantation slaves in the dark ante-bellum days; a brainbox who went to Princeton and Harvard; a beauty who charmed the world; a wife and mother who was the first black First Lady. To become the first woman president? What a story.
You can already hear the yearning from the disappointed Clinton sisterhood, lining up to switch their focus to this exciting new vista. Michelle for President! Put up with the imbecile Trump right now and four years later we can switch back to the current First Family. Tried, tested and universally admired, Michelle Obama would be fantastic. Wouldn’t she?
Well, no. One of the great assets to the original Obama campaign was that he was not familiar. Alright, if you read The New Yorker you would have heard of the US Senator for Illinois, but for most people it was only when he entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries in 2007 that Barack Obama dawned on the consciousness.
That was of huge benefit. He was a new face, a new voice, and people were ready for it. One of the characteristics of a good democracy is its ability to provoke upset to the established order – which is, of course, one of the reasons Trump has triumphed. People like change.
America did not want to be led, any more, by an establishment whose key players have the surname Bush or Clinton. They’ve had that since 1989. The country may have had a long-running TV show called Dynasty but it doesn’t really like being ruled by one, any more now than it did back in the days of the Boston Tea Party.
After eight years in the White House, the Obamas are a bit of a TV show themselves, not least because their arrival chimed with the moment when social media climbed into everyone’s pocket and, boy, did they exploit it. We feel we know the Obamas like no other First Family (and I don’t even live in America). We have seen Michelle singing karaoke with James Corden; we have followed Barack’s official snapper on Instagram; we have seen tweets from POTUS and FLOTUS almost since Twitter was invented.
Donald Trump is hardly a stranger to the paparazzi lens, but there is something about the volume of familiarity showing Michelle hangin’ in the Rose Garden with the First Dog, resplendent in sequins before a White House banquet, or hugging HMQ which makes me think she will never win the mandate to take the oath. The Americans are sick of White House dynasties, and she’s so smart she probably already knows that herself.
A woman will get there, and soon. Just not this woman.Reuse content