Joe's other woman: Could Michelle Obama be persuaded to be Biden's VP?

If anyone can change the former first lady's mind, a bended-knee visit by Joe Biden should do the trick

Published March 28, 2020 12:09PM (EDT)

Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks at a rally to encourage voter registration Sept. 23, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP/John Locher)
Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks at a rally to encourage voter registration Sept. 23, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP/John Locher)

This article originally appeared on The Globalist.

Joe Biden is right. There are exceptional women qualified to be president. That means he will have a number of possible choices for his vice presidential partner in the upcoming election.

The obvious candidates

The obvious prospects are those who have demonstrated strengths in the Democratic primary process and other leadership roles. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren lead that field. 

Capable women also hold governorships in a number of states, including Gretchen Whitmer in the battleground state of Michigan. Any one of them could balance the ticket in useful ways. 

A seriously incomplete list

That list, however, is seriously incomplete. There is another woman with distinctive qualifications to be Biden's running mate and potential successor as president.

She has demonstrated at the highest levels of government unusual ability to attract personal support across a broad range of political constituencies. She has become an eloquent, indeed unique, voice for causes appealing not only to Democrats — but to independents and Republicans as well. In her public as well as in her private life, she has proven a role model for young and old alike. 

True, this woman has not served in elective office, but she has shown an outstanding talent for political campaigns, at both the U.S. state and federal levels. Her record of policy and political counsel, though largely confidential, is recognized by knowledgeable observers as unusually wise. 

A private citizen's leadership skills

Rather than running for office herself, she has chosen instead to exert her impressive leadership skills as a private citizen. Writing and speaking extensively, she has addressed many critical issues confronting the nation.

Her life story, told in a bestselling book and occasional media appearances, is moving testimony to her formidable intelligence and dedication. 

The most admired woman in America, according to Gallup

The other woman is Michelle Obama, the most admired woman in America according to Gallup polls.

It will be objected immediately that Mrs. Obama has never fought the good fight by campaigning for herself and risks rejection by voters. 

That is likely a source of some resentment especially by women who have long been in the fray of electoral politics. However, all of them are patriots and can be relied upon to recognize a once-in-a-generation opportunity. They will thus surely acknowledge that there is a powerful case for her candidacy. 

Dynastic worries?

There will also be understandable concern about the dynastic tinge that her candidacy would raise but, compared to other considerations now in play, that has to be a secondary worry.

And by leaving the women senators in place, tapping her for the nomination would increase chances that a President Biden might also gain a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.

Not wanting to run?

It will also be stressed that she has repeatedly resisted the idea of running for office. Without questioning her right to remain in private life, things have changed since she first expressed her opposition to seeking election. 

On a personal level, her daughters are now young adults. Thus, the time claims of motherhood — which she has met so admirably — are less compelling than in the past. 

More importantly, the calamities washing over the United States and the rest of the world make this a time to try the souls, not only of men, but of women. 

Collapse of the White House as an institution

Michelle Obama must be agonized by the collapse of integrity and capability in the White House. At age 56, she is ideally suited to bridge the generations between what will surely be a one term Biden presidency and a future administration. 

Nothing could perplex Mr. Trump more than having to face another Obama after the years of hostility he has shown toward her husband. 

And yet, with Michelle Obama on the Biden ticket, it would scarcely be possible for Donald Trump to disguise the misogyny and personal animus that shape his behavior. Underscoring Trump's defective character is the centerpiece of the campaign against him. 

That focus should even force evangelicals and others to confront the tension between their moral values and the political ambitions they invoke to justify support for Trump.


Could Michelle Obama be persuaded to accept the role? Well, beggars can be choosers. And, if anyone can change her mind, a bended-knee visit by Joe Biden should do the trick. 

Amid the divisions and animosities and degraded discourse that afflict our country, Michelle Obama's healing presence on the Biden ticket could be decisive in assuring victory.

This article is republished from The Globalist: On a daily basis, we rethink globalization and how the world really hangs together. Thought-provoking cross-country comparisons and insights from contributors from all continents. Exploring what unites and what divides us in politics and culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And sign up for our highlights email here.

By Alton Frye

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