3:13 PM EST, December 5, 2012
The Democratic Party has plenty of credible possibilities for the 2016 presidential nomination, including several women: not just Hillary Clinton, but Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Ellen Warren of Massachusetts, even Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. But who does Newsweek magazine focus on? Michelle Obama.
The article admits that the first lady "seems to have little interest in pursuing politics herself." But the editors apparently just can't resist the simple, easy, and almost certainly unfounded speculation that she may change her mind and go for a third Obama term or, as actor Samuel Jackson suggests, join the Supreme Court.
Michelle Obama has been as good a first lady as anyone could ask for. But I suspect she is smart enough to know that pursuing a high office would be a mistake. Her credentials for the Supreme Court pale next to hundreds of other lawyers.
And having never held or even run for office, she would find that the presidential campaign trail is a brutally treacherous place. Even successful veteran pols learn that scalding lesson every four years -- as Rick Perry and Joe Biden can attest.
Hillary Clinton is a plausible candidate not because she was married to Bill Clinton, though that helps, but because she has been a senator as well as Secretary of State. She's proved herself capable of winning votes, crafting legislation and handling foreign crises. Michelle Obama has been an excellent first lady, but that's not preparation for being president, any more than being White House social secretary is.
There are lots of other things a woman of her experience and talents can do after 2016 to make the world a better place. I'm betting she'll choose one of those.