By Carole on Aug 12, 2010
With Democratic candidates refusing campaign visits from President Barack Obama and often refusing to even be seen with him at ceremonial airport greetings, it's obvious they believe that highlighting any connection with the unpopular president will hurt their chances in November. Second stringer Vice President Joe Biden who has spent the last 18 months acting as a gaffe-prone cheerleader for the Obama agenda can't help either and former President Bill Clinton's loyalties may be with someone other than Mr. Obama in 2012. So why not do what many presidents have done and send the First Lady out to charm the voters? Because Michelle Obama seems to have lost much of her charm.
Not too long ago, Mrs. Obama was easily the administration's most popular figure with an approval rating of 66 percent. (source) But a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows those with a positive opinion of the First Lady have dropped to 50 percent - not much higher than her husband's. Unfortunately for the Democrats, that still makes her the administration's most popular figure.
In terms of alienating large segments of the American people, Mrs. Obama started on the campaign trail in 2008 when she famously declared, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm proud of my country." Then came her choice of fighting childhood obesity as a signature issue which sounded like a good idea in theory until she began using her position to embolden the idea of government food police to enact the kind of freedom-killing regulation that is so popular with her husband and his congressional accomplices.
Now add the extravagant lifestyle choices including vacations in elite spots in Maine and Martha's Vineyard, the lavish parties and concerts at the White House without any significant purpose other than the entertainment of the Obamas and of course the recent trip to Spain which cost taxpayers approximately $75,000 per day.
So what can Mrs. Obama be sent to do on the campaign trail? Repeat the list of Obama administration "accomplishments" that the majority of Americans believe have put the country on the wrong path? Echo the same empty promises her husband has made about a phantom recovery and dismal job market? Bask in the cheers of politically friendly crowds who are already blindly supporting the president and his fellow Democrats? None of these activities will change any minds or win any votes from those who have soured on the hope and change they never received.
Still senior White House aides have concluded that they have little choice but to deploy the First Lady in states with close races, particularly involving female candidates, in an effort to solicit campaign donations and increase Democratic voter turnout. (source) What she can do to convince those donors and voters to stick with the policies of failure over candidates who are working for fiscally responsible government and a better future for our country remains to be seen. Perhaps she can show them her vacation slides from Spain.
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