TIPP Insights: Here comes Michelle O!

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)


According to a recent Golden/TIPP “horserace” poll, Donald Trump had the support of 55% of Republican primary voters, blowing everyone else in the GOP out of the water — including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who garnered just 12% support.

This (pre-raid) survey made some news, as it appeared to indicate a ceiling on the DeSantis boomlet. But less noticed were the results for the Democrat side in the same Golden/TIPP survey. The poll showed that in answer to the question, if the Democratic Presidential primary were held today, who would you vote for?, a mere 24 percent of Democrats would pick Joe Biden.

Embarrassingly, Vice President Kamala Harris brought in an anemic 7% Democrat enthusiasm— not even able to top Bernie Sanders (9%), though Kamala did edge out the twice-defeated Hillary Clinton (6%). And guess who was beaten by the low-performing Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (3%), AOC (3%), and Transportation Whiz kid Pete Buttigieg (4%)? California Governor Gavin Newsom — the Golden State’s Golden Boy — scraped the bottom of the barrel at 2%, tied with Pretend Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams. Not promising.

Which brings me to the most interesting result: without really being on any radar, Michelle Obama was chosen by a full 14 percent of base voters as their ideal presidential contender, the only other Democrat besides Biden to get double-digit support.

That data point, combined with a broad reading of the tea leaves, leads me to conclude that Michelle is the strongest — and thus the most likely — potential 2024 Democrat nominee. Here’s why:

1. Gavin No-Go. It won’t be Gavin Newsom, despite his California dreamin’ push-pollsters and his odd, obviously consultant-propelled imaginary race against Ron DeSantis. (Last Friday, the California governor bizarrely attacked the lack of “social and emotional support” books in Florida schools.) The fact is, Newsom has zero chance of nabbing the next Democrat Party nod due to two R-words: Race and Record.

Sorry, but today’s Democrat Party is not going to nominate a straight white male in 2024 — and especially not an aging preppie straight white male named…Gavin. Then pile on to Newsom’s super-whiteness, his superpower: political malpractice. Monsieur “French Laundry” is perfectly coiffed and scripted, but his terrible governance has hell-holed America’s once-most-beautiful state, and residents are fleeing so hard that California’s U-Haul business can’t keep itself in trucks.

Speaking of consultants, every Democrat hired gun not paid by Newsom is already having nightmares of the inevitable anti-Gavin political ads showing mile after mile of California homeless encampments, drug addicts pooping in the streets, and thug mobs descending on businesses to strip them of merchandise. Newsom turned the state gruesome, creating ready visuals for a presidential opponent to hang around Democrats’ necks. The early polls and ads he’s ginning up feel fake and forced, and the reaction from his own party to a potential Newsom presidential bid is: “Meh.” Stop trying to make Gav happen; it’s not going to happen.

2. Young, Gifted, and… Michelle Obama, on the other hand, ticks all the modern Democrat boxes. She is both privileged — with great wealth, great celebrity, occupying the topmost social echelon of the wealthiest nation in history — and oppressed, by virtue of the supposed systemic racism in every air molecule of America.

Michelle instantly unites every wing of the Democrat Party; she is beloved by all facets of the rainbow coalition of leftist constituencies. In the business of electoral politics, she is young at 58— especially compared to the octogenarian leaders of her Party. She has genuine political talent. She can command a room, think on her feet, unleash a spontaneous cutting retort, deliver a polished speech, and has never— from her Party’s perspective —put a foot wrong politically. (The quote remembered as a terrible blunder by critics, “For the first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my country,” reflects precisely how Democrats still view her husband’s presidency: America finally got one thing right.) And she has attitude, the one that unites all leftists: loathing the opposition’s existence.

Democrats would be orgasmic at the prospect of Barack Obama back in the White House, even as First Spouse. The era of leftists in command, astride the burning globe, represented the Democrat Party’s happiest days, and President Michelle would mean happy days are here again. The moment she announces, the Democrat Party and its arms (the media and all social and cultural institutions) explode in joy, the global left coalesces around her, and untold global billions begin pouring into her coffers.

I see no evidence that the Republican Party is prepared for this. The GOP establishment would be paralyzed. Michelle Obama is passionately disliked by large swathes of the country, as are her Party’s ruinous policies, but there would be no approved outlet for any expression of that aversion. Here’s her political trump card: from the onset of her campaign, every critic is a dangerous extremist racist sexist bigot who must be shut up to keep America safe and protect our democracy. The media and social media platforms would enforce the “dissent-is-impermissible-hate-speech” rule from Day One.

3. Launch Date. Modern candidates launch their campaigns with a campaign book, both as a fundraising mechanism and an opportunity for the Democrat media to slobber over the Democrat candidate during book-tour puff interviews (“Tell us, Hillary, about your title, Hard Choices — were all those hard moments caused by right-wing extremists afraid of strong women like you?”) Conveniently, Michelle Obama has a book coming out November 15, exactly one week after the 2022 midterms. This, coincidentally, marks the start of the 2024 presidential campaign season. (It also happens to be the very day Mike Pence — 7% in the same Golden/TIPP poll, to Trump’s 55% — is releasing his new campaign-launch book, So Help Me God. I kid you not.)

Michelle’s title provides a clue: The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times. You may not remember back to the campaign of 2008, but the messianic rhetoric surrounding Barack “Greek Columns” Obama flew thick — including framing the candidate as an enlightened being, “carrying a powerful luminosity” to save the world. With the name “Barack” translated as lightning, Obama was even described as Lightbringer. So the reference in “The Light We Carry” is not subtle: yes, here comes Lightbringer 2.0. (And they say Trumpism is a cult.) Anyone who claims such book launches aren’t political campaign launches didn’t notice the pub dates of The Audacity of Hope or Dreams From My Father.

4. Kammie’s Cost. Right about now, anyone orchestrating a Michelle candidacy should be deep into planning how to keep Kamala Harris inside the tent. Every Democrat wizard of smart knows she has to be oh-so-carefully bumped aside — she is the biggest political dud since Tim “Who?” Kaine— but there is no way the first Black Vice President is going to just bow out of the running without naming her price. The Chicago Way would be to bring Kamala Harris to Hawaii, away from the glare of the media, jet her to the Obama seaside manse, and demand: “All right, Kamala, what is your ask?” What buyout or buy-in would it take to keep her quiet and on board with losing the prize of First Black Female Democrat Nominee? Would she demand a lakeside housing upgrade (ala Bernie Sanders), pallets of cash (the Ayatollah), access to Hunter’s stash? Promise of a future pardon? All of the above? No one would ever know.

And no one has any way of knowing whether such a scenario is in the works. All we know is a cryptic news story from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, datelined August 15, 2022: “Vice President Kamala Harris Vacations on Kauai in Unannounced Visit.”

Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff arrived in Lihue this afternoon for an extended vacation on Kauai. Harris and Emhoff left Los Angeles aboard Air Force 2 this morning and landed at Lihue Airport…Details about Harris’ trip to Hawaii were not announced by her office.

So, Kamala Harris is on an extended trip to Hawaii. “Unannounced.” She’s in Kauai, a 25-minute hop-flight from Oahu, the site of the Obamas’ “Magnum, P.I.” estate. Nothing to see here.

5. Exit Stage Luv Guv. Clearing the field for a haloed politician is also the Chicago Way — and particularly the Obama Way. When young community organizer Barack Obama eyed an Illinois state senate seat, his Democrat competitors were all conveniently “disqualified” — via the old-school Democrat dirty trick of signatures not passing muster. He won his 1996 primary unopposed, and it was smooth electoral sailing from there. Next, setting his sights on the 2004 U.S. Senate race, state senator Obama was slated to run against Republican businessman Jack Ryan. Helpfully, the Chicago Tribune ran dirt from Ryan’s divorce records, who immediately withdrew from the race. Illinois Republicans were (of course) caught flat-footed, took a month and a half to fill the slot in the fall with good soldier Alan Keyes, and went down to predictable landslide defeat. Two years later, in 2006, U.S. Senator Barack Obama launched his 2008 campaign for President, the way having been made uncannily smooth for him.

I recount that history to note the pattern. And to notice it replaying. Someone cleared the 2024 runway of the only real Democrat Party competitor, then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Yes, as a straight white male, Cuomo (“But I’m Italian”) would not have emerged victorious, but the battle would have been bruising. Cuomo is a political brawler, which primary voters relish; he possessed gift-of-gab, glad-hand political talent, and was trained in Old-School Democrat Machine hardball at his father Mario’s knee.

Andrew Cuomo had earned a wide national following in the Party as a liberal foil to President Trump. Cuomo was especially beloved among Democrats for his Governor Show, a viral-video platform for Covid briefings he used to scorch Trump daily. The Democrat-base audience was so galvanized by his smash-mouth appearances that liberal women— and men— were basically throwing their undergarments at him, dubbing him “Luv Guv” and identifying as “Cuomosexual.” This growing populist Cuomo-wave was apparently viewed as a speed bump by some other Democrat camp.

Enter New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose own political rise is marked by familiar mileposts (and, sadly, a door opening due to a political assassination). Notably — and there’s much more to be gleaned here — Tish James came up via a very Obama-esque leftist-activist-legal-beagle route, starting as a public defender and entering electoral politics as a member of the far-far-left Working Families Party, soon ditched for Democrat Party cover.

That cover remained intact until March 2020, when AG James was suddenly deployed, as I see it. Weirdly and totally uncharacteristic of rally-round-Democrats-by-any-means-necessary party members, James went after a popular, high-visibility Democrat officeholder with a potential presidential future. She announced a New York nursing home Covid deaths probe — which we later learned was, yes, an FBI joint investigation. Hmm. Nine months later, in January 2021, came James’s final report that Gov. Cuomo had covered up thousands of deaths, undercounting nursing home fatalities by 50% — after requiring the facilities to take Covid patients.

Then came the coup de grâce — described in Politico as “a kill shot”: the August 3, 2021 AG James report concluding that Gov. Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women. It cannot be overemphasized that Democrats almost never pursue investigations that might bring down a party member for sex. A sex scandal is, as Rush Limbaugh used to say, typically a Democrat resume enhancement. But with Tish James’ report, Cuomo was cooked. A week later, on August 10, Cuomo announced his resignation and remains a pathetic figure, hoping in vain for a comeback.

A birds-eye view: with the second of a one-two punch delivered, a powerful, popular Democrat-dynasty governor Andrew Cuomo was gone, broomed, swept aside thanks to leftist lawfare—a highly sophisticated 2024 move before anyone was paying attention. Should Michelle announce, as I anticipate, she would be basically unopposed and thus unbruised within the Party. It would be a coronation — probably complete with Greek columns — of the only Democrat in an otherwise weak field who could give likely GOP nominee Donald Trump a run for his money.

See how this works? There are absolutely no Obama fingerprints here; I just observe the fellow-traveler nature of Tish and Mish —Michelle. (Hint: the Mar-a-Lago raid also fits into this destroy-the-competition framework as well, as do seven years of Deep State anti-Trump sabotage and dirty tricks schemes.)

6. No Sweat. My friend and compatriot James Golden (“Bo Snerdley”)* of WABC scoffs at the very notion of a Michelle Obama candidacy. He correctly points out that Michelle often expressed her hatred of White House life during her husband’s presidency, that she loves her rich life hanging out with her rich celebrity friends, and doesn’t have the slightest interest in doing the political work of a campaign, much less governing. Well, that’s all true. But Joe Biden, as candidate and as President, has already proved that for a Democrat president, doing the work is completely unnecessary. She could just sit back, give a few short speeches now and again, run cameo hashtag crusades, and, like Joe has, let Barack run everything from behind the scenes. After all, some of us sense Obama has been doing just that since 2016.

*Full disclosure: I have $100 cash resting on this outcome in a friendly wager with James. Fuller disclosure: Out of many such challenges over the years, I have never once won a bet with him.



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