President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stand on stage at McCormick… (Getty Images )
Now that the 2012 election is over, Fox News is licking its wounds, and our radical, socialist, Islamic, ineffectual tyrant president has won a historic second term, I have one suggestion for Illinois Democrats: Start printing the "Draft Michelle Obama" T-shirts now.
Standing with my pit stains and aching back at McCormick Place on Tuesday night, it struck me that the loudest applause line from President Obama's terrific speech was the shout-out to his wife, who is without a doubt the most beloved first lady of my lifetime. She also has the perfect opportunity to become the next senator from Illinois in 2016.
That's the year her husband leaves the White House and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk will be up for re-election. Due to his health issues, it's impossible to know if Kirk will seek another term, but even if he does, I mean, c'mon: The second Michelle announced her candidacy, Democrats would clear the race and Republicans would go into hiding.
And yes, this is exactly the model that first lady Hillary Clinton followed, and she wasn't nearly as popular as Michelle Obama or running in her home state.
As we all know, Michelle is a Chicago native daughter who grew up on the South Side before attending Princeton and Harvard for law school. She actually embodies the myth of the American Dream unlike the daddy's boys so often touted by the Republican Party, who came to their success by sheer force of the overwhelming privilege their families bequeathed to them.
But the real reason she should run for the U.S. Senate in 2016 is that all this personal likability is just the nonsense-icing on the cake of the fact that she's a really brilliant woman with progressive values, who's only 48 years old, and who could conceivably coast to the presidency in 2020 or 2024.
This imagined scenario has struck me pretty much every time she appeared on the campaign trail for her husband this year. At the Democratic National Convention this summer, there was barely a woman in the audience who hadn't teared up in full view of the cameras by the time Michelle finished speaking. Count me as someone who believes the rhetorical flourishes of a candidate are mostly useless and certainly not as important as what she intends to do once in office, but I'm also a realistic political observer, and any time you can run someone who inspires and moves people that deeply and that easily, get them on a mother-effing ballot as fast as humanly possible.
Michelle Obama likely will still be one of the most popular public figures in the country two years from now, and her mind and passion can have an immediate effect in American politics on Day One.
(Is this column coming off like I just have a huge crush on her and want to get this all on record in case she and Barack don't pan out? Because that's really only a secondary consideration.)
I've heard the first lady say before that she doesn't have the patience for politics. My suggestion to her is this: Go get it.
RedEye special contributor Stephen Markley is the author of "The Great Dysmorphia" and "Publish This Book."
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