I Bet Joe Biden Picks Michelle to Be His Running Mate

I've never been a betting woman, especially now that I'm too old to earn back anything I lose.  But recently I made a chump-change wager with an acquaintance of mine, who figured he'd easily pick up a few bucks in a fantasy-fed transaction that was his to win.

And so, within seconds, he was on board to thwart my bet that Michelle Obama will be Joe Biden's running mate.  The way I see it, my suggestion is not all that bizarre.  Nor, for that matter, is it original.  But for my eager Republican friend, it seemed preposterous.

As expected, he was immediately full of reasons why I was wrong.  Michelle doesn't want to do it, he assured me.  She never really liked being the first lady and is relieved to be out of politics.  Anyway, he reminded me, even if she wanted to, she is clearly not up to the job.  He pointed to the unimpressive and sometimes contentious political talks Michelle delivered in the aftermath of Hillary's defeat, stumbling with words and even accusing Trump's female supporters of having voted "against their own voice."

When the popular first lady got some negative press from those accusations, she clearly didn't like being taken to task.  Thin-skinned and not up to the challenge, I'm reminded, she then lay low from the speaking circuit.  Besides, my friend pointed out, she's very happy now in her multi-million-dollar mansion on Martha's Vineyard, enjoying a largely private life high on the hog and within earshot of soothing waves.  So why make waves of a political nature when she needs neither the headaches nor the dough that comes with them?

If a woman, say, is thinking of getting a new outfit, she might logically ask herself if she "needs" it.  But just as often, as my mother used to say about acquisitions, "What's need got to do with it?"  Indeed, it is easy enough for desire to override necessity.  Wise or otherwise, wanting something can be a stronger emotion than needing it.

When it comes to politics, the opposite may prove true.  A public figure's personal wishes can easily be sublimated to the needs and of her political party, especially in times of crisis.  It is worthless for anyone — Republican or Democrat — to decide on what Michelle Obama "wants" to do at this point, without also factoring in what the party faithful may "need" her to do for them in order to recapture the White House.  I speculate that Michelle, being a good soldier, would comply, even more so were she flatteringly cast as the person best able to save the ticket from impending doom.

Scoff if you will at such a scenario.  But too many smug partisans are simply unable — or unwilling — to look at things from an opponent's viewpoint.  Trump-haters, for example, have asked me to my face how I could support such a vile human being.  By the same token, those who belittle Michelle Obama seem unable to comprehend why others love her.

One thing we should all agree on, however, is that the choice of Old Joe's running mate will be decided not on the basis of her appeal to registered Republicans.  It will be vigorously vetted to unite the Democrat party and bolster public trust in the presumed nominee's ability to "pull it off."

At this stage, several others are being touted to fulfill Biden's pledge of putting a woman on the national ticket.  This bit of speculation is perhaps the most exciting thing thus far to come out of Sleepy Joe's dull and erratic campaign.  And it has the potential of getting news coverage that builds suspense during the next three and a half months.

What makes it such an intriguing topic is that everyone knows that Biden cannot carry the upcoming campaign on his own.  So the question is whether any woman on his current "short list" can make a difference in dispelling voters' doubts about a Biden presidency.  The contributions and distractions of Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro are still being debated.  But the bottom line is that their presidential candidates did not win.

Historically, the vice presidential pick has not been a significant factor in how the election plays out.  The assumption that "women vote for women," for example, is not always a statistical reality.  Veeps can be picked for any number of reasons, but never because they have the star power to outshine the top of the ticket.  Hillary selected Tim Kaine — an old worn political shoe who never upstaged her.  Trump chose Mike Pence, a quiet, calming foot soldier.  George H. Bush settled on Dan Quayle, a boyish lackluster politician who got more attention for misspelling "potatoe" than anything else.

By the same reasoning, Joe Biden could select one of the other women on his short list who have far less celebrity status than Michelle Obama.

Amy Klobuchar, for example, is a solid, sensible Midwestern type, who did reasonably well in the primaries.  Kamala Harris is a firebrand with an acid tongue that could lash out during a heated campaign.

Former congresswoman Stacey Abrams has enough righteous anger left over from her loss in the race for Georgia governor to whip up the crowd.

But this election is different.  Biden needs all the help he can get, and it's not clear how or if those three candidates fill that bill.  Kamala Harris didn't even win the Democrat primary in her home state of California.  Amy Klobuchar is competent but not compelling.  Stacey Abrams is a sore loser perpetually grinding her own axe.

Uncle Joe may be a self-centered guy, who assures us he can beat Trump like a drum.  But he's been made aware of his limitations.  You might say he's dying to win, even if the ticket's star power comes from below.  So why not try to snag the only one viable option who is on the list of the Top 100 most popular women in the world (2020)?

And consider this: in the event that Joe Biden becomes incapacitated or expires in office, which female vice president could likely manage the smoothest transition?  Even those who question Michelle's ability to lead the nation might accept that her roommate in the White House has the experience to lend a hand.

In such an eventuality, Michelle Obama would become the first female president of the United States.  If you find that thought troubling, consider how the Clintons would react!

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.