Newsweek: What's Next for Michelle Obama, Our 'Superwoman' and 'Incredibly Popular' First Lady?

December 6th, 2012 8:25 AM

If you’re not one of the people in “Everyone” who loves Michelle Obama, you must not be following the collapse of Newsweek. In one of the magazine’s last print editions, Allison Samuels is asking “What's next for our incredibly popular first lady? Samuel L. Jackson and other super-fans weigh in.”

Jackson is in love: “Michelle is Superwoman. What can’t she do?...That’s why people love her. She can be on the Supreme Court and anywhere else she wants. She can be the president. She’s history and she’ll stay history because she is so amazingly smart and together.” Samuels continued in this syrupy vein:

Jackson isn’t the only person thinking along these lines. “I’d love to see her get more into politics because it would be a breath of fresh air in D.C.,” says Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina. “She’s honest and straightforward, which is not what you see in Washington much. She is exactly what we need around here.”

Yet therein lies the contradiction of Michelle Obama: a woman who is perhaps one of the most skilled politicians of our time seems to have little interest in pursuing politics herself. “Nothing she’s done indicates she wants more power on the national or international front,” says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “Yet everyone else says she has to have it.”

Forty-eight percent may have voted against the Obamas, but “Everyone else” wants her to be a political powerhouse? No conservative Obama critics appear. The closest thing to a critic is an anonymous booster insisting "Michelle doesn't have the temperament for the constant b.s. that goes on in D.C." after seeing "the ugly side of Washington up close and personal" in her husband's opponents.

Samuels bends to the conventional wisdom that Mrs. Obama doesn’t want to run for anything. But the mission of boosting the awesomeness of Michelle is still accomplished.

Earlier this year, Samuels even wrote a book entitled “What Would Michelle Do?: A Modern-Day Guide to Living with Substance and Style.” This is the promotional blurb:

Embodying style, class, and intelligence, Michelle Obama has quickly become an American icon. Rising from modest beginnings, she went on to earn an Ivy League education, a position at a top law firm, and a pivotal role beside President Barack Obama. Yet Michelle still faces the same issues as most women today. As they watch her juggle kids, marriage, and a seemingly nonstop calendar without breaking a sweat, American women are asking, What Would Michelle Do?

Award-winning Newsweek journalist Allison Samuels, who has interviewed the First Lady numerous times, follows the trajectory of Michelle's life to illustrate the determination, intellect, and charm that drove her success-and reveals how women can incorporate those same attributes to get everything Michelle has, from her toned arms to her grace under pressure to her happy marriage.

The mythologizing goo never stops flowing.