As President Biden’s gaffes increase and popularity plummets, banter has repeatedly surfaced about former first lady Michelle Obama serving as a last-minute replacement for the struggling Democratic incumbent at the Democratic National Convention.
However, one longtime Republican figure strongly dismissed such claims out of hand, while at the same time suggesting Biden may not ultimately be the party’s pick for the general election.
Former George W. Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told FOX Business the speculation about Michelle Obama ignore the former first lady’s purported disdain for the political world.
“No – Look, she hates politics. Read her autobiography,” Rove told “Varney & Co.” “She didn’t want her husband to run for the [Illinois] State Senate. She didn’t want him to run for the presidency. She’s not a political animal.”
Rove added that a Michelle Obama ticket would undoubtedly lead to rumblings that she would simply be a presidential proxy for her husband.
“People would say that’s Barack trying to get a third term as president and they wouldn’t go for it,” he argued. Former President Obama, he said, is a “smart guy” who would understand that.
“This is a weird obsession of the conspiratorial right — And it’s just lunacy, pure lunacy,” Rove said.
Rove recalled that in 2020, he had to quell Republican theories about Biden being supplanted by then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo with Mrs. Obama as his running mate.
“Starting with the fact she hates politics, period. She loves the life that she’s got,” he argued
However, Rove added he is not sold on the idea that Biden is the definitive nominee, though underlining he believes it would not be critics or the media who would goad him off the stage.
Rove cited Biden’s recent claim to have had a conversation with long-deceased French President Francois Mitterrand, in an apparent mix-up with incumbent Emmanuel Macron, and noted other gaffes – saying any movement would be spurred on by Biden’s close family.
“Something inside me says somebody is going to wake up on that side, Jill Biden or maybe his sister, Valerie Biden-Owens and say, ‘You know, Joe, this is not the way for you to go down in the history books. Step aside and let somebody else be chosen at the convention,” he said.
While a contested party convention is rare, there have been times when political chaos has broken out in a divided party at the election-year forum.
In the lead-up to the 1964 GOP convention, then-Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Bill Scranton famously branded nominee-to-be Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater a loser, claiming “unbelievably poor” prospects – leading moderates to rally behind the governor as well as a “Stop Goldwater” effort.
Scranton’s supporters, however, failed to collect enough votes at the convention, and Goldwater went on to become the nominee – losing in a landslide to Democrat Lyndon Johnson.
As for Biden, Rove said he appears “impervious” to the idea of stepping aside, but offered one anecdote:
“Joe Biden thinks he is the only person who can beat Donald Trump in the Democratic Party. He may be the only person who can lose to Donald Trump in the Democratic Party.”