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Michelle Obama For Mayor

Worthy as Michelle Obama's campaign against obesity is, I've always found it somewhat dispiriting that the First Lady is reduced to making mostly symbolic efforts on behalf of the cause. Compare her situation with that of, say, Michael Bloomberg. The Mayor of New York shares Michelle Obama's public health concerns, but he's not one for making exhortative book tours or planting exemplary vegetable gardens. No, he's simply drawn a big red line through things that are bad for us: no more public smoking, no more trans-fats, and, now, no more sugary drinks over 16 ounces. The First Lady has probably looked on in envy these past few years.

But I've realized there's an elegant solution: Michelle should run to be Bloomberg's successor. New York Democrats have been casting about for a candidate to run for City Hall when Bloomberg leaves office in 2013. Who better than the First Lady? She already has experience in city government, having worked in Chicago in the early 1990s as an Assistant to the Mayor and an Assistant Commissioner of Housing and Development. Politically, the transition would promise to be smooth: Michelle obviously shares the Mayor's passion for public health issues; and Bloomberg has generally seen eye-to-eye with the Obama White House when it comes to education policy. And one could fairly expect that a Mayor Obama would be an improvement when it comes to matters of poverty and affordable housing. (Plus, more community gardens!)

Some might quibble that it's a problem that the First Lady has never lived in New York City. But that shouldn't be a concern: New Yorkers have a history of electing carpetbaggers from the East Wing of the White House.