First lady Michelle Obama plans to make the transition from a mere celebrity role into advocating for public policy soon. Her first major issue will the controversial health care reform policy that the Obama Administration is advocating for that appears to be in real political trouble. Like some other first ladies such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama wants to strongly identify with some policy issues. Right now, she has immense popularity as a celebrity, but will wager that all on stronger issue and policy identification.
Health care reform has been a vexing problem for years. On one hand, Americans want lower prices and insurance that allows for treatment of pre-existing conditions and other reforms. And many Americans can be bankrupted by a major illness. Yet there is a terrific fear of change, even among those with little means to purchase health insurance. And of course, the devil is always in the details as well.
It will interesting to see if the popularity of Michelle Obama suffers at all if she becomes strongly identified with issues. First ladies always are a celebrity first, but identification with controversial or unpopular issues can have unpredictable negative effects on celebrity status.