While most former U.S. presidents have retired to anonymous citizenship, over a dozen have written or co-written one or more books, usually concentrating on their time in the Oval Office.
There is nothing whatsoever wrong for someone to capitalize on their previous job as leader of the free world. In the case of Ulysses S. Grant, his memoir —finished just days before his death in 1885 — rescued his family from certain poverty.
While not usually as high-profile, autobiographical books by former first ladies generally sell as well or better than those penned by their husbands.
In 2018, Michelle Obama’s "Becoming" not only became the biggest selling book of its kind ever, it was the top-selling title of the entire year and a sold-out 34-city arena tour by Mrs. Obama certainly added to the book sales' bottom line.
"Becoming"was the first installment of a $65 million, multi-book deal between the Obama’s and Penguin Random House — the largest such price for first family memoirs.
The Obama media juggernaut continued the same year when they finalized a production deal with Netflix under their "Higher Ground" umbrella. Exhibiting the Midas touch once again, the Obama’s first released production — "American Factory" — won the 2020 Best Documentary Academy Award. The second Higher Ground feature — "Crip Camp" was released early this year to mostly positive reviews. Future projects include a Frederick Douglass bio-pic as well as three TV series: "Bloom," "Overlooked" and the strangely-titled "Listen to Your Vegetables and Eat Your Parents."
On May 6, Netflix will debut "Becoming," a biographical documentary chronicling Mrs. Obama’s early years, the lead-up to the 2008 election, her time spent in the White House and culminating with the book tour.
It wouldn’t be going out on a limb to predict that "Becoming" will become the most-viewed piece of original programming in Netflix history.
Unlike the book deal, the exact dollar amount of the Obama/Netflix contract has never been publicly released but one would have assume it’s significant as far more people watch television these days than read books. Whatever your politics, there's no denying the Obama’s have built a media empire, capping off one of the greatest American Dream stories in US history.
In the past few weeks, Mrs. Obama’s name has been included on many short lists of possible vice-presidential candidates to share the ticket with presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden. This begs the question: why on Earth would anyone divest themselves of what could eventually become a nine-digit payoff in exchange for a job most consider to be the least important and thankless position in U.S. politics paying a relatively paltry $253,300 per year?
As of this week, multiple news outlets have put the odds of Mrs. Obama’s likelihood of being Biden’s running mate at 9-1, yet longtime Obama family confidant Valerie Jarrett has emphatically stated that Mrs. Obama "simply doesn’t want the job. "Biden himself has stated he would offer Mrs. Obama to be his running mate "in a heartbeat," but if that’s case why hasn’t he done so already? Could it be because he knows she’ll turn him down?
Even though he’s confused and befuddled most of the time and is a full-time gaffe machine, Biden still recognizes being turned down by a potential running mate would severely damage his already shaky brand.
Biden has stated that his eventual running mate will almost certainly be a woman and other names bandied about include Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., (and former presidential rivals) Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Also in the running are Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Georgia State representative-turned failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
At first demurring at the mention of being a vice presidential candidate, Abrams has since changed her position and openly campaigning for it and has even gone as far as to state Biden should choose a woman of color as his running mate if he has any chance of defeating President Trump in the upcoming November election.
Whoever Biden picks, it won’t be his first choice (which isn’t uncommon in American politics) and if he’s smart it will be a woman with a high profile in a swing state.
Mrs. Obama went from one position of power to an even bigger one where she can make unlimited amounts of money while also influencing far more people than she could ever do while living at One Observation Circle and attending the funerals of foreign heads of state.
Originally from Washington, D.C., Michael Clark has written for over 30 local and national media outlets, is currently the only newspaper-based film critic providing original content in the Atlanta Top 10 media marketplace and co-founded the Atlanta Film Critics Circle in 2017. Over the last 25 years, Mr. Clark has written over 4,000 movie reviews and film related articles and is one of the scant few conservative-minded U.S. film critics. Read Michael Clark's Reports — More Here.
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