by Melissa Clouthier | August 9, 2010 11:07 am
The press won’t go there because, well, they love President Barack Obama and this story, accurately reported, is painful. I haven’t gone there because I don’t really care what’s going on between President Obama and his wife. President Clinton defiling the Oval office concerned me because his actions were a big f-u to the American people and showed blatant disrespect to the office and the country. Michelle being pissed off at Barack Obama? Eh, who isn’t? Also, Michelle being a petty, selfish woman? Also not news. If reports are to be believed, Michelle Obama is the reason America has the shining tower of intelligence Joe Biden instead of Hillary Clinton. Petty. They’re two of a kind.
Still and all, this story has become more newsworthy as the scope and cost of Michelle’s trip to Europe has dribbled out. Mickey Kaus says:
So Michelle Obama vacations in Spain with her daughter and a huge posse, leaving her husband alone on his birthday and undermining his party’s political chances (bad recession ‘optics’). This is the sort of story on which I suspect there are three levels of perception:
1. Unsophisticated: Jeez, they must have had some kind of fight. She’s pissed! This is a big ‘screw you.’
2. Sophisticated and well informed: At their level everyone is too smart and experienced to let any kind of spat affect state affairs. These things get planned out well ahead of time by staff. Only the unsophisticated jump to conclusions on the basis of crude external appearances.
3. Real Insider: Jeez, they must have had some kind of fight. She’s pissed! This is a big ‘screw you.’
Ha! Well, though no one would say it, this was a big “screw you” to the president. Turns out, it was a big screw you to the American Taxpayer, too. From the Seattle Times that emphasizes (of course!) the private nature of the trip and that Michelle Obama will pay back some of the cost:
The opulence of the European trip also has drawn scrutiny. Michelle Obama is staying at the Hotel Villa Padierna, a Ritz-Carlton resort in the mountains outside Marbella. The resort has two golf courses, a posh spa with Turkish baths, views of the Mediterranean Sea and a high-end restaurant specializing in avant-garde fare. Room rates start at $400 and rise to $6,500 for a two-bedroom villa with a private pool and 24-hour butler service.
While her friends arrived in Spain on their own, Michelle Obama flew in on a type of aircraft also used by Vice President Joseph Biden. It costs the government $11,555 an hour to operate the plane, according to the Air Force. Assuming a nearly eight-hour flight to nearby MÃ¡laga, the total round-trip cost of the flight is about $178,000.
Anita McBride, who was chief of staff to former first lady Laura Bush, was not surprised the trip has its critics.
“When you are a public figure, it can be difficult to lead a private life. Despite the fact that much of this trip is paid for personally, the American people know that there are costs borne by the taxpayers and it’s to be expected that the more expensive the trip, the greater the risk of criticism,” McBride said.
The optics are so bad, even Democrat (and Journolista?) Kirsten Powers calls this a “Foolish Trip”:
Some argue that Michelle should be able to travel wherever she wants if she’s paying for it herself. This is naive. She is the first lady at a time when Americans are experiencing great economic pain. There are endless great locations here at home that she could put on the map with a visit — American hotels and restaurants that would be grateful for the business generated by such a high-profile visitor.
If it’s a huge sacrifice for her, so be it. Sacrifice is actually a noble trait, last I checked.
Plus, if she keeps this up, she will be able to vacation anywhere she wants in about two years.
The choices regarding this story are unpleasant for Democrats:
1. Barack and Michelle are fighting and she is so selfish she doesn’t care how it looks. (Actually the best scenario.)
2. Barack and Michelle are just self-indulgent and don’t care about the American people or how they might feel. Michelle feels entitled to a vacation, and dammit, she’s going to have one.
3. Barack and Michelle know how this will look and have no interest in Democrats getting re-elected in November.
I happen to believe all three are true. It’s really not in President Obama’s best interest to have the Democrats in charge after November. So, President and Michelle Obama just push on doing whatever they want to do. There is also an element here that the President hasn’t quite grasped his responsibility as president–to represent the people. And the American people suffer while DC is rolling in it gangster style.
Forget spats, optics, elections: The Obamas display contempt for the American people. Living like Kings while people are jobless and losing their homes is not just gauche, it stirs Americans at a primal level. Most Americans left another country so that average people could have a chance and not be lorded over by faux-aristocrats.
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