The disconnect between the occupants in the White House and those living in real America grows. Any future claims of the Democratic party being the legitimate party of the average Joe has vanished. The Obama family has picked up where the Clinton family left off. The latest example is playing out now.
The President went to Chicago to celebrate his 49th birthday with swell pals like Oprah and attended fundraisers for the DNC where the entrance fee was $30,500 per person. The odd part is that wife Michelle and daughter Sasha are in Spain with 40 of their friends on vacation. The older daughter, Malia, is at camp.
The Washington Times runs an editorial on Michelle Obama's grand vacation trip to Spain with this: Everyone is entitled to some R & R, though Mrs. Obama's jaunt is her eighth holiday this summer. Tone-deaf White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended vacation numero ocho by saying, "The first lady is on a private trip. She is a private citizen and is the mother of a daughter on a private trip. And I think I'd leave it at that." Note to the flack: Most private citizens don't have access to $150,000 in taxpayer funds and exclusive use of a jumbo jet.
Let them eat cake.
We Americans have been told, repeatedly, since the beginning of the current recession that the financial atmosphere is the worst since the Great Depression. Unemployment is holding steady at 9.5%. The huge stimulus/spending program put into place by the Obama administration and the Democratically controlled Congress has not worked. Recovery, if it is there, is very slow and not going to produce the results needed to get Americans back to work at the current pace. Americans are worried.
In the current political climate, the Obama family appears oblivious to others. Entertaining in the White House is back in a big way, despite the reality of two wars and economic recession. The President is the target of jokes about his obsession with golf. Michelle enjoys a weekly soiree with friends and celeb entertainment from Hollywood or Broadway.
In the past, this was standard procedure. Living large in the White House was taken for granted - especially under the watch of Jackie Kennedy or Nancy Reagan. Formal dinners and entertainment galore. Let the good times roll. Now, however, a more modest White House is appropriate. As our nation went to war, former President Bush, for example, stopped his regular golf games out of respect to the military families. There is something unseemly about the Commander-in-Chief living it up as the troops are in harm's way. The Bush administration did little in the way of formal dinners or entertaining for the same reason. Serious times call for serious leadership. President Bush was criticized for frequent trips back to his ranch in Crawford but the fact is that his trips back to Texas were very low key and as little press as possible. It was a very 'normal' kind of experience. Plus, the ranch was outfitted for everything necessary for a working White House.
No one begrudges the First Family and staff a vacation. But, public demonstrations of excess are not the best idea right now. And, with unemployment so high and tourism dollars low, maybe a better idea is to highlight domestic travel in our own country. There is no shortage of swank resorts here in the U.S.A. Now that Michelle admits to being proud of her country "for the first time", now that her husband is President, maybe she can spread the goodwill around. Right here at home.