‘Our liberal aristocracy’

8 August 2010
Our headline from Dan Riehl. This tour of some of our favorite websites is as close to a luxury European vacation as we’re gonna get this year: at CAJ we’re watching our bottom line, just like the rest of “the little people” across America.


…should we really be surprised to find such a liberal administration acting like an aristocracy? Isn’t this the same limousine liberal class that regularly clucks and hectors us on a host of issues, while ignoring them in their own lives?

If someone believes they are so smart and so right as to be so smug and tell you how to live your life, why on earth would they think you, the great unwashed, fit to judge them in any way? Obama isn’t doing this because he is self-destructive, or doesn’t want to be president, as Roger Simon suggested [below], he’s doing it because he is – and he is decidedly progressive, or liberal. Kennedy’s so-called Camelot wasn’t called Camelot just because of Jackie’s hair. Obama will get around to appeasing the peasants, eventually. After November, he’ll likely have just the cover he needs to do it and preserve his base for 2012. He already has the house he wants in Washington. He doesn’t need one full of Representatives and Senators.


ROGER SIMON: Michelle’s “Excellent Adventure”: Another sign Obama doesn’t really want to be President.

Michelle’s $375,000 Spanish vacation — with the Daily Mail dubbing her a “modern-day Marie Antoinette” — is further proof of my thesis. What man who wanted to be re-elected (or see his party do well in November) would let his wife go off on such an “excellent adventure” in these economic times? Of course no one denies the right of people to have vacations – I’m coming to the end of one myself on my beloved Bainbridge Island — but closing Mediterranean beaches while booking 60-plus rooms in a five star Marbella hotel for her entourage? It is beyond tone deaf, perhaps to the level of subconscious (or even deliberate) self-sabotage.

At the very least, something most peculiar is going on. The first lady goes off on a jaunt worthy of 18th Century aristocracy at the very moment of her husband’s birthday. Is somebody trying to tell us something? . . . If I were still a member of the Democratic Party, I would be most concerned. What is going on in the White House seems to be so disconnected from the reality of our country — with some indicating real unemployment at a staggering 22% — as to be teetering on the brink of a pyschological disorder…

UPDATE: John Hinderaker: “I think the Obamas’ tone-deafness, which was on exhibit long before Michelle’s Spanish vacation, more likely results from their inexperience and the fact that if you are a factor in Democratic Party politics, you spend a great deal of time with rich people. That can skew one’s perspective.”

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VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: “Obama could still restore his standing with the American people if he copied the Clinton of 1995 and abandoned his unpopular agenda. But he won’t.”

Plus this: “The common denominator here is that a largely conservative electorate has always wanted lower taxes, smaller but more competent government, fewer overseas commitments, honest government, and officials who live like the public they represent — and it can’t seem to find that package in any party or candidate being presented to it. Indeed, the Obama medicine is now seen as worse than the Bush disease, in that he less competently oversaw the war in Afghanistan, blew apart the budget, and lives more royally than any Republican.”

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The obligatory “people angry about Michelle Obama’s Spain trip” post


My feeling about this is that if the White House thinks the trip is worth the horrible optics it’s generating, then hey — have at it. Sure, it looks terrible to be taking a glamorous, expensive vacation overseas while the latest stage of unemployment doom is descending, and sure, it makes The One’s class warfare schtick even more ridiculous than it usually is, but he and Axelrod and Plouffe and Rahm are big boys. If they think R&R for Michelle on a cordoned-off Spanish beach is worth having articles like this circulating in major papers three months before the midterms, fine with me. As for the taxpayer expense for security, transportation, etc, (a) those same expenses would be incurred to some (lesser) extent during a U.S. vacation and (b) given the aortic hemorrhaging that is our national debt, what’s a little vacation paper cut here and there? If we’re headed for Greece-style economic collapse down the road, then darn it, let’s at least let FLOTUS see Majorca before the roof starts caving in.

Exit question: A six-mile helicopter ride? [CBS News: Obama Choppers Six Miles For Economy Comments]

[Luxurious: The Obamas and their party are staying at the Villa Padierna in Marbella, which is rated as one of the top hotels in the world. The Daily Mail, UK]

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Queen MicHelle Says She’s ‘The Product of a Working Class Upbringin’…


No hope and bad change…

Michelle Obama thinks she is not entitled to her vacations in Spain, Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard…..

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Had enough? We have…

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Update: How could we forget Legal Insurrection, where Professor Jacobson has written a brief but effective blog entry,  Yeah, But Laura Bush Went On An African Safari

During her stay in Mozambique on Wednesday, Laura Bush was due to visit a site near the Mozal aluminum smelter, where authorities want to spray house walls with DDT to ward off mosquitoes, using funds from the U.S. [emphasis LI] Malaria Initiative that commits $1.2 billion over the next five years. Of the target 15 countries, about half are expected to use some of the money to spray with insecticides.

Très chic, those aluminum smelters and huts doused in DDT.

Update 2: Hot Air: Video–First Lady’s trip to Spain ‘tone deaf’?

…“Most Americans are just not going to relate to going to Spain with however many friends she has with her… staying at this exclusive hotel, spending all this money, and it is extremely tone-deaf. Politically, it is absolutely tone-deaf. I can’t even believe that she has done it, frankly. It is not what people do in their first term.”

The best throwaway line comes from Rivera, who responded to Noelle Nikpour’s blast about the First Lady leaving her husband alone on his birthday by soothing her, “Oh, he was playing golf, don’t feel sorry for him.” Nikpour makes a better point about the choice of destinations for the Obamas. Instead of spending all of that money outside of the US, why not spend it here? Mrs. Obama had just publicly urged Americans to spend their vacation money in the Gulf region three weeks before leaving for Spain. That’s the difference between going to Spain and spending time in Crawford — as well as doing the former on the taxpayer dime while the deficit soars over $1.4 trillion and unemployment continues to drag out over 2010…

Update 3 H/T theblogprof: The Telegraph [UK], Michelle Obama visits Ronda :

Michelle Obama followed in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles when she paid a visit to Spain’s oldest bullring, the Plaza de Toros in Ronda, a picturesque town in the hills above the Costa del Sol.

The First Lady, her youngest daughter Sasha, and their group of friends left the Spanish coast and travelled to Ronda for a day of sightseeing accompanied by their vast security escort in a 13 car motorcade.

The group — which included a number of Mrs Obama’s friends – visited some of the town’s historic houses and later stopped for lunch at Del Escudero restaurant, set in a 19th century villa with whitewashed walls and red roof tiles located next to the bullring.

Meanwhile at the five-star luxury Villa Padierna, where the group have chosen to spend their mini-break, preparations were under way for Marbella’s event of the year – a star-studded charity gala hosted by Hollywood A-listers Antonio Banderas and Eva Longoria…

…One name on the guest list that could raise a few eyebrows among US diplomatic circles is Adnan Khashoggi.

The Saudi Arabian businessman, 75, who made his name as an arms dealer in the 1980s, was linked to the Iran-Contra scandal in which the Reagan administration allegedly sanctioned the sale of weapons to Iran in breach of an international arms embargo…

Also at The Telegraph, Obama ‘girls holiday’ criticised

Update 4: Spain Trip: Todd Senses ‘Something More’ Happening Behind Scenes With Michelle O at NewsBusters.

“Uncomfortable” was the word of the day at Morning Joe when it came to discussing Michelle Obama’s decision to go on a luxurious Spanish vacation in the midst of a recession—and to miss celebrating her husband’s birthday with him to boot.

Chuck Todd didn’t go into details, but NBC’s clearly ill-at-ease political director suggested: that this was a “private decision” by the First Lady; that it wouldn’t have made any difference what Pres. Obama’s political advisors would have said; and that “you get the sense here that there was something more to this” than pure politics.

Joe Scarborough reinforced Todd’s message: “this is part of a bigger narrative, isn’t it, about Michelle Obama?”

In contrast, Mark Halperin seemed eager to get off the touchy topic.  When Scarborough asked him about it, Halperin parried with a question to Todd about the positive cards the White House has to play…

…Note: Joe cited yesterday’s column by Maureen Dowd, which in the course of criticizing Mrs. Obama pointed out that the president’s birthday wasn’t the first important occasion the First Lady missed:

When the BP oil spill stained the White House, making the president seem so impotent that he had to make his first national address from the Oval Office, the first lady was playing with her mother and daughters in Los Angeles, staying at the Beverly Wilshire. She was taking in a Lakers game the night of his address…

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