I mean seriously, she went on a vacation with her daughter. So what that it was in Spain? She paid for the trip herself, she HAS to take security because people are crazy out there. I'm sure she would have rather gone without a huge entourage, but that's just not possible in today's world.
The fact that people are bitching about this trip is disturbing to me. And on top of that Maureen Dowd's dumb behind goes and writes an op-ed stating that instead of going on trips with her family (which is what Michelle does) she should stay home and serve President Obama toast and martinis.
Umm, the last time I checked Michelle Obama was a grown ass woman and Barack Obama was a grown ass man. If he REALLY needed her to be there for all of those events, do you think she would have gone? Hell, I bet the President would have gone WITH her to all of those places if he could without the Right and the Media whining about it.
My point is, taking a vacation does not mean you don't care about the everyday struggles of the average American. The first family members are not our prisoners. It's not like they are taking off entire MONTHS at a time. Indeed, the things Dowd was complaining about Michelle being "absent" for were not things she needed to be there for. To celebrate the passage of health care? She was there when he really needed her, when he was trying to pass health care. When he was giving the address on the BP Oil Spill, what would having Michelle in DC have done for him? I'm willing to bet that trip was in the works for far longer than that address was. What was Michelle supposed to do, sit on his lap while he talked? Or better yet hold up the cue cards/run the teleprompter? Seriously, it's the summertime, the girls are out of school, and she's spending time for them. They've gone to places in America (including the National Parks that someone on Morning Joe mentioned as the place where Laura Bush spent all of her vacations. I don't know where she spent her vacations, and I don't particularly care, just like I don't particularly care where Michelle spends her vacations to be honest). In fact, later this week they are going where a lot of other Americans don't apparently want to go. . . the Gulf Coast.
I made the mistake of tuning into Morning Joe this morning (I know) where they were talking about how Democratic strategists are whining because the First Lady doesn't plan on campaigning non-stop for the next few months for Democratic candidates. REALLY? As hard as it is to believe, she actually isn't a huge fan of campaigning, the only reason she did it for Pres. Obama is because that's her husband, and even then she wasn't campaigning non-stop. She has ALWAYS maintained that her most important job will always be to be Malia and Sasha's mother. (Tim Kaine had a good retort to Matt Lauer's question about whether he would have chosen a different vacation for Michelle and Sasha, he said that she is above all else a MOTHER and she went on a trip with some friends of hers who also took their daughters, that it's good for them to be exposed to different cultures and parts of the world as children, and that it's good that the President and First Lady are so focused on being good parents. Exactly Mr. Kaine.)
However, opposing giving States aid to keep them from firing teachers and police officers when you didn't have a similar complaint when it was time to bail out your pals in big companies until it was deemed unpopular IS a "let them eat cake" moment. People are worried about losing their jobs, they are worried about who will protect them, they are worried about who will teach their children, they are NOT worried about where the First Lady decides to vacation or take her daughters. People WANT a bailout for "Main Street" in fact, that's something people have been saying for years. On top of that, according to my local news (where I first saw this story-- and where they weren't saying a thing about Michelle Obama's trip might I add) the CBO says that giving the States aid won't cost us ANYTHING over the next 10 years. You wanna talk about bad optics? Bad optics is having John Boehner in front of a brown and orange screen (of all backdrops, he chooses fake bookcases? SMH) telling Ohioians that they shouldn't get the MILLIONS of dollars in State aid that we would get if this bill passes the House. THOSE are bad optics.
Update [2010-8-9 14:40:28 by Muzikal203]: Oh, and here are a few more facts on why Michelle was in Spain:
First, some numbers. Mrs. Obama did not travel with 40 friends, a number used by some news outlets.
She vacationed with two women, one of them a longtime Chicago pal, Anita Blanchard, who is the obstetrician who delivered Sasha and Malia. Blanchard is married to Marty Nesbitt -- President Obama's buddy and the treasurer of Obama's presidential campaign fund.
There was one other woman. Total: four daughters among the three women. They paid for their hotel rooms and other personal and travel expenses.
The trip involved six White House advance staffers and two East Wing staffers, deputy Chief of Staff Melissa Winter and Mrs. Obama's personal assistant, Kristen Jarvis, according to Mrs. Obama's spokeswoman Catherine McCormick Lelyveld.
Mrs. Obama does travel with significant security -- and in a trip like this, three shifts of uniformed and plain-clothes agents and military personnel flew with her on a big Air Force 757. No matter where she goes -- domestic or international -- any first lady gets protection and she does not decide how many agents are needed.
So why did Mrs. Obama go to Spain at this time? She's not tone-deaf politically. What was behind the "mother-daughter" vacation?
A White House source told me that Blanchard's father passed away and Mrs. Obama was not able to make the funeral at the beginning of July. Blanchard had promised her daughter she would take her to Spain for her birthday. She asked Mrs. Obama and Sasha to come with. (Malia is at overnight camp.)
"She felt it was important as a dear friend to do this," I was told.
More details here.
So she went to Spain to support a dear friend who recently lost her father. I don't see ANYTHING wrong with that. She also did not go to some big name celebrity gala. I think doing something to make a friend feel better is something we ALL (well, at least those of us with friends-- don't want to make any generalizations here) can understand.
Update [2010-8-9 14:40:28 by Muzikal203]: Oh, and one of my fav pics:
And here's more on that Tim Kaine bit I mentioned earlier:
Kaine tells NBC's "Today" show he thinks "it's wrong" to talk critically about her trips. Critics contend they send a poor message at a time when many Americans are out of work.
Kaine said, "She's a mom." He said this was an opportunity for her to take nine-year-old daughter Sasha to a part of the world she hadn't seen before.
Kaine said President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are "focused on being good parents."