Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:01 am on April 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Hilary Rosen may have done Barack Obama a big favor.  The controversy over her remarks about Ann Romney and her experience as a stay-at-home mom overshadowed the President’s commentary from last week about their own choice in raising their daughters.  Our Erika Johnsen didn’t miss it, though, emphasis mine:

And once Michelle and I had our girls, she gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career. And something that, could be very difficult on her, because I was gone a lot. Once I was in the state legislature, I was teaching, I was practicing law, I’d be traveling. And we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work.

Well, most stay-at-home moms would bristle at the idea of that being a “luxury.”  It’s a sacrifice in most cases, a denial of luxuries from the lack of a second income.  Obviously Obama wanted to draw a contrast between himself and the Romneys with the word “luxury,” but instead it suggests that only wealthy families that commit to one full-time parent at home.

Besides, why couldn’t the Obamas have chosen to be a one-income family?  Malia was born in 1998, when her father was in his first term in the Illinois legislature.  At the time and to this day, the pay for Illinois state legislators was among the highest in the US.  The Illinois Policy Institute protested this fact in 2010 with some research into the history of legislative pay, and lists the statutory levels of pay for each year going back for nearly a century.  In 1998, Obama earned $49,807; in 1999 that went up to $53,581, and by the time Sasha was born in 2001 it was $57,619, where it remained until Obama went into the US Senate.  Add to that the per-diem allowance granted to legislators, which in 2007 was $125 per day the legislature is in session and was likely substantially close to that during Obama’s tenure, and it adds up. (While Obama had published his memoir Dreams from My Father in 1995, sales were relatively modest at that time and wouldn’t have produced any windfall in royalty income.)

Put that together with whatever income he derived from teaching and practicing law, and the Obama household income looks pretty decent indeed, especially in comparison to national income averages.  The median household income in 1998 was $$38,283, and by 2000 it had risen to $41,362.  In comparison, the median income in 2000 for two-parent households where the wife was not in the workforce was $49,800 in 2009 dollars, which would have been $40,371 in 2000 dollars — or slightly less than the overall median household income (h/t Maggie Gallagher). On just his legislative salary alone, the Obamas brought in 33% more than the average two-parent, single-income household at the time.

The Obamas certainly weren’t wealthy, but they were hardly doomed by circumstances to get a second income, either, even without counting the income from Obama’s teaching and law practice.  And as the national averages from the Census Bureau show, the average stay-at-home-mom family wasn’t living a life of “luxury,” either.

 

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

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born to be in the 1%

SDarchitect on April 13, 2012 at 8:03 AM

OT: Hilary Rosen and Michelle Bachmann will be on Meet The Press this Sunday

Bachmann will cream her, this is her wheelhouse. Not sure what NBC is thinking, they are in the tank for Obama and the administration wants Rosen to go away.

commodore on April 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Hilaryism of the day

22044 on April 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Obama’s brain and mouth, like the R.M.S. Titanic, sailed unawares into the dark night and a sea full of Rosens.

Yoop on April 13, 2012 at 8:11 AM

She had a $300K a year “no show” job and she couldn’t take care of the girls?

wildcat72 on April 13, 2012 at 8:14 AM

OT: Hilary Rosen and Michelle Bachmann will be on Meet The Press this Sunday

Bachmann will cream her, this is her wheelhouse. Not sure what NBC is thinking, they are in the tank for Obama and the administration wants Rosen to go away.

commodore on April 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM

They are either hoping Bachmann will go off the rails or they believe they can steer the conversation to fit their prejudices.

swinia sutki on April 13, 2012 at 8:15 AM

By the time they pay for childcare, commuting, taxes, etc, the second spouse of a working married couple is lucky to bring home minimum wage. And remember, all of the FICA taxes paid by the lower paid wage earner are basically thrown away since they accrue not additional benefits for the couple.

Laurence on April 13, 2012 at 8:17 AM

She had a $300K a year “no show” job and she couldn’t take care of the girls?

wildcat72 on April 13, 2012 at 8:14 AM

There’s no reason Barack couldn’t have been a stay at home dad, but accumulating power was a higher priority to him. He should admit it.

forest on April 13, 2012 at 8:23 AM

two things-

I lived in Chicago during the time periods discussed above, and what baraka made really wasn’t that much money, given the cost of living in Chicago.

However… as wildcat72 points out, mitchell had a patronage gig going at a south side hospital paying about 300k a year. If memory serves, she served some function like “community liason” where she got accused of discouraging the community from using hospital services. Baraka and mitchell’s money together made over 350k a year- well that’s some decent cake.

Then you throw in the under the table annenburg cash, the sweetheart rezko real estate deal, and the baraka soetero family was doing just a sight better than okay. He could certainly afford a membership at Man’s Country bathhouse up in Andersonville, for instance.

GrassMudHorsey on April 13, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Somewhat OT but

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-hammered-jetting-around-taking-vacation-while-americans-suffer_636942.html

President Obama, during an interview with St. Louis’s KMOV, was hammered for “jetting around, [taking] different vacations and so forth, sometimes … under the color of state business.” The interviewer, Larry Conners, suggested even that folks “get frustrated, even angered” seeing the president take these trips, and told Obama that these Americans think he’s “out of touch, that [Obama doesn't] really know what they’re experiencing right now

FLconservative on April 13, 2012 at 8:24 AM

But, it’s hard to buy a house in the Hyde Park area of Chicago on one salary even with a little help from Tony Rezko and with the Chicago press to give you cover:

Rezko, a generous contributor to Obama’s campaigns, “no doubt believed that by buying the piece of property next to me that he would, if not be doing me a favor, it would help strengthen our relationship,” Obama said. But there was no apparent payback, no scam, no skim. And no more to the story.

LOL

Fallon on April 13, 2012 at 8:25 AM

@laurence:
“By the time they pay for childcare, commuting, taxes, etc, the second spouse of a working married couple is lucky to bring home minimum wage. And remember, all of the FICA taxes paid by the lower paid wage earner are basically thrown away since they accrue not additional benefits for the couple.”

From 300k/year to minimum wage…that’s quite a drop, laurence.

GrassMudHorsey on April 13, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Counting her own and her foster children, Bachmann has helped raised about 30 kids while running a business before heading to Congress. Of course, Rosen will underestimate and dismiss her while continuing to misjudge the mood of the public. I would recommend a suicide watch if I thought that Rosen had any capacity for being self-aware.

Laurence on April 13, 2012 at 8:26 AM

What a Maroon

We was po just like I’m makin’ all yu.

D-fusit on April 13, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Ed, let’s also not forget that Michelle Obama didn’t have service industry job skills where it’s all or nothing, you can’t both work and be a stay at home mom. She was a lawyer and an administrator; surely she could have worked something out where she did some work for pay out of the home while being a mommie. I’ll wager she could have cleared 40K or so a year that way, nearly what her husband pulled in as a legislator.

radjah shelduck on April 13, 2012 at 8:28 AM

From 300k/year to minimum wage…that’s quite a drop, laurence.

GrassMudHorsey on April 13, 2012 at 8:26 AM

I was speaking of the average family not those of us blessed with the ability to preform neighborhood outreach.

Laurence on April 13, 2012 at 8:29 AM

I was a stay at home Dad, not by choice, and couldn’t wait to go back to work. Changing diapers, feeding, washing, cooking, cleaning and crying babies is not my idea of a fantastic job. I enjoyed the three years I had with my son, but it was hard work and you couldn’t pay me enough to go through it all over again. Stay at home moms work harder that working moms who have daycare, sick days, vacation time and a paycheck. No stay at home mom I know is doing it because it’s a luxury. They either have made a choice to rear their children themselves instead of farming them out to daycare or they aren’t able to get a job for one reason or another. Dissing them for not working is ridiculous and shows their liberal bias.

flytier on April 13, 2012 at 8:32 AM

And we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work.

There are two things wtrong with this statement.
1. The “luxury issue.
2. The “not to work” issue. Øbama is inadvertently saying that being a stay-at-home-mom is not working. Freudian slip.

Leftist disdain stay-at-home-moms so deeply that they have difficulty in hiding it.

petefrt on April 13, 2012 at 8:33 AM

She had a $300K a year “no show” job and she couldn’t take care of the girls?

wildcat72 on April 13, 2012 at 8:14 AM

No, no. She showed up just enough to dump Medicaid/Medicare patients to other facilities…

rcpjr on April 13, 2012 at 8:34 AM

War On Choice.

Electrongod on April 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM

OT: Hilary Rosen and Michelle Bachmann will be on Meet The Press this Sunday

commodore on April 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Add extra popcorn to the shopping list. Yes, I’m surprised NBC is keeping this alive too.

Has Saracuda weighed in yet?

Note to Jay Carney: Yesterday I met 15 new people, and seven of them were named Hilary Rosen.

petefrt on April 13, 2012 at 8:40 AM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,
“Baraka, release your tax returns for the last 23 years!”

OkieDoc on April 13, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Flashback: Michelle Obama and the Magic Beans.

Buy Danish on April 13, 2012 at 8:48 AM

There are two things wtrong with this statement.
1. The “luxury issue.
2. The “not to work” issue. Øbama is inadvertently saying that being a stay-at-home-mom is not working. Freudian slip.

Leftist disdain stay-at-home-moms so deeply that they have difficulty in hiding it.

petefrt on April 13, 2012 at 8:33 AM

Provided an opportunity they expose what they really think. Also they just don’t understand the ire over statements like this, but their handlers at least tell them that they have to go out and say that SAHMs work. If they really “got it” or believe it they wouldn’t say it in the first place.

dogsoldier on April 13, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Well, most stay-at-home moms would bristle at the idea of that being a “luxury.” It’s a sacrifice in most cases, a denial of luxuries from the lack of a second income.

How is this a problem for Obama? Those stay at home moms who have husbands in the work force already vote Republican. Their values are alien to Obama, just as Obama’s values are alien to them.

Obama is after the working middle class moms who value a higher standard of living over staying home with their pre-teen kids. There are more of them.

fadetogray on April 13, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Does anyone else remember Michelle Obama chatting with women in an economically depressed area in Ohio during the 2008 campaign and carping that the $600 tax rebate from Bush couldn’t even pay for a decent pair of earrings?

onlineanalyst on April 13, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Well, you can’t be seen driving around in a used Toyota if you’re the Obamas.

Lease a Lexus and shove the kids in day care. It’s worth it.

NoDonkey on April 13, 2012 at 9:13 AM

And have you seen the price of arugala?

Another reason to shove the kids in Daycare.

NoDonkey on April 13, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Hilaryism of the day

22044 on April 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM

…and that the truth!…the more she talks…the deeper a hole she seems to dig…and that voice! That is a castrating genatilia voice…I don’t care what sex you are!

KOOLAID2 on April 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM

And we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work.

LOL.

No, Barry, you and your wife decided not to forego all the luxuries your wife’s income would provide.

That was your choice. I trust you used some of what she made to provide care for your kids. Back then, you might have even qualified for the child care credit?

EconomicNeocon on April 13, 2012 at 9:29 AM

@Laurence on April 13, 2012 at 8:29 AM

Sorry for misunderstanding you sir. You are correct.

GrassMudHorsey on April 13, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Does anybody seriously think that Michelle Obama, a very angry racist hyper-educated black woman would even consider being a stay at home mother? Or any kind of mother for that point- she isn’t even raising her own kids now!

Happy Nomad on April 13, 2012 at 9:37 AM

The Obamas couldn’t have made it on just one salary because they didn’t/don’t know how to live on just one. They need some of all of ours to make it thru the day now.

Kissmygrits on April 13, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Hilaryism of the day

22044 on April 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM

…and that the truth!…the more she talks…the deeper a hole she seems to dig…and that voice! That is a castrating genatilia voice…I don’t care what sex you are!

KOOLAID2 on April 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Hilary Rosen and Hillary Clinton must be sisters.

Gladtobehere on April 13, 2012 at 9:40 AM

It was a long time ago, but when my parents were married and then started a family, my Mom – God rest her soul – quit her job to raise six children. My father was a salesman at Sears and didn’t make a lot of money – but we never went without food, clothing and the things that really matter (especially love). For all those years of hard work raising a family, cooking and cleaning, I’m sure my Mom felt she was living each day in the lap of “luxury.”

Oh, and has anyone asked Obama if his mother-in-law was helping out to raise the girls while Michelle worked? What kind of “wages” did they pay her, I wonder. (BTW, is Michelle’s mother still living at the White House?)

Logic on April 13, 2012 at 9:45 AM

War On Choice.

Electrongod on April 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Yep…but it’s been around for a very long time. Trust me…as a Mom that made the choice (25 years ago) to raise my kids myself, I know. I got questioned and dumped on for that choice quite a bit, and basically it was all from other women! Why so many people have this need to express such a condescending criticism of this decision… is a job for the shrinks.

lynncgb on April 13, 2012 at 10:04 AM

The question I have is, given his wife’s income, why didn’t he stay at home with the kids? Did they ever consider that? Or is there some sexist double-standard here?

taznar on April 13, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Truly a classless class warrior.

jukin3 on April 13, 2012 at 10:06 AM

The question I have is, given his wife’s income, why didn’t he stay at home with the kids?

Think of how much better 330 million Americans would be if he had.

Talk about “making a difference”.

NoDonkey on April 13, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Is there any evidence of him “practicing law”? I’ve only seen him practice breaking it.

Freelancer on April 13, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Those stay at home moms who have husbands in the work force already vote Republican.

Right, Owebama’s base is where both parents stay home (not necessarily in the same house) and collect government benefits.

And for those that recognize what a stay-at-home parent does – thank you. Rosen’s point was supposedly that Ann Romney therefore couldn’t advise her husband on economic issues facing women. That’s a good thing Ms. Rosen. The American people don’t elect the spouse of the President. They expect the President to do his own job.

In addition show me a stay-at-home parent and I’ll show you a person who has learned to economize under fire. This parent learns how to manage time, screaming kids, laundry, cleaning, grocery lists with rising prices, car pools, clothing kids, getting kids to their activities and serving nutritious meals – all on a budget (something that’s foreign to Owe). You will not find a better diplomat, financial adviser and person in the know about real life.

katablog.com on April 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM

The question I have is, given his wife’s income, why didn’t he stay at home with the kids? Did they ever consider that? Or is there some sexist double-standard here?

taznar on April 13, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Because Michelle’s made up job was linked to Obama’s political fortunes and what he could do for the hospital where she was a patient dumper. It wasn’t a real career.

Happy Nomad on April 13, 2012 at 10:23 AM

“I know three Jay Carneys…”

Akzed on April 13, 2012 at 10:33 AM

and didn’t pay $300,000 until she got the $200,000 bump when he started running for President.

katablog.com on April 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM

- Obamas make 33% more than the national average
– Obamas buy a house in an upper income area of Chigaco
– Obamas BOTH have a law license

askwhatif on April 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Sorry, too quick with the wrong key
.

- Obamas make 33% more than the national average
– Obamas buy a house in an upper income area of Chicago
– Obamas BOTH have a law license
- Obamas have children while in their mid-30s
.
Yet the Obamas sacrificed?
If he couldn’t make it with that amount of assets,
NO WONDER HE CAN’T BALANCE A BUDGET!!!!!

askwhatif on April 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

for people that had stuff handed to them on a silver platter all they do is whine and blame others for their problems

tools novote4obama never ever!

losarkos on April 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

I thought the Obama’s had over $400,000 combined income when they had Malia? They certainly made too much to understand the struggles of young families scraping by on $30,000 or $40,000 a year.

I was a stay at home mom and never thought it was a “luxury” although people often remarked how nice I had it, to be able to sit and watch soap operas all day. (I never had time for soap operas!) LOL But I wondered then, as I do today, why stay at home moms aren’t as valued as moms who work outside the home.

GrannySunni on April 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM

My wife stays home now…she has a really tough job. I don’t know if I could come remotely close to what she does. I love her very much for what she does and who she is. She is the only luxury our family needs.

tomas on April 13, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Hilary Rosen may have done Barack Obama a big favor. The controversy over her remarks about Ann Romney and her experience as a stay-at-home mom overshadowed the President’s commentary from last week about their own choice in raising their daughters.

Call me skeptical, but I neither Obama’s remarks nor Rosen’s were coincidental. Obama took the first shot, in classic backhanded style. Rosen’s ill-considered smear was a follow-up. It was part of the same strategy.

She just doesn’t have the skills of the slippery Barack; she drives a tack with a sledge hammer.

This was a considered strategy. It just blew up in their faces, thanks to the subtle and deft touch of Rosen, who tossed a grenade instead of approaching from the side and sticking a knife between the ribs.

novaculus on April 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM

@Happy Nomad:

“Does anybody seriously think that Michelle Obama, a very angry racist hyper-educated black woman…”

HN, have you ever tried reading this obese harpie’s crayon scrawled master’s thesis? If you have, you know there’s no possible way you could put the terms “mitchell obama-soetero” and “educated” in the same sentence.

If you haven’t yet perused this wondrous document, I encourage you to do so… it will most definitely be an, um, “enlightening” experience to be sure.

GrassMudHorsey on April 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Bush’s
Big Oil’s
Big Insurance’s
Typical White Grandmother’s
Supreme Court’s

Hilary Rosen’s

Fault

Tim_CA on April 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

This was a considered strategy. It just blew up in their faces, thanks to the subtle and deft touch of Rosen, who tossed a grenade

I’d agree it was done on purpose, but then these people simply don’t think. Who is Owebama’s base? Certainly NOT working couples with two incomes unless they are both union members or Hollywood types. Owebama’s base is Peggy Moocher who wants something for free. Owebama’s base is still looking for their new car and paid mortgage. So the whole strategy wound up being a diss to their own base, who stay at home day after day. And, what Rosen said may indeed apply to those stay at home people – who wants advice from someone who didn’t graduate high school?

What went wrong is Owe and Rosen not realizing that a lot of intelligent people keep one parent home with the kids and don’t allow their kids to run the neighborhood, tearing up government paid housing and joining gangs. These stay at home parents actually raise their children to be good, productive citizens. Some are even intelligent enough to home school their kids and give them a much broader (and less indoctrinated) education. As I said before, these parents would make great diplomats, financial managers and CEOs because they learn people, financial and time management.

katablog.com on April 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM

…punished with a baby/s.

Wyznowski on April 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Obama is after the working middle class moms who value a higher standard of living over staying home with their pre-teen kids. There are more of them.

I wouldn’t be so sure that “there are more of them.” It may appear that way given that the women who slaver at Obama’s feet are of that ilk, but I think women with children are more and more having to take a serious look at what the cost of not being with their children is or can be as the effects of irresponsibility toward one’s children are becoming more manifest.

And I see on “The Hill” where Hilary Rosen has cancelled her “Meet the Press” gig. She says she’s going to stay at home with her kids; isn’t that special. I think the real story is she tried to say “who’s Jay Carney?” with a straight face and just couldn’t get it done.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on April 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM

So, Obowma led a “war on women” in his own home?

He forced his wife to work for a paltry 300k a year, at a job she left that replaced her with spent CO2.

Now, Mochelle Obowma lives of the gov’t teet, spending our tax dollars as an unemployed, high rolling and constant vacationing shill for her husband.

dthorny on April 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

But I wondered then, as I do today, why stay at home moms aren’t as valued as moms who work outside the home

They are, Granny, they are. It’s just that the cultural climate has been such that to express the high value one puts on the mom who devotes her life to the children gets recast as calling on women to stay away from the work force, and the real message gets buried in the avalanche.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on April 13, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Let’s not forget the fact that the Obamas did not have any children, until their mid-30s.
What did they do with all their money before then?
.
I’m not convinced that either of their parents ever sat them down and taught them how to run a home budget.
…and therein lies the problem!

askwhatif on April 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Due to circumstances beyond our control, my husband became a ‘house husband’. Way before it was cool.
He stated one day that he now understands why house moms go ‘off’.
“I get no thanks, and the laundry just never stops! There is no end to this!”

askwhatif on April 13, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Vaguely I recall reading that when Obama won the presidency, his family in debt. In fact, they may not have gotten out of debt until he was elected president and his book sales were good. The number, $50,000, sticks in my mind. In other words, they had a history of spending more than they earned. Hmmmm do you think maybe they transferred this mindset to the WH?

I think it was in Weekly Standard – regardless,

MN J on April 15, 2012 at 3:38 PM