As for vacations, Hawaii may be an enviable destination, but China? (Please don’t feel compelled to share your China vacation story. I’m sure it was great.) Moreover, goodwill exchanges are among our most effective instruments in diplomacy, soft or otherwise. What is more humanizing than a mother, her daughters and their grandmother?
As for the conduct abroad, a snapshot doesn’t tell the story. Obama’s no-press stipulation is problematic, to be sure, but I can confidently report that the Obamas are recognized for their superior attention to protocol. Witness Obama when she met Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 and national security adviser Susan Rice during the president’s recent visit with Pope Francis. Both ladies wore black attire, including mantillas.
This is proper dress for women at the Vatican, and I’m told they were observed appreciatively. Aren’t proper conduct and decorum what we really want from our presidential spouse?
Instead, the haters prefer to focus on a frame here and there in which Michelle Obama is either not wearing the happy-wife smile or dressed too casually for their taste. Those in the public eye for any period of time will fail to present their best face in every instance — or they’ll have perfectionist minders micromanaging any potential downside.