Hey, who wouldn’t want a quarter-million-dollar, taxpayer-paid Spanish vacation? Some people just feel compelled to rain on parades, however, and the First Lady’s extravagant Spanish holiday provides a pretty big target. It’s no surprise to see a Republican strategist blast the Obamas for playing Marie Antoinette by spending almost $250,000 on a vacation outside of the US, but it’s not just Republicans scratching their heads at the “tone deaf” nature of such a high-profile outing during economic stagnation. Geraldo Rivera takes a few jabs, and so does Kirsten Powers on Fox, via Mediaite:
“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.
Powers extended her remarks in a New York Post column this morning:
Some argue that Michelle should be able to travel wherever she wants if she’s paying for it herself. This is naive. She is the first lady at a time when Americans are experiencing great economic pain. There are endless great locations here at home that she could put on the map with a visit — American hotels and restaurants that would be grateful for the business generated by such a high-profile visitor.
If it’s a huge sacrifice for her, so be it. Sacrifice is actually a noble trait, last I checked.
Plus, if she keeps this up, she will be able to vacation anywhere she wants in about two years.
The end of the world? Obviously not. Tone deaf? Absolutely. And it’s telling that this tone-deaf, Marie Antoinette moment comes from the administration that continues to play class warfare to expand government control over the most private aspects of American lives.