The New York Times reports First Lady Michelle Obama’s aides cautioned against her going on the early August European vacation in which she stayed at a 5-star resort in Spain
taking up sixty rooms
and mingled with royalty. The lavish trip, the aides reportedly argued, could result in harm to her image. “Aides say privately that they warned her there would be a cost to the trip, but she overruled them, insisting it was a rare chance to spend time with Sasha and with a friend whose father had died,” the paper reports. “But the intensity of the uproar — including accusations that she was a ‘modern-day Marie Antoinette’ — caught the White House and Mrs. Obama off guard.”
The trip resulted in the first extended negative press of the First Lady’s time in the White House. Critics questioned why Mrs. Obama chose to go to a glitzy, high-priced resort at a time when unemployment is high and many Americans are suffering economically.
The First Lady decided to take the trip nonetheless. Afterwards, she reportedly was surprised by the intensity of the uproar her posh vacation on the Spanish Riviera caused.
The White House had first said it was a mother-daughter trip, and when that failed, they said it was to visit with a friend whose father had died a few months earlier and whose funeral Michelle did not attend (was she on vacation then?).
It is difficult to say whether the affair, including her reaction to the uproar, speaks more to Michelle Obama’s arrogance or her cluelessness. Perhaps the unifying theme is her sense of entitlement.
The White House notes, however, that despite her falling approval numbers, the First Lady remains in demand among Democrats who want her to campaign for them. I guess when one’s own number is south of 40 percent, 50 percent looks pretty good.
But David Axelrod says that Ms. Obama is not “eager to jump into the fray in a very political way, and I don’t think she will.” Perhaps she and her husband realize that, other than another vacation at an international hot-spot, the surest way to blow what remains of her popularity is to campaign for Democratic members of Congress.