irst Lady Michelle Obama is reportedly a big hit with the locals in Spain, where she is vacationing with daughter Sasha, 9, but the trip isn't going over quite so well back home. Conservative critics are blasting Mrs. Obama as "a modern-day Marie Antoinette" for flying overseas and staying at a "posh" hotel, where rooms run from $341 to $6,500 per night, while ordinary Americans are "pinching pennies" to get through an economic downturn. Is the first lady being insensitive, or is this just a partisan cheap shot? (Watch an AP report about Michelle Obama's vacation)
The Obamas are hypocrites: What the president and first lady do with their own money is their business, says Rob Port at Say Anything Blog. "But what they do with our tax dollars is our business." And flying the first lady and her daughter to Spain on Air Force Two is bound to cost the rest of us "a pretty penny." The Obamas are the ones who said Americans need to make sacrifices — "is it too much to ask" that they set an example by taking cheaper vacations closer to home?
"Michelle Obama's luxurious, taxpayer-funded Spanish vacation"
Please — the Obamas are a bargain compared to Bush: Michelle Obama's critics are just out to score cheap political points, says Christine Schwen at Media Matters. Fox News bloviator Andrea Tantaros, who got the "Marie Antoinette" ball rolling in the New York Daily News, actually suggests the Obamas act more like George W. Bush. What? Bush took 77 trips to his "sprawling, 1,583-acre" Texas ranch — and his trips there on Air Force One cost taxpayers a quarter million dollars a pop. "Not the best model for the Obamas to follow."
"Tantaros thinks Obama should model Bush's vacation schedule?"
The criticism is exaggerated, but not entirely out of line: Look, all first ladies take vacations, says Lynn Sweet in the Chicago Sun-Times, "with and without the president." And Michelle Obama is paying all her personal expenses, as are her friends, who traveled on their own. But she has taken a lot of trips lately, and taxpayers will "pick up the tab for staff and security at the exclusive hotel and most of the expenses for the plane." It's fair to point that out.
"Michelle Obama could face 'appearance' issue over luxury Spain vacation"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Russia's Ukraine invasion is a moral crisis
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 4 life hacks from ancient philosophers that will make you happier
- The Daily Show explains Hamid Karzai's 'Afghan Hustle'
- The end of academic freedom?
- This energy source could solve all of our problems — so why is no one talking about it?
Subscribe to the Week