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Mrs. Obama Touts ‘Simple’ Things, But Wears Other Things

I’ve often marveled at the way people who gain money, power, fame – even a regular gig on TV – inevitably lose their sense of perspective.

As a White House journalist, for example, I generally place the White House TV correspondents into three categories: the ones who will talk with you as normal people; the ones who don’t want to talk and don’t learn your name but will say hello; and the ones who don’t want to talk, don’t know your name, and won’t respond in any way when you say “hello.”

Mrs. Obama only a couple of years ago was a relative nonentity, and the loss of perspective resulting from her sudden arrival into public stratosphere is showing this Christmas season.

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"Barack, enough simple things for today."

Michelle has been justly criticized this year for lavishness beyond the call of duty of a first lady. She took a weirdly excessive five day trip to Spain’s finest resort this summer, at a cost of perhaps a few hundred thousand dollars to taxpayers. She flew to Hawaii a week ago Saturday without the president, at a cost to taxpayers that was probably well in excess of $100,000, just so she could get her full two weeks of relaxation. She garbs herself in extraordinary clothes and jewelery that will probably force President Obama to write “Dreams of My Grandfather” to pay the bills.

So it’s wonderfully ironic that with a straight face, Mrs. Obama can use the holiday video greeting she made with the president to talk about the importance of “simple gifts” that “don’t cost a thing.” It’s another Marie Antoinette moment for the first lady. In fact, she made the term “simple gifts” the whole theme of the Christmas season. Let’s hope for the president’s sake that’s not what he’s giving her.

Here what she said.

This is one of our favorite times of year.  And we’re so fortunate to be able to celebrate it together in this wonderful home.

This is the “People’s House.”  So Barack and I try to open it to as many people as we can, especially during the holiday season.

This month, more than 100,000 Americans have passed through these halls.  And the idea behind this year’s theme, “Simple Gifts,” is that the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don’t cost a thing – the comfort of spending time with loved ones…the freedoms we enjoy as Americans… and the joy we feel upon giving something of ourselves.

So in this time of family, friends, and good cheer; let’s also be sure to look out for those who are less fortunate, who’ve hit a run of bad luck, or who are hungry and alone this holiday season.

Well, as I mention above, she may feel fortunate to spend this time of year in “this wonderful home,” but she went to extraordinary lengths to get the Hell out of it five days before Christmas.

You can watch the entire Christmas message here. Or you can check out this video by two of our readers, Granny Jan and Jihad Kitty, who first pointed out to me the strangeness of Mrs. Obama promoting “simple” things.

Because simple things are not always Mrs. Obama’s favorite things.

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15 Responses to Mrs. Obama Touts ‘Simple’ Things, But Wears Other Things

  1. Hey, go easy on the lady–she had to leave a madeup $300K job to be a figurehead and probably figures get while the getting is good. Did she give the kids any gifts, simple or otherwise…?

  2. I fail to see how celebrating simple things like ” the comfort of spending time with loved ones…the freedoms we enjoy as Americans… and the joy we feel upon giving something of ourselves” and having expensive (if any) gifts are mutually exclusive.

    If they want to buy gold-plated toilet bowl brushes with their own money, let them. You can be generous and still waste money. The two are not exclusive of one another. See: religion.

    As for her trip that you originally said cost taxpayers around 63,000$ and now are saying costs “probably well in excess of 100,000$” – with no citation (sorry, I’m an academic, we like backing up our statements), let her. It’s not as though they (or any first family – Reagan, Bush, Clinton, or Obama) can use JetBlue. The first lady is (as much as any paid position) a position of a US ambassador or dignitary, _however_- the first lady never receives a salary. Yet each of them devote and devoted considerable time and effort to major projects while their spouses are in office- and yes, while leaving jobs they have spent decades working towards. Do they receive (at times) outrageous perks? Yep. As does _any_ head of state family in any country. They also make sacrifices (as does any head of state family)- that it’s easy for those of us on the outside to judge, but it’s hard for us to understand or to appreciate. Her kids (nor any first kids) didn’t have any choice in being there, nor in giving up a relatively normal existence. Like hell I’d tell my kids we were putting off our Xmas vacation for 4 days for a reason not related to myself or them. Not when it was already planned and in motion to go (what exactly are the losses monetary-wise for cancelling a trip? Nevermind, I would imagine you’d need to cite it, and that’s hard). 

    Personally, I think it’s a LOT easier to speculate on what any first lady or family is getting and giving for Xmas than to actually focus in on what is important. Because insulting a person for encouraging people to celebrate simple things and for leaving on an already planned trip is obviously more important journalism than to actually report on any families actual activities and efforts for the American public (and yep, I mean that for any first family).

    (Contrary to evidence, I enjoyed the blog.)

      • I read the first article a few days ago. Curious how the figure jumps to “100,000$s” in the video you link in this blog.

        Journalism looks like it could be more fun than academics. We like citing our facts rather than “suggesting” them. It gets wearisome!

        • Another estimate is $180K sn hr for AF-1. This was a military plane that billed back $6 thousand something an hr, which seemed low. I don’t know how much the food costs, the crew, etc–the point was not forensic accounting, but double-up–he was going in a few days. Yes, heads of state get more perks than we do…We pick at them over here, that’s the difference. Your comments, dare I say it, sound snide…”Oh, don’t answer, you’d have to cite it and that’s hard…” or whatever you said. Oops,,,no exact quote. (I work with academics, and I believe you are one!) So come back and pick away with us–all are welcome.

        • Well, your science must be pretty bad, since you seem to have trouble getting the facts from source material. The article very clearly states that the cost of the Hawaii trip is likely more than $100K and details why. I was actually being cautious in using the $63,000 figure in the headline.

  3. Thanks Keith, from the two of us.

    Mrs Obama got a simple pearl bracelet from the President. Reggie picked it out himself.

    Remember, we have another lavish state dinner coming up in mid-January with the greatest Chinese food in the world on the menu. This one I really would like to be invited to.

  4. MrsO spends a fortune on designer clothing and jewels and still manages to look tacky and cheap. Her clothes don’t fit her, she wears inappropriate outfits and has no particular style.
    She talks the talk but certainly doesn’t walk the walk. From a lower class family to marriage to a powerful and wealthy man, she has taken her ascention to the max and appears clueless or tonedeaf to the “simple things” she espouses for the small people.

  5. As a longtime fan of Jihad Kitty, thanks for posting this video. As to the self described academic who posted here, what back-up is needed ? A picture really is ‘worth a thousand words.’ Kitty is being kind here, and brief, an entire photo essay of Mrs. O’s excesses, and hypocrisy would take hours.
    “We all will have to give up a piece of our pie….blah blah ” comes to mind. Yet what her fans see as a ‘style icon’ fails to show the true picture. A little research would show them the breathtaking cost of many,if not most,of her costumes.

    The larger issue, which you alluded to in the very funny “dreams from my grandfather” has always been a mystery to me. The Obama’s are mini-millionaires at best. Considering the expenses of the Chicago pad, which I assume are ongoing, even if they never use the place, Sidwell Friends tuition, income taxes, etc etc. There is no way they can afford their current lifestyle. They have a history of problems of financial management in Chicago.
    So the real question is..who is paying for all this ? If it’s the taxpayers, we should protest, if it’s a ‘rich uncle’, what is he getting in return ?

      • Actually I think they get billed back for food in the private residence…I don’t know the details… Yes, out here in Recessionville, we get pretty good at eyeballing finances..he makes $400K salary, I guess free medical, and gets a few mill from the books…Now, here I was going to say I wonder if Bill Ayres gets royalties–but that would be snarky…anyhow, so he is not Buffett rich by any means…Kinda noveau.