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.
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.