There are those who say that I spend too much time criticizing Megan McArdle and baiting others into defending her. To them, I say:
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Michelle Obama vacationing in Spain; they have the money, so why not? But I agree with Doug Mataconis that, while there’s nothing actually wrong with it, it’s really quite unbelievably politically stupid. When we’re in the middle of the worst recession in living memory, it’s not a good idea to take a luxury vacation that most of your countrymen could never possibly afford in the best of times, at considerable taxpayer expense for the security, in a foreign country.
I know that it’s wrong when foul-mouthed, vituperative bloggers substitute hot profanity for cool reason, but I’d like to ask everyone, including the other front-pagers here: if you were the business and economics editor of Atlantic, would you devote blog posts to analyzing Michelle Obama’s vacation habits?
You raise a point that I’ve been emphasizing for some time. We tend to focus our ire on the people who write stupid stories, while forgetting that it is the editors who often make the original assignment, and have control over whether the piece gets published or not.
Uppity negress gets her airs on.
@gizmo: McMegan IS the business and economics editor. No one assigned her this crap. She defecates this diarrhea of the brain wholly of her own accord. It’s arguably better than when she actually tries to discuss business or economics, though.
Seriously, I would rather blog about Rush Limbaugh’s ass boils than this.
Well if I didn’t know shit about business or economics, then sure.
I saw this and couldn’t really believe it. For someone who spends as much time as McArdle does trying to pretend that she’s not a Republican, to the extent of (apparently) having voted for Obama, she certainly doesn’t have much good to say about anything the Obama Administration — and his wife, I guess — does. The way she concern trolls everything that they do is really, really annoying.
Hey, GW’s non-stop vacationing at the ranch and Nancy Reagans wardrobe and dinner ware was the source of much print on the left, why shouldn’t Michelle’s tone-deafness be fodder for the right?
What else do you expect the Atlantic to cover, they’ve been on a downward spiral for a long time.
There comes a point when you have to realize that people on the right are going to complain about what the Obama’s do (ir)regardless.
I’m sure if they ever disclose what toilet paper is used in the White House we’ll find out how it is either unAmerican toilet paper or it somehow disproves Global Warming.
I’ve spent a lot of time, probably way to much, arguing with wingnuts and I’ve learned a few things. First is that they aren’t really interested in rational debate with things like facts and stuff. They know what they know and have been trained to filter out everything that contradicts what Rush tells them.
Secondly, racism isn’t what is driving this. There may be racists in the Republican Party and a lot of the ideology is descended from racism, but the truth is that it doesn’t matter what Democrat was President we’d see the same level of hysteria. If Hillary had won it wouldn’t be about birth certificates, but you can be sure we’d be reading the words Vince Foster and Whitewater from the wingnuts on a daily basis. Its why I was so disappointed when the Obama supporters were turning to wingnut rhetoric to disparage the Clintons during the primary.
Lastly, I’ve also noticed a tendency from the wingnuts to cling onto anything that is said by the wingnut propaganda machine in a more obsessive way, depending on how much it seems to upset people on the left. This isn’t about ideology anymore as much is it is about simply a number of incredibly selfish people who have a need to feel special like they’re the only ones in the whole world who understand it and thus obsessively need to win on every issue. Sometimes I think it would be better to ignore McArdle and the like and focus our criticisms more intently on the more reasonable conservatives.
It’s August and the congress is out and all the purdy people take their vacations. It is easily the most empty headed time in our politics. And that is saying something. We live in a celebrity culture where the only thing we enjoy more than building up images of people of interest, is tearing them down.
And this is your beat Dougj, it’s what Cole pays you the big money for and someone has to balance the books so idiot pundits don’t git too big for their britches. You’re doin it right, as far as I can tell. Don’t let the jackals eat your sandwich around here.
Can you imagine what they’d be talking about wrt Chelsea’s wedding if Clinton was president?
@Comrade Luke: Hell they already went orgiastic over Chelsea’s wedding as it was. Can you even imagine how the media will take Sasha getting married or even trying to date? She’ll be around 16 when Obama is in the middle of his second term. It will make the National Enquirer look like a bunch of pikers.
While we’re at it, should they really be living in that nice of a house while so many of their fellow Americans are in foreclosure??
Man, I wish you hadn’t posted that, because – probably for the first time ever – I find myself in agreement with Megan McArdle. (Jeez.)
@<a href="#[email protected]Comrade Luke: ent-1939253″>Comrade Luke:
lmao I don’t think we have to work or imaginations too hard. We’d have Michelle Bachmann promising to subpeona the guest list if Republicans won back the Congress.
McMegan did not vote for Obama. She did not vote for anyone in 2008. As she, herself, announced,
She is a dipshit and a plague.
The same people complaining about this trip are the same ones that have stood with the Republicans in telling the unemployed to piss off.
Also notice that this nonsense is trumping the news of the nutrition bill that she pushed for? How long have we been hearing about this trip? what’s with the delayed fainting spells over this?
Is it OK because they have the money, or is it wrong because it’s at the taxpayers’ expense? If you’re going to run with a bullshit narrative is it too much to ask that it’s at least internally consistent?
One can never ask too little of McArdle of course.
No offense Ty. But that is that is exactly the type of vapid phony symbolism that Republicans depend upon to win elections.
Look at those mean nasty Obamas taking a luxury vacation while you can’t afford to! They’re depending upon your emotional reaction instead of a logical reaction that says the Obama family has given up a lot for Obama to become President. The least they deserve is some time away from the media bubble without petty emotional outrage.
New Village talking point: Michelle Obama is an out of touch elitist (revival of an old meme) and a neglectful wife. My question is when will CNN, poll Americans about Mrs. O’s vacation habits?
To address your point DougJ, I was introduced to McArdle during the 2008 election (via Yglesias) and I stopped reading her idiotic posts. My only explanation for her status at the Atlantic is that, maybe the Atlantic was looking for their very own gilbertarian token.
Wile E. Quixote
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Megan McArdle is a stupid sack of shit who only got a job at The Atlantic because she either fucked someone there or was hired by someone who was hoping to fuck her.
Holy shit McMegan, look no global warming.
Greenland Glacier Calves Island Four Times the Size of Manhattan
“A dipshit and a plague.”
In a contest to describe the essence of Megan McArdle in as few characters as possible, this could be the winner.
@roshan: That’s what trying to overturn Prop 8 will get you.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! MM2 concern-trolling about people acting in unseemly ways with their very own monies is cracking me the fuck up. Fucking hypocrite. You and MoDo should go get you nails down so you can cackle together over how awful Michelle is. Asshat.
Nice try, E.D., but you’re not fooling anybody. Good to see you in the comments, though.
Megan McArglebargle: Concern troll.
No offense Ty. But that is that is exactly the type of vapid phony symbolism that Republicans depend upon to win elections.
… which is why, as McArdle said, it was politically stupid.
[I don’t know who E.D. is, but I’m not him. I’m just me. I’ve posted in the comments section from time to time. I’m pretty lefty… in fact the only reason I checked in today was in the hope that somebody had some nice words to say about Tony Judt after his passing, but I’ve been shocked to see that most of the liberal blogs have ignored it today]
@Ty Lookwell: It doesn’t matter where Michelle went. The press would have found something to bitch about even if she had taken time to go to Haiti and help the victims of the earthquake. That’s their job. She might as well do what the fuck she wants.
I will agree with someone in the other thread who said in general, FLOTUS is a position in which the woman gets slammed no matter what she does. Unless, like Laura Bush, she’s so out of it, she does nothing.
People complained about the amount of time Bush spent on vacation. Not the amount it cost.
No one ever criticized Laura for taking vacations.
I am on the road along the byways of obscure California visiting fam and friends. And all this fuss would never have happened if they had gone to Bakersfield.
Because Buck Owens was a good Democrat, as I learned here on this very blog. It would put the GOP into disarray and would be a win for Democrats. Yay.
Hi asiangrrlMN, you seem over perturbed by nonsensical pundits. They are unfair to the first lady, but this is overall a good thing, because when McArdle commits this piffle in public, it makes her look stupd and mean, discrediting her when she tackles significant topics where she can do more damage.
I am concerned the the WH garden is not pulling its weight in terms of being the subject of mean spirited and silly attacks on the Obama administration. What is the problem there? Why the WH garden blackout from the reactionary peanut gallery? We haven’t heard about the basketball court, the bowling alley, the kids’ WH playground. or Krazy Train Biden’s prostate recently.
It’s quiet, too quiet. They are up to something.
Well, it’s a blog…I think she’s allowed to digress from business and economics from time to time and speak her mind on whatever. Just sayin’.
@daveNYC: ZING! Where shall we send your internets?
@jl: Hey, you. I was wondering what happened to you. Yeah, I am. It just bothers me that people like this have such a viable platform from which to spew their idiocy. I know I should be past that because it’s gone on for fucking ever, but it still rankles.
Your point about the WH press corps is a good one, though. They’re up to something.
@Yutsano: Evidence on her own blog suggests that she cannot handle criticism, actually. She, the daughter of intimidating intellectuals (so she says).
You may be right about the WH press corps. Nancy SMASH! is always a favorite target.
@Paul: Megan is a big girl, she can take being dragged to the woodshed for saying idiotic things like that. And if she can’t she needs to stop blogging. This ain’t patty-cake.
@asiangrrlMN: My guess is it will relate to them being completely cut out from both Michelle’s vacation and Obama’s birthday. I’m thinking they get Nancy SMASH on some bullshit rumor about fighting with the White House again, mostly because she’s being
a bitchproductive and recalling the House next week.
@asiangrrlMN: Hey, I invited the first family to Bakersfield, even though I never had any business near the place, and am not sure what to make of that bit of Oklahoma stuck right in the middle of CA. But I’m just trying to help.
You could do your part too, by inviting them to vacation in the Twin Cities!
No, never mind. MN is too civilized and Scandinavian (and therefore commie) to be Real America.
I will press on with my Bakersfield campaign. The presidential compound can go out by Oildale near the airport. Looks like the moon out there, except more dust and temps slightly more extreme, and generally less to do. But other than that, it’ll be great! A great PR hit with MoDo and MandM.
@jl: OK in CA? Does not compute. Hm. I think they would love MN, actually. And, it is in the Midwest, which, as everyone knows, is in the heartland of real ‘Murika. By Jove, I think you got it!
By the way, my dad is a big-wig econ guy in Taiwan. He got to go to a conference at the White House (Ok, not the White House, exactly, but close enough). I told him I would be jealous if he got to meet Obama. He didn’t, but he would have had the chance to meet Paul Krugman (my econ crush) if he (my dad) had been in Taiwan the week he was in the States.
… which is why, as McArdle said, it was politically stupid.
And its politically stupid because people get emotional about it like you and really don’t think it through.
Michelle Obama cures cancer; Megan McArdle takes her to task for thowing doctors out of work.
Michelle Obama solves world hunger; McArdle takes her to task for increasing the amount of poop people produce.
And so it goes.
I think eco2geek @25 has it right, Megan is just concern trolling. You know, as a blog editor she has to look at things from all points of view.
Remember two years ago, when Cokie criticized Obama for taking a vacation in an exotic place? Something like, “I know his dying grandmother lives there, but ordinary Americans will be unable to relate to a trip to Hawai’i: a savvy candidate would have gone to Myrtle Beach.”
And its politically stupid because people get emotional about it like you and really don’t think it through.
jeez, what is going on with you? I’m not “getting emotional about it (and “not thinking it through”) … It’s so weird when people get aggressive or insulting about stupid, pointless stuff like this. I happen to think McArdle had a point about the way Michelle Obama’s “Spanish vacation” looks politically, and you disagree with me. Mellow out.
… and I will add that when McArdle addresses stupid pointless crap like this she does much, much less damage than when she spreads lies and disinformation in the realm of important economic debate.
But, Doug, all the Kewl Kidz Columnists are blogging about Michelle-Antoinette’s horrible very bad no good Spanish vacation! ! ! McArdle must follow the pack with a quickness, or she can never hope to rise to the breath-taking heights of a Maureen Dowd! You are SO MEAN to be picking her poor McMegan, just because she’s taller and prettier and better-networked than you could ever hope to dream of being, and did she mention that she has an MBA from an Ivy, too, also!
Actually, I thought of McArdle when I read Mistermix’s post on Tokenism earlier today. She’s not competent to talk about either economics or finance, but she has the right parents and that very expensive piece of paper. Elevating her to “business & economics editor” gave the suits at The Atlantic a Vagina-American they could be comfortable having lunch with, while simultaneously demonstrating that Vagina-Americans just aren’t competent enough to talk about Serious Stuff like business. It’s a win/win, for very specific parameters of “win”!
@Ty Lookwell: I would add that we all actually agree it’s probably politically stupid. I just don’t happen to give a shit because I think anything the Obamas do is considered politically stupid. So, they might as well enjoy themselves somewhat in the meantime.
@Anne Laurie: Huh. I think you’re right about the ‘look, we have a woman’ without actually giving thought to the merits of said woman. Plus, even the lefty bloggers like Ezra and Matt Y. like her, so she can’t be bad.
@srv: Please tell me you’re being sarcastic. W. didn’t get any flak for the amount of vacations he took.
“Megan is a big girl, she can take being dragged to the woodshed for saying idiotic things like that. And if she can’t she needs to stop blogging. This ain’t patty-cake.’
Not defending her comments, just answering DougJ’s very specific question.
What’s most appalling is the hypocrisy. McArdle is a glibertarian princess, a dimwitted class warrior for aristocrats and bankers. She’s often put together expensive gift lists on her blog despite the economy and is outraged by average folks walking away from their houses when they’re “under water.” She defends almost every act of exploitation by the powerful. She’s both dumb and callous, and would take an extravagent vacation in a second if she had the money – the only difference is she wouldn’t share it with friends.
In another post, McMegan says that Krugman is lying because he said Paul Ryan asked the CBO to score his plan without taking into account his tax cuts. McMegan claims that Ryan wanted the CBO to score his revenue plan, but they said it was outside their jurisdiction, and the JCT was just too darned busy.
I always assume that Megan is either lying or just plain wrong, so I went to the CBO’s response to Ryan. On page 4:
“As specified by your staff” would seem to mean that both Ryan and McMegan are full of shit.
@Batocchio: You are assuming she has friends.
@Mark S.: Surprise surprise! MM2 doesn’t bother to check the facts.
And, yes, I will admit that part of the reason I’m so irate at MM2 and MoDo is because I hate when women show their asses in this particular way. It’s gender-based, I fully confess.
Then why devote a post to it, knowing full well it propagates some lame Tea Bagger meme that will push ACTUAL POLICY off the front page of other politcal rags.
Does she have a post up about the 120 rounds of golf John Boehner fits into his schedule every year?
She is a hack with an agenda and the constant circle jerks she gets from Sullivan, TNC, and the rest of the Atlantic crew are obscene.
I hope the editors of the Atlantic know that she has single-handedly done more to ruin their reputation than any writer in a long time.
Then again, the attention probably gets them links, and hey? who cares if you’re as scummy as Drudge when you get Drudge money?
I will assume you mean this in a figurative sense and not the literal one. Although I admit neither of their asses seem appealing to me. Of course I r biased in another direction.
The president, the person elected to run the country, taking non-stop vacations, is a bit different than one vacation by that person’s spouse and kids.
For example, if I had an employee that always called in sick, that would piss me off a lot more than anything his wife and kids did while he was at work doing his job.
@Yutsano: I do swing that way, and both of their asses are repulsive to me as well.
@Nylund: I think your last sentence sums it up. It’s all about the Benjamins (and the clicks), bay-beeee!
You know who else was busy in Spain before he tried to take over the world?
I thought I implied that… haha. I guess you could consider her glibertarian wedding pals.
BTW, Netroots Nation in Minneapolis next year…
kommrade reproductive vigor
Wait. Is this the same stupid hairbag who threw a tantrum about D.C.’s Landlord/Tenant laws when she was looking for a house to buy?
And was said tantrum based on the premise that D.C.’s laws give tenants too many rights?
And did this waste of skin get her big girl pants in a knot because tenants didn’t instantly bow and step aside when she showed up to look at a house?
I do believe it is.
Fuck Megan McCurdled with Grover Norquist’s dick.
Hey, that’s nothing! The New York Times thought this was such important news that they have TWO reporters on the story; one for New York and one for Madrid. The New York Times, the same newspaper where you will be hard pressed to find an article on the housing bubble that has tanked the economy has its priorities you know. This is their version of what the American people want to read about. Bashing Michele’s vacation = Easy. Reporting on the housing bubble that tanked the economy, not so easy because it might involve something called RESEARCH. Research does not fit into the 24 hour news cycle that news organizations (both on air and in print) want to entrap us in. It’s all for the headline grab or sensationalism of a story, never ever to seek out answers and solutions anymore.
Here’s the other thing which no one is mentioning: Michelle is the hardest working First Lady in a long, long, time. She has been out speaking to various departments, championing her anti Obesity Program, hosting events, meeting with the spouses of world leaders and a lot of other shit almost every day since they got into the White House. She also gave up her full time job when Obama started running and she ended up helping him run. Check out her webisite or her fan sites–the ones that publishe her outfits? They list her public activities on a daily basis. If anyone ever deserved a vacation its Michelle.
I haven’t been following the vacation, on account of its none of my business. But she and Obama seem to be people who actually had some friends before they became Prez and Mrs. Prez. I think its amazing and kind of nice that she can go away with some friends for a joint vacation. Its a different thing from having to invite them over for a few hours to the WH.
I do think that doing it, and doing it over Obama’s birthday, was politically risky in the current environment. But that’s like accusing the black guy who gets pulled over for DWB for making a mistake for being “too black while driving.” As #39 up above pointed out Obama was criticized by Cokie Roberts and the entire of the media for daring to go to his HOME STATE because it was exotic and elitist–but Rush Limbaugh has never been criticized for Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic.
If Michelle had spent (another) week doing good for the public with the kids (serving at a soup kitchen, speaking at a function, getting a single, sneak, dinner with her husband surrounded by paparazzi, going to the gulf to stare at the oil spill) she wouldn’t have had a vacation at all–and more than that it wouldn’t have had any political pay off. The far right, and its media enablers, will always attack her for being First Lady While Black. Either because she’s a poseur, ghetto trash, or an elitist. Take your pick. They just rotate through them.
What a waste of time, on both sides. I have no use for glibertarians like Megan McArdle; I’m a classic liberal who is sympathetic to left-libertarians and anarchism. Can we find more important things to get upset over ? I’ve noticed that lately, you all love picking on Megan but leave Glenn Reynolds mostly alone. Why is that? Because she writes longer pieces? He’s not any better than she is. I’ve said before – you all need to read MORE libertarian websites, and ones that are left-leaning or anarchistic-inclined at that.
This topic – where Michele O. goes on vacation – is one of those where you’re missing the forest for the trees. There’s too little freedom in this country for us to focus on such trifles right now. (and no, by “too little freedom” I do not mean “Keep the Bush tax cuts permanent”. Some libertarians have many other concerns than taxes.)
The First Lady is a PR machine whether she likes it or not. People pay attention to the policies she promotes, what she wears, where she travels, how she parents, etc.
If she and her staff had put together a tour of the U.S., finding nifty places in our own country that offer fun things to see and do in all price ranges, she would have enhanced tourism locally and globally (foreigners would learn about new places to visit in our country).
And, if Michelle had done that, it would have been worthy of articles and comments from business writers because every place she visited would have enjoyed a boom, maybe even a long term one.
I really like Michelle. But, I wasn’t too thrilled with her vacation choice. When the gap between the haves and have-nots is so vast, I think it’s kind of shitty to remind 95% of the population that they can’t take the same vacations. It’s not like she’s deprived of international travel in her role as First Lady.
Pointing out dishonesty and disingenuousness (disingenuity? crap, I dunno) is worthwhile. Pointing out dishonesty when it’s cleverly disguised is even better, and pointing out cleverly disguised dishonesty that occurs in a major online publication is a goddamn public service.
And yes, we can do this and pay attention to the destruction of the Fourth Amendment, the failed War On
Your NeighborDrugs, the militarization of police forces across the country, and the brutality of our prison-industrial complex. Some of us read BJ and Radley Balko.
FWIW, I happen to agree with you. The optics are sh!tty and it’s an unnecessary distraction. I ask myself, “Why?” on this one and don’t have a good answer.
I can hear the comments about eating cake now. In an election year where a brutally bad economy is THE issue, it is a puzzling move at best.
elmo, I see what you’re saying, and agree. It just seems that many writers in the big media love to bring up totally unimportant stuff to waste our energy on, and to distract us. I understand that their misplaced priorities and self-importance tend to make it more likely that they will print such crap, but sometimes it gets overwhelming…
@TomG: Glenn is weaselly and tells you that his “heh, indeedy” did not mean what you thought it meant. And he thought that view point from that idiot you had never heard of until he linked them was interesting for you to read and did not mean he agreed with it. That gets old.
DougJ: Nice title!
I don’t judge where people spend their vacations. Lots of people choose Las Vegas, for instance. That’s one hell hole I would prefer never to visit. Spain, on the other hand, is on the list of top 10 destinations I’ll probably never get to. I hear its really hot there this time of year, according to my niece who just returned from a school sponsored trip to Europe.
First of all, George W Bush (the President himself) spent a third of his entire Presidency on vacation. Michelle Obama (not even a President) took ONE (1) lousy trip. It is like comparing apples to cars.
And number two, the left (not the MSM) criticized Bush while now the MSM in addition to the right are criticizing Michelle Obama.
What, Maureen Dowd is still alive? Who knew?
Any reasonable textual analysis would conclude those columns have been kicked out by a ‘bot for some time now.
As for Megan…res ipsa loquitur.
You know, poor, poor DuggyPoo has had his satin-laced panties all in a wad ever since Mr Kain made his debut on the Juice. Penis envy, Little One?
On the “optics” issue? don’t think for a second that the WH didn’t know how it would look. They get called out no matter where they go. Whether its to a burger joint where there is french mustard, or maine, or grand canyon or the upcoming trip to the gulf coast – people will always have an issue with it and call it a politically bad move in a recession or oil spill or two wars or (add disaster here).
This vacation wasn’t a tone deaf move it was big fat fuck you to all the critics. ‘Let the people eat cake? no, Let the haters bite me’.
besides, why do we care what the conservative media is saying? isn’t the left always telling Obama not to give a crap about how they react?
@Cacti: Second this! McArdle won’t out right say it, but whether it is Michelle’s arms or her dress choice she hates Michelle Obama and she won’t admit why.
Well, it is a broader topic.
And that’s just it. She went to Spain and got criticized. Big deal.
Obama took vacation in Hawaii as a candidate and got criticized by Cokie Roberts.
The President and Michelle spent a weekend a New York and got criticized by the MSM and the right.
It literally does not matter what Barack Obama and Michele Obama does. They will get criticized for it.
@asiangrrlMN: Hell, the press would have found something to bitch about if Michelle had stayed home and declined a vacation. This is how our fine press establishment makes its money these days: conjuring up ever new criteria on which to throw a fauxrage.
fuck mcmegan and modo and all the village magpies — who themselves are about to depart for their summer vacays. does modo head to martha’s vineyard or the hamptons?:
I just read the comments over on MoDo’s article. There were 40 and in fine print it said no more comments are being accepted. Is this common practice for the NYT to cut off comments so early?
I also saw a lot of comments saying she could have vacationed in the US at some national park or some resort in the US. Where have these people been? THEY’VE DONE THAT AND STILL GOT CRITICIZED!!!
The Obama’s just don’t get it, as George Bush so admirably demonstrated presidential candidates must purchase a faux ranch. Then demonstrate their the superiority of Americans over flora by digging it up in front of cameras 4 times a year.
Once out of office they can sell the ranch and go drink martinis in suburbia.
We should not let this rest until Sasha has blisters on her fingers.
So who wants to guess what controversy will happen next week that will knock this nonsense off the front pages (or gossip pages)?
Well, *I’m* astonished at so many here who think the Obama’s public lifestyle doesn’t matter. It sure as hell does, because I’m way more left than most writers at this blog, and it ticks the bejeezus outa ME…
When Obama was still running for the nomination and had gotten that huge advance for his silly book, I wrote him off by calling him “The Two Million Dollar Man.” I should have stopped there but didn’t and eventually fell under the spell of thinking we could turn this damn thing around if he were at the helm.
The fall elections will be brutal. Not because of the glamorous vacations—when have I ever had one?—but they will increase turnout for the right. I haven’t read the McArdle piece, but Jesus, this does matter. Whether the elections themselves do is another issue entirely, of course.
Chad N Freude
Disclaimer: This is not a defense of McArdle, Dowd, Roberts, or the media coverage of the vacation as a political act. While it’s true that the FLOTUS’s vacation with family should not be covered outside the social sections of the media (except for Fox, which only has an anti-social section), I think it was a poor PR choice. Yes, it’s optics and not substance. Yes, anybody, including the President’s family, should go wherever they damn please for a vacation. And yes, maybe it was calculated as they’re-gonna-hate-on-us-no-matter-what-so-let’s-do-it-anyway move, but I think it would have been much better public relations if they had gone to some place in the US with a hurting tourist industry instead of another country and made a big deal out of that. (Of course, if they had gone to AZ, the left would be outraged.) This is just another shoe for the right to throw at the administration that they would not otherwise have had.
And I say this as a rabid Hispanophile who goes there as often as he can and who believes that everybody should visit Spain
at least onceas many times as possible before he/she dies.
Well, all I can say is: McArsehole by name, McArsehole by nature.
Awesome Doug, nice catch. But I still fail to understand why Erik has to defend her, or why he specifically must cater to your recent baiting. Hell, the first day Erik started writing here, you wrote this passive-aggressive “Gee I’m just curious why . . .” post where you asked Erik to defend something you disliked. No matter how many times you find something stupid from McArdle, I still don’t understand why Erik is supposed to be her keeper.
Isn’t that ED Kain’s role in life? To be the “acceptable” “conservative” who nonetheless rushes to defend his more obviously barbarous tribal colleagues?
@Allison W. #67: Preach it, sister! Great rant!
@TaosJohn #76: Do you not get that the Obamas’ “public lifestyle” is going to be spun and criticized regardless of what they do? If Michelle had gone to Chicago with the Prez, some MoDoMcMegsHeather would be doing a piece on how she’s so controlling she can’t even let him have a night off to chill with his friends.
And about the “glamorous vacations” (“when have I ever had one?”): sorry, but you just sound petty and envious.
Strangely, I never hear about the glamorous vacations being taken by taxpayer-bailed-out businessmen and their wives.
@Chad N Freude:
This is the attitude I don’t get. I love Spain. Everybody should visit Spain. Spain is beautiful and culturally wonderful. How dare Michelle Obama go to Spain!
This is the part that really is class warfare. I’m not rich enough to vacation in Spain so how dare anybody else be rich enough to do so!
Can anybody name anyplace off the top of their head where Laura Bush went on vacation other than Crawford?
@kwAwk: Not to mention, Spain’s a pretty cheap place to visit. Sure, there’s a Secret Service team to surround her, but I don’t recall any of these shitbags complaining about Nancy Reagan’s Versailles degree of excess. McAddled at the time was too busy leeching off her rich, well-connected, largely publicly funded daddy.
ahem, how much did Palin get as an advance for her book? Hillary? the Clenis? Shrub?
Then STFU about book advances.
Of course, they sorta already did that.
No credit. No credit at all.
I kind of feel like this like I did about the whole Kerry windsurfing thing. I thought, “Jeez, the guy likes to windsurf. Leave him the fuck alone.” (Oh, and anyone that says, “Well, it helped him lose,” please show polling data to that effect. Kthxbai.)
@Chad N Freude:
They did that. The Obamas went to Asheville NC in the spring. They went to my favorite Asheville restaurant, the barbecue place 12 Bones, and they went hiking in the mountains.
They were criticized for staging encounters with locals (by going places where there would be people), and because the Secret Service checked out anyone on the hiking trail who passed them and this was, I don’t know, like a police state?
There is nothing they could do that would be good public relations as far as the MSM is concerned.
Epistemic closure is surely the sign of a small mind.
@DarcyPennell: so they can only do it once? or there is no other non-Arizona depressed tourist area in the US?
Really, it won’t make any difference to most people, except low information, swing voters
Heaven forbid we curry favor with a major ally by visiting their beautiful country. When we ask Spain for a favor, this trip will help. Spain is very happy about the trip.
The media idiots also panned the weekend trip to Maine.
Michelle will continue to ignore them and do what she wants to do.
And this is the central point a lot of people are making. Simply for the sole fact that the Obamas exist and occupy the offices of POTUS and FLOTUS, anything they do in their personal lives will and can be interpreted as being elitist and anti-American. Every “suggestion” people have offered as an alternative is something the Obamas have already done and been criticized for! We’ve, literally, already played this game and seen the outcome. It’s the same eveytime.
All of the Chicken Littles concerned with the optics are just playing right into the right-wing noise machine’s game.
@Midnight Marauder: Indeed.
Jesus comes down from Heaven and praises the Obamas. The media headlines:
What is the First Lady supposed to do? Hunker down for the next 2 years, and look depressed and miserable because of the economy?
Listen up folks, I don’t care what anyone says, this is always about the black family in the White House and what they are, or, are not entitled to. Sorry! And I am sure they thought this through and knew how they would be critiqued, but I say these folks are millionaires, let them spend their money how they wish….and they work hard!
Damn if you do, damn if you don’t.
I DO give Michelle credit for visiting the National Parks. But, that’s different from visiting places and establishments off the beaten path.
Since 2007, our family hasn’t had the money to take glamorous vacations. But, that has only made us more creative and more amenable to finding cool places closer to our home. I’ve learned more about my home state in the past 3 years than I did in my entire life.
My point is that even the most beige states have characters and culture and charisma in pockets. And, if Michelle stayed within a 50-mile radius of these places, it would bolster tourism and optimism (if Michelle thinks it’s cool, it must be cool).
Of course, she should be able to travel wherever she wants, but it would mean soooo much to so many if she traveled within the U.S., especially if she’s traveling with an entourage. That’s different than a family weekend here and there in the U.S.