Michelle Obama is a woman of her word. In July, she made a drive-by through the Gulf coast region and urged people to "do a few things [to] help this community." Emphasis on the word “few.” She even recorded an ad inviting Americans to “come on down” to the Gulf as she herself then headed back to Washington to collect her family to head to a holiday in a national park in Maine. At least Maine is in America.
With her recent holiday junket to Spain, she has now officially spit in the eye of Gulf coast residents. Rather than vacation in the spill-ravaged region, her family headed overseas. Does Spain's economy need stimulating? Perhaps so.
On vacation now, the Obamas will execute another 24 hours on the ground drive-by in the Gulf coast before heading to Martha's Vineyard for 10 days. What gives? Why encourage Americans to stand by Gulf coast residents in solidarity and with vacation spending while you fail to do so yourself? In a word, hypocrisy. Like the chain-smoking parent telling the child, “Do as I say not as I do.” This lack of integrity may pass for average parenting, but it makes for extraordinarily poor leadership as a national icon.
In fact, Michelle Obama's vacation to Spain raises all kinds of questions about judgment and leadership. I begrudge no one a vacation. The Obamas live under a microscope, and the office demands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Feel free to vacation as often as you like. The requirements of the office will follow you. But use a little prudence in deciding how and when to vacation. Thus far, prudence is lacking in this White House couple, and hypocrisy abounds.
Her visit to Spain was wrong on at least five levels. Most obviously, why spend millions of tax-payer dollars (or borrowed Chinese yen to be exact) to provide Secret Service accommodations, personal transportation, and other expenses in someone else's economy? Far better to choose a lovely American location and set the example of stimulating the American economy in your own personal way.
Second, as mentioned above, the stunning lack of Obama vacation time and money invested in the Gulf coast region leads to the obvious conclusion that the Obamas see themselves as different from the Americans they were elected to lead. “We'd like YOU to vacation in the Gulf and help these poor people. Meanwhile, WE will be in Spain. Please write us. We'd love to hear how it is going down there.”