Michelle Obama was stylin' in her $540 French sneakers during a volunteering photo-op at a Washington, D.C., food bank this week. Her suede and patent trainers from the house of Lanvin are apparently all the rage among the celebrity set. Who knew there were sneakers out there that cost as much as many Americans' monthly rent?
Don't misunderstand: I don't begrudge the first lady her fashion options. But I do begrudge the Obamas for their double standards when it comes to the flaunting of wealth -- and the earning of it.
Obama's supporters at the liberal Huffington Post website devoted an entire slideshow to John McCain's $520 Ferragamo loafers. CNN piled on with a feature on McCain's "well-heeled campaign." The "report" contrasted McCain's Italian footwear with Obama's "average guy" shoes.
Will they show the same indignation toward the first lady?
During the campaign season, President Obama sneered at McCain's houses. "John McCain has seven homes. There's just a fundamental gap of understanding between John McCain's world and what people are going through every single day here in America," Barack the Ordinary Guy scoffed. "You don't have to be a Nobel Prize-laureate economist, you just have to have a little bit of a sense of what ordinary people are going through to understand that we can't afford eight more years or four more years or one more year of the failed economic policies that George Bush has put in place."
Let's put aside the fact that many of the same Wall Street moneymen that engineered the corporate bailouts are now in charge of steering the same big government policies that Bush put in place.
And let's put aside the fact that Clinton crony turned congressman turned investment guru turned Obama crony and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, no average Joe, made millions profiting off the corporate/government revolving door -- including an easy $320,000 from mortgage giant Freddie Mac simply for phoning it in over a 14-month period.
And let's put aside the fact that top White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers received about $5.2 million over the past year in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw, and also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from major financial institutions.
The Obamas have devoted much of their public lives to reviling others who elect to make money in the private marketplace. Mrs. Obama bragged during the campaign: "We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we're asking young people to do," she tells the women. "Don't go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we're encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the moneymaking industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond."
"Don't go into corporate America"? Easy for you to say, sister. Mrs. O parlayed her brief stint as a corporate attorney into a cascading series of ever more lucrative positions and promotions in the "helping industry." She has made much of her "sacrifice." But her feet don't seem to be suffering one bit.