Keeping Up With The Obamas
September 5, 2012 by John Myers
President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney have been trotting out their wives, hoping the women will swing votes to them in the upcoming election. For almost four years, we have had to hear the media idiots report on how Michelle Obama grows a fresh garden on the grounds of the White House and how determined she is to see that our children eat healthier food. Not to be outdone, the Romney campaign has recently repeated ad nauseam that Ann Romney does the family’s laundry.
All of it is nonsense, and it leaves voters less informed about either candidate’s plans to revive the American economy. It also needs to be noted that some great first ladies have been married to terrible Presidents. (Rosalynn Carter comes to mind.)
It is more idiocy pressed upon us by media executives whose cash-cow programs are patterned after the likes of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
It used to be that becoming a celebrity was a by-product of talent. Today, people like Paris Hilton and the Kardashians are celebrated and financially rewarded simply because they turned themselves into celebrities through living an extravagant lifestyle. On that score, may we please add the first lady?
Recently, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas said she celebrated her gold medal by enjoying a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin.
Seated next to her was Obama, who preaches endlessly about healthy diets for our Nation’s young people. Obama told Douglas, “You’re setting me back, Gabby.” She declared that Americans should never be encouraged to eat Egg McMuffins.
BayouBuzz.com noted: “Michelle Obama needs to stop lecturing Americans on what they eat and start focusing on her own diet. In case anyone did not notice, she doesn’t exactly possess a model like figure.”
However, it is true that the first lady has the wardrobe of a rich supermodel. At an Olympics reception for heads of state at Buckingham Palace, Obama was sporting a J Mendel cap-sleeve jacket that reportedly costs $6,800. The jacket is from the designer’s 2013 collection but is not yet available to the public. That means that even the Kardashian gals are simply going to have to wait.
There is plenty more that is disparate between Obama’s recollection of her poor family roots and the lifestyle she is living. Last summer, while bicycling near Martha’s Vineyard (the furthest thing from a discount vacation), Obama was photographed wearing a $156 T-shirt. The good news is she got it on sale from its original $200 price. I didn’t even know they made $200 T-shirts, but it turns out that Ann Romney won’t be outdone and has a $900 shirt.
Still the first lady is sticking to her story that she lives an ordinary life with the exception that she works out at 4:30 each morning. No comment from her on whether she trains in the $540 Paris house Lanvin sneakers she was seen wearing in 2009 at a Washington-area food bank.
And while President Barack Obama may be every bit as ineffective of a leader as former President Jimmy Carter, he certainly doesn’t live the spartan lifestyle of Carter, who bought his suits off the rack. While the Obamas play it poor, they are very much part of the wealthy 1 percent.
Jodi Kantor, in her book The Obamas, writes:
Even the president made uncomfortable jokes about why his wife needed so many new things. Behind the scenes, aides said, the Obamas were concerned about money: the president’s books could only sell so many copies, and it would be years until he could write more and the first lady could write her own. From vacation rental homes big enough to accommodate the Secret Service to all the personal entertaining they did at the White House, their lifestyle had grown fearsomely expensive.
Kantor, who began covering the Obamas for The New York Times in 2007, based her book on multiple interviews with 33 White House staffers.
National Review Online offers proof of how atypical the Obamas are:
President and Michelle Obama’s combined adjusted gross income in 2009: $5,505,409.
President and Michelle Obama’s combined income in 2010: $1,728,096.
President and Michelle Obama’s combined income in 2011: $789,674.
The Obamas’ combined adjusted gross income for 2008, their last year before moving into the White House, was $2,656,902.
The Millionaire Versus The Billionaire
A lot has been made out of GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s vast wealth and the rich-and-famous lifestyle he and his wife enjoy. Although Romney may not be worth $1 billion (at least not yet), we must assume he has a net worth in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet it turns out that the Obamas are millionaires and will be worth a lot more after he leaves office (hopefully, sooner rather than later).
The problem for America with either Obama or Romney is that there is a disconnect between people with that kind of wealth and ordinary Americans who are still struggling to get out of a four-year recession — a downturn that could still turn into a depression.
Years ago, I was reading about the collapse of the Soviet Union. The writer said that for decades the members of the Soviet Politburo lived far from the poverty that had infested Moscow. They came to Red Square each day from their isolated villas in limousines whose windows were so darkly tinted they couldn’t even see the conditions that the people faced.
America will elect a President in two months. The Presidential candidates, along with the increasingly wealthy members of Congress, are ignorant of the growing economic burdens faced by Americans. (Forty-seven percent of Congress — 249 current members — are millionaires, according to a November 2011 study by the Center for Responsive Politics.)
This is the sort of isolation that contributed to the implosion of the Soviet Union. It is not incomprehensible that this could happen to America.
Yours in good times and bad,
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report