Michelle Obama Drives Magazine Covers

From the way conservatives (in particular) are talking about Michelle and Sasha Obama’s trip to Spain, you’d think the menu during their lunch with Spain’s royal family was something like:

Calamari & octopus sauteed with pink slips

Foreclosure notes and arugula garnished with Spanish olives

Chocolate hazelnut sorbet made with the fresh tears of American taxpayers and lightly sprinkled with edible gold dust and tiny pieces of the U.S. Constitution

The Thursday New York Daily News headline said, “Material girl Michelle Obama is a modern-day Marie Antoinette on a glitzy Spanish vacation.” People are freaking out about the cost of the trip. Did it ever occur to any of these people that this trip may have been more work than pleasure? Spain is an important military ally that once provided significant troops for the war in Iraq and a nation that is reeling from an economic crisis nearly as serious as Greece’s but without the riots.

Actually some of the blame for this lies with the White House which once again has mis-read the American people’s need for information. Why not just tell people that Michelle Obama was on a goodwill mission to meet the people of Spain and was taking Sasha with her? Perhaps there might have even been a more serious reason for her trip — we don’t need to know all that.

I know the White House is afraid of Michelle Obama. She’s hugely popular now & a great asset — but only because the former hospital executive administrator stopped talking about serious issues during the campaign and started talking about being a wife and mother. America suddenly got really interested in her amazingly toned arms and her penchant for putting stylish outfits together from J.Crew, Target and Black Market | White House.

It’s definitely a fine line that she’s forced to walk. She can sell lots of magazines — among younger and diverse audiences, though – not older, whiter ones. Still — the American people are just not that stupid. We know that there must be a reason for Michelle Obama to miss her husband’s birthday (she’s working) or no reason (I’m kickin’ it in Spain with my homegirls, bitchez! Let them eat cake!!!). For future reference, East Wing — give us a reason. Any reason, really, will do.

Politics Daily strikes the right tone, I think with a strong defense and some good, subtle advice for a First Lady (becuz she’s black) will be under higher scrutiny than those before her:

From Spain, Mrs. Obama did keep tabs on the Senate’s passage of child nutrition legislation. On Thursday night, the East Wing told me, she called four senators who played a role in passing a bill that is central to her signature issue of reducing child obesity: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.); Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

I don’t think anyone is begrudging Mrs. Obama vacations or sharing with her kids and pals some incredible opportunities she has from her unique perch to see the world. Some of this just has to do with the scale of a trip without some official substance.

While former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled with Chelsea and former first lady Laura Bush took Barbara and Jenna with her on trips, the overseas travel was in connection with “official” business that was more than lunch with royalty at their summer palace. And it’s not like Mrs. Obama is lacking a diplomatic agenda. Her April visit to Mexico City was the kick off of her “international agenda” with a focus on developing youth leadership.

Mrs. Bush’s true personal trips were hiking vacations in national parks with female pals.

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