At least when it came to what name he would use when he was sworn in, Obama declared he was all for tradition:
“I think the tradition is that they use all three names, and I will follow the tradition, not trying to make a statement one way or the other. I'll do what everybody else does.”Funny how when anyone used his middle name, (for all you ignorant Obamatons: his middle name is Hussein) the Dems said it was a smear. But that's not the point here.
The point is that Obama declares he supports the traditions of the swearing in ceremony (even though President Reagan did not use his middle name Wilson) but what about so many other fine traditions of the office?
For instance, last week liberals sniffed that the Bush's had dissed Obama by denying his request to move into Blair House, the President's guest house, ten days early. The tradition is that the incoming first family occupies the residence in the five days before the new president is inaugurated. What would the Obamatons think if Bush asked for two more weeks to move out of the White House?
But now, another chip at the traditions of office and this time the suggestion is coming from the "news" media: pay Michelle Obama a salary for her work as First Lady?
NBC News, otherwise known as the Obama Channel, picked up the story and is planning a major report on the subject for their Nightly News program. They even have a poll question linked to the Politico story: Should the first lady be financially compensated? Vote here.
For first lady, free work but no free time
By ANDIE COLLER
December 9, 2008
...While the position carries no official duties, the president’s spouse has long been expected to serve as a highly visible goodwill ambassador for the nation, performing a wide range of ceremonial and quasi-diplomatic jobs. The work involved is not insubstantial: Although Hillary Rodham Clinton was accused during her presidential campaign of having inflated her policy efforts as first lady, she wasn’t just at home baking cookies, either.
Her 11,000-page schedule implies a fair amount of time and energy put in on behalf of her husband and the country.
Yet because they are presidential spouses, first ladies are expected to volunteer their assistance. So on Jan. 20, Michelle Obama will go from being a high-profile, highly compensated professional to serving as her husband’s full-time, unpaid ... helpmeet? Resuming her previous work for the University of Chicago Hospitals would be difficult in her husband’s conflict-averse regime. But giving up her paycheck and re-envisioning herself in the role of hostess in chief will undoubtedly be an adjustment for the Harvard Law grad.
Without Barack Obama’s books, the Obamas’ 2006 tax returns show that Michelle Obama would have been the hands-down breadwinner in the household, bringing home $316,000, or nearly double Barack Obama’s Senate salary of $165,000. While Laura Bush, a former librarian, had not been employed for quite some time before she became first lady, Hillary Clinton also had the more lucrative job before her husband became president: In 1990, her income from the Rose Law Firm was more than $100,000; her husband’s salary as governor of Arkansas was $35,000, plus a public relations appropriation of $19,000.
One of the commenters on that poll reminds us that the wives of our troops serving overseas sacrifice far more for their country and their family than any First Lady and they are not compensated.
As Jim Geraghty at National Review points out, there is nothing to stop Obama from cutting his wife in on the $400,000 annual salary he'll be bringing home. But considering all the perks of office, it's not likely that Michelle will need much spending money for anything other than clothes and shoes.