Here's First Lady Michelle Obama headed for the motorcade while deplaning from Air Force Two after arriving in Spain with her daughter Sasha. The private visit with 40 of her closest friends has required 60 rooms in a five star luxury hotel.
Andrea Tantaros writing in the New York Daily News finds the imagery of this ostentatious Obama visit, let alone the cost to U.S. taxpayers for transportation and security, a bit out of place with the times, especially considering President Obama's repeated calls for the American people to accept sacrifice:
Sacrifice is something that many Americans are becoming all too familiar with during this economic downturn. It was a key theme in President Obama's inaugural address to the nation, and he's referenced it numerous times when lecturing the country on how to get back on its feet.
But while most of the country is pinching pennies and downsizing summer sojourns - or forgoing them altogether - the Obamas don't seem to be heeding their own advice. While many of us are struggling, the First Lady is spending the next few days in a five-star hotel on the chic Costa del Sol in southern Spain with 40 of her "closest friends." According to CNN, the group is expected to occupy 60 to 70 rooms, more than a third of the lodgings at the 160-room resort. Not exactly what one would call cutting back in troubled times.
Reports are calling the lodgings of Obama's Spanish fiesta, the Hotel Villa Padierna in Marbella, "luxurious," "posh" and "a millionaires' playground." Estimated room rate per night? Up to a staggering $2,500. Method of transportation? Air Force Two.
To be clear, what the Obamas do with their money is one thing; what they do with ours is another. Transporting and housing the estimated 70 Secret Service agents who will flank the material girl will cost the taxpayers a pretty penny.
The Obama modus operandi is becoming clear. From lavish trips to Spain to reportedly flying Bo, the President's Portuguese water dog, on a separate aircraft to vacation with them in Maine, to a date night in New York City that perhaps cost nearly $100,000, their idea of austerity is really just the lap of luxury, at least for ordinary folks.
For a couple that has sharply criticized former President George W. Bush so widely, they could stand to follow his example for once and select a more low-key locale, as Bush regularly did in his Texas vacations.
Instead, Michelle Obama seems more like a modern-day Marie Antoinette - the French queen who spent extravagantly on clothes and jewels without a thought for her subjects' plight - than an average mother of two.
In January, President Obama insisted that "everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good. Everybody is going to have to give. Everybody is going to have to have some skin in the game."
If sacrifice is the precursor to change, what will the family that ran on change offer up? Elitist doublespeak won't cut it.
No doubt Michelle prefers Spain where she gets Royal treatment as opposed to the U.S. where her motorcade and phalanx of secret service protection would be viewed as ostentatious and an inconvenience at any of the perfectly suitable five star resorts in this country!