Does the FLOTUS Actually Have a Job?

Summer of 2011.  Gas prices are high.  Unemployment is at record levels.  Consumer confidence is low and the threat of inflation is just around the corner.  While millions of regular folks are battling their own economic problems, cancelling vacation plans and unable to get away even for a weekend, it was comforting to learn that the First Lady, Michelle Obama, is able to take a vacation to Africa with her two daughters, her mother, and her niece and nephew, along her entourage.  Oops, sorry, it’s not a vacation but an “official visit” – in other words, we’re footing the bill.

Her visit is intended “to improve relations between the U.S. and Africa and promote youth engagement, education, health and wellness.”  Well, first of all, who died, and left her boss?  We didn’t elect her.  When did she become a diplomat?

Improvement of relations between countries?  Isn’t that the job of the State Department and the numerous ambassadors that are given cushy jobs for raising lots of money for the sitting President?

Mrs. Obama’s trip is being touted as one aimed at inspiring African youth.  Why is Mrs. Obama so concerned about Africa youth when we’ve got serious problems at home with our own young people?  Why isn’t she traveling around the United States this summer and talking to American children and encouraging them to stay in school.  According to a 2009 report by the Alliance for Excellent Education, seven thousand students drop out of school every day in this country.

Maybe it’s because it’s more fun to visit Africa with your mother, daughters, niece and nephew or maybe it’s because when the family sat around the kitchen table and voted on where to go on vacation this year, no one wanted to travel to Baton Rouge, Fresno, Chattanooga, or any of the other cities on the list of the ten worst dropout rate cities in the U.S.?

To be non-partisan here, former First Lady, Laura Bush, also went to Africa on an “official visit” to raise AIDS awareness and prevention.  Wasn’t it enough for us to send hundreds of millions of dollars to Africa for HIV/AIDS?  Can anyone provide me proof that one person who met Mrs. Bush actually stopped having unprotected sex?  To be realistic here, I wonder if she had traveled around the U.S. instead, would it have made any difference in the 55,000 new reported cases every year, an increase of 10% from a decade ago.  Maybe she just should’ve stayed home.

It seems that First Ladies have to have a pet project to occupy their time.   Some First Ladies stayed closer to home.  Jackie Kennedy spent time working on the restoration of the White House and Lady Bird Johnson was interested in the Civil Rights Act and making Washington D.C. more beautiful.

Pat Nixon visited 39 of our 50 states and held the record as the most-traveled First Lady, before Hillary Clinton, visiting about 80 countries.  I must say her journeys are most impressive and, yes, it appears that her visits were inspiring and encouraging to those folks living in disaster-hit areas.

Betty Ford was an activist for the legalization of abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment and Rosalynn Carter traveled to Latin America and Thailand as an emissary for her husband.  Nancy Reagan’s main focus was her “Just Say No” drug awareness campaign and Barbara Bush’s was literacy.

Hillary Clinton, of course, traveled the most extensively, not so much on behalf of her husband, but in an attempt to ready herself for her own bid for the White House.

It seems to me that a First Lady just can’t be a First Lady.  She has to “do” something.  If it were me, having worked all my life, I’d be very happy to kick back, relax, dress up every now and then and be thrilled that someone else is cooking my meals.  But, hey, that’s just me.

I’m tempted to raise the ire of feminists everywhere by saying that First Ladies should just stay in the kitchen where they belong, but, in Michelle’s case, she’d continue with her other campaign of telling all of us what we should and shouldn’t eat.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • chief98110

    Come on this is BS. How much is this really going to help anyone except the lab that develops their vacation photos. Oh wait, that would be us taxed payers. Think they will send us copies? Maybe a postcard? No, will just get the bill. What a terrific deal, I wish I could do the same but I’ve got to get to sleep so I can wake up early and get to work; so I can pay my taxes and not get in trouble with the IRS for not sending in my quarterly estimates. Good Night

  • Ron

    Jackie Kennedy’s trip to Latin America was credited with being an important factor in the success of President Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress program which was to contain Communism and reverse the progress of Communism in the Western Hemisphere. For the most part, I have thought most first ladies have represented the United States well and I do not have a problem with each of them having a pet project. It does not bother me that Michelle Obama is working to change the dietary habits of children. She has not official status and can only change things by the power of persuasion. In addition, her program to assist military families appears to be a worthwhile project. As for the visits to other countries, I don’t think there is a method to measure the success of a first lady’s trip. There is no way that we can prove that Laura Bush stopped one person from having unprotected sex. On the other hand, I am fairly certain that she raised awareness of the problem.

  • Roger Ward

    I’d like to know what this trip is going to cost me and other American taxpayers. With the costs of housing, jets, security, etc. I have no doubt that we will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars so that Mrs, Obama can enjoy a vacation with her relatives. She was never elected by us and we never approved the costs associated with such a trip. It’s too much to hope that this trip will be investigated by Congress and the cost billed to the Obamas.

    By the way, although I am opposed to the Obamas in general, I’m also opposed to any unelected representative billing the American taxpayers for pursuing their own hobbies and interests. Whether it’s Nancy Reagan or Barbara Bush or any of the other presidential wives, they have no business racking up such costs to the taxpayer. We never elected them or authorized these expenditures.

    I guess you could make the case that a Presidential wife was of some slight value when visiting the site of a tragedy in this country, in that she would serve as an example of the government’s caring …. but a trip to Africa with your relatives? The imperal presidency becomes even more imperial and removed from its true mission — taking care of the American people (and not wasting our money.)

  • Sunny

    Leona….to answer your question why she’s so concerned about African youth. One of the rules of the “Black Value System” of the Trinity United Church of Christ (which the Obamas attended for 20 years) is a “non-negotiable committment to Africa.” When the Reverand Wright issue first came up, I actually saw that rule written on the church’s website. Interestingly enough, after all the fuss, the rule soon disappeared from the value system. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Michelle is acting on that committment to Africa (as opposed to America).

  • http://torii judith

    time would be better spent caring for the disenfranchised youth in the inner cities seeking employment and could well benefit from the Obama family regarding Youth Leadership. It seems frivilous for Michelle with kids, mother, relatives to enjoy an African Safari as their vacation trip but pass the cost on to the taxpayer because she can justify meeting with Mandela. Most taxpayers cannot afford to take their kids anywhere and she again is flaunting her travels with her family on our dime.

  • J.L.T.

    Leona, Its all about fundamental transformation, > Transforming your tax dollars into another extravagant vacation for Obozo’s sweetie and partner in universal collectivism. Universal Messiahs can’t be burdened with the mundane duties of traditional fundamentals like taking care of business in their own back yard.

  • Shirl

    I betcha if the FLOTUS had to pay for her trips, there would be less travel but hey maybe it is a good thing for her to stay out of the country and stop trying to dictate to Americans on how to live their lives. But hey, Nancy Reagan was right on about drugs. Just say no is really the only answer!