I always find it amusing when Americans look down their noses at the English royals, as so many did on the occasion of Prince William’s recent marriage to Kate Middleton.
We Yanks can trumpet our democratic ways all we like, but at the end of the day it’s all so much idle chatter. We have our own form of royalty, but unlike England’s, where the lineage goes back centuries and where they usually know how to carry it of with some dignity and panache, we’re stuck with brain-addled actors, brain-fried rock stars, felonious athletes and the Obamas.
Consider, for instance, that in 2008, the federal fleet of limousines numbered 238. At last count, there were 412. I assume even Bo, the first dog, has his own limo to ferry him to the vet and the groomer.
Or, better yet, consider that every time Obama takes the family on vacation to Hawaii or jets off to give a pep talk at campaign fund-raisers, Air Force One’s meter is clicking away at about $1,200-a-minute or $70,000-an-hour, and that’s just for fuel and doesn’t include crew, staff or snacks. Not even a New York taxi costs that much.
Still, even knowing all that, I was taken aback when I read that Obama arrived in London for the G-20 summit with a staff of 500, including the White House chef, six doctors and four speech writers, but not counting 200 Secret Service agents. He also brought along 35 vehicles — not one of them a Volt! — and a dozen Teleprompters.
It is possible that some misguided liberal will defend the Obamas for their profligate ways by saying that other presidents traveled with equally large entourages or that they, too, hosted equally extravagant parties at the White House. But the questions would then be: Were they holding office when unemployment was over 9%, when foreclosures were dumping record numbers of Americans on the street, when energy prices were skyrocketing, when 47% of Americans were getting food stamps, and when the soundest fiscal advice the president had come up with was to walk to the supermarket and keep our tires inflated.
The enemies of Marie Antoinette saw to it that she went down in historical infamy by claiming that when she heard that the French peasants were starving, suggested, “Let them eat cake.” Maybe she said it, maybe she didn’t. What the quote implies is that she held the people she rode past in her royal carriage with absolute contempt. It would be the exact contempt that Hollywood celebrities and New York elitists feel about those they fly over.
It’s the very same contempt Obama voiced when he told an audience of San Francisco millionaires that the folks in the South and the Midwest cling to their guns and their religion. It’s the same contempt shared by the Obamas when they wine and dine the likes of Paul McCartney, Tom Hanks, Common and Elton John, at the White House. Personally, I’d rather see these left-wing snobs eat crow, but let it be steak or squab, just so long as it’s not on our dime.
Waiting for January, 2013, to roll around makes me feel like a kid counting off the days until Christmas. I just can’t wait for the Obamas to join Nancy Pelosi in that horrible universe where, like mere mortals, they have to fly commercial.