The first lady of the United States is on a whirlwind publicity tour for her hefty new food and gardening book ($30), which the White House hopes will bolster Team Obama’s favorability ratings. I’d say it’s a classic recipe for rank campaign hypocrisy and media double standards.
While journalists savor chummy chitchats with Mrs. Obama about beets and Beyonce, FLOTUS is once again escaping hard questions about her cronyism, junk science and generous junkets at taxpayer expense.
Mrs. Obama’s 2012 campaign media blitz has already brought her to daytime airwaves (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”), prime-time reality TV (“The Biggest Loser”) and children’s programming (“iCarly”). This week, she’s hitting up “Good Morning America,” “The View,” Rachael Ray’s cooking show, “LIVE! with Kelly (Ripa)” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Out: Let’s Move! In: Let’s Move … in front of the TV cameras!
My prediction? As soon as the fawning media frenzy dies down and Mrs. Obama’s book rises to the top of The New York Times best-seller list, POTUS will go back to claiming that FLOTUS is a “private citizen” who should be left alone. The Obamas’ Chicago strategists have long enjoyed invoking selective immunity for the first lady without challenge. Lapdog reporters have assisted in creating an impenetrable bubble of political protection around the profligate, policy-meddling first lady.
We’ve seen it before.
When conservatives challenged Mrs. O’s caustic 2008 campaign trail statements disparaging America and fear-mongering for votes, her hubby invoked the “civilian” shield. He threatened Republicans to “lay off his wife,” arguing that political spouses should not be subject to public scrutiny because they didn’t choose public life.
When Mrs. O’s lavish vacation in Spain — accompanied by an entourage of 70 Secret Service agents and 250 Spanish law enforcement officers — provoked a massive public backlash in 2010, then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs argued that the first lady was a “private citizen” who should be off-limits to tough questions about her behavior.
Obama’s outspoken bitter half conscientiously and deliberately inserted herself into the public square long before the family moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — whether it was organizing a Woods Fund panel with her husband and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, taking a publicly subsidized government job with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, or parlaying her relationship with political mentor Valerie Jarrett into a cushy public job at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she oversaw a patient-dumping scheme that benefited her political cronies.