Michelle Obama vacation: Will critics slam this trip too? (+video)
Michelle Obama's vacation plans this summer reportedly may include a lengthy stay with Sasha and Malia on tony Martha's Vineyard. That's in addition to accompanying her husband overseas.
Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia are looking at an extended vacation on Martha’s Vineyard this summer, according to a report in The Boston Globe. The Globe might have something here – it’s almost a local Vineyard paper, after all.Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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According to The Globe the first couple is looking at a house near Farm Neck, in Oak Bluffs, which they’ve visited in the past. The particular house they’ve stayed in previously, Blue Heron Farm, “Up Island” in Chilmark, has since been sold. So that piece of real estate is probably out.
President Obama has a lot going on, what with defending against Benghazi inquisitions and the IRS's targeting of conservative groups and other flaps, so it’s not as if he’s going to be biking the Vineyard’s idyllic paths all summer. He may come up for weekends and an extended period of time in August.
If Michelle and the kids do opt for a lengthy Vineyard stay it could become fodder for critics. First family vacations are a fraught issue, as it’s easy to portray them as insensitive in some manner. The Vineyard is an expensive and exclusive area (as well as kind of Democratic – didn’t the Clintons go there?) so it’s likely that at some point some talk radio host will go after this plan as demeaning to US workers still suffering in a slowly recovering economy.
And Michelle will go along with Barack when the president makes a swing through Africa later in the summer. There’s no word yet on whether Sasha and Malia will go there, too.
In the past conservative groups have cried “foul” over Mrs. Obama’s presence on such trips, saying that while the first couple may pay for some of the expenses, it still costs the taxpayers money for her security detail and associated stuff. The group Judicial Watch even filed a suit with the US Air Force last year, seeking records from Mrs. Obama’s trip to Spain in 2010.
For the Obamas the reality is that the White House is a gilded cage. Like virtually all residents of the US executive mansion before them they long to escape it for a semblance of normality, preferably somewhere with a climate superior to that of steamy Washington, D.C.
As a wealthy couple they can afford a Vineyard rental. Having been there before, they’ve perhaps decided it both meets their recreating needs and can be played down as a place where they’ve been before.