If Not for Double Standards… The $100 MILLION Family Vacation
by Mark Alexander
“We have heard of the impious doctrine in the Old World, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the New, in another shape…? –James Madison (1788)
Their let-’em-eat-cake lifestyle is even more contemptible, however, when one considers that it comes at the expense of those whom they purport to represent.
For all the references to “fat cats,” it turns out the fattest cats of all now occupy the White House, and much like their record accumulation of national debt, their unmitigated arrogance and bloated hypocrisy exceeds all that of previous executive administrations combined.
Perhaps there are no better cases in point than the Obamas’ exotic resort vacations and golf junkets whilst the rest of the nation exercises austerity measures necessitated by the regime’s failed economic policies.
This week, Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha hitched a ride on Air Force One to the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland. Then MO requisitioned Air Force Two so that she and her entourage could spend two days touring Dublin and the surrounding area. Once there, MO, her 11- and 14-year-old kids, and 30 members of her retinue set up shop in the lavish 5-star Shelbourne Hotel, where she booked the $3,300-per-night Princess Grace Suite.
By day, they hobnobbed with glitterati, lunching over Dalkey Lobster and Crab Salad or Road Rack of Wicklow Spring Lamb with such notables as U2 singer Bono. By night they were treated to royal boxes at theater performances such as “Riverdance,” where Michelle told an adoring crowd, “It is good to be home.”
Conde Nast, leftist travel magazine of the rich and famous, devoted a special section under “Bigwig Vacations,” to Michelle’s travel plans, noting, “It looks like she has taken a leaf or two from our ‘Iconic Irish Itinerary.’” The Huffington Post Style pages opined under the heading, “Michelle Obama’s Ireland Trip Wardrobe Is Making Us Jealous,” then gushed about her “awesome printed Lela Rose vest, an on-trend Burberry trench coat and a covetable utility jacket.”
Isn’t that special.
Michelle’s two-day $5.2 million side trip, however, was a mere slum tour compared to the Obamas’ next taxpayer funded junket — a “heritage tour” of three nations in southern Africa the week of June 26 to July 3, with an estimated cost between $80 and $100 million.
Beyond the five-star accommodations, this Africa tour will put an enormous burden on the Air Force. In addition to the already-huge operational cost of Air Force One, USAF cargo planes will airlift 14 limousines and 42 support vehicles, including three trucks with sheets of ballistic glass for the royal family’s hotel windows. Helicopters will be ferried in along with the largest Secret Service team and support network ever. The entire trip with be under 24-hour cover of Air Force fighter jets, and a large Navy presence will be maintained off the east coast of Africa in case of any security or medical emergencies.
Calculating the total cost of the Africa trip is difficult, because so many security expenses are classified. I am quite certain, however, one half of one percent of that budget would have secured our embassy in Benghazi! The $100 million estimate came from the Washington Post after they obtained a confidential expense report covering most of the trip costs except security. When the WashPo questioned Obama about the added cost of one excursion, an exotic Tanzanian safari, the White House canceled it. Seems that would have just been over the top…
According to Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy adviser for strategic communications, “The infrastructure that accompanies the president’s travels is beyond our control.” (Yes, that’s the same Ben Rhodes who’s “credited” with the White House Benghazi rewrites, and the same Ben Rhodes whose brother David is the president of CBS News.) However, canceling exorbitantly expensive vacations is completely within Obama’s control.
For the record, presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also made trips to Africa at enormous cost to taxpayers and military budgets, but not at the same time they were blaming what Obama calls “the Republican Sequester” for across-the-board cuts to government agencies, with the deepest cuts of all hitting our nation’s military budgets. (Ironically, national defense is one of the few federal expenses that is actually authorized by the Rule of Law enshrined in our Constitution.)
Also for the record, neither Clinton nor Bush devoted reams of classist rhetoric condemning corporate depreciation of private aircraft all while commuting in the world’s most expensive taxpayer-funded exec jet. On a political junket a few months ago, Obama said, “What we don’t want to do is give somebody who’s buying a corporate jet an extra tax break that ordinary people can’t get because they don’t need it. … They don’t need an extra tax break, especially at a time when we’re trying to reduce the deficit. Something’s got to give.”
Only an archetypal case study of Narcissistic Personality Disorder would commute on Air Force One to Kansas for a socialist stump speech, at a cost to taxpayers of $181,757 per flight-hour, not including the enormous cost of support personnel, facilities, and additional support aircraft, and lecture laid-off aircraft workers about why private-sector companies shouldn’t receive the same write-off for an aircraft that they do for other business equipment.
Need I also mention the enormous cost to states and local government treasuries, and the significant inconvenience to other air travelers and local commuters every time Obama comes to town for a fundraiser?
Writing about the opulence of this administration in “Presidential Perks Gone Royal,” author Robert Keith Gray notes that $1.4 billion in taxpayer funds was spent on the Obamas last year, including “the biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever” and Air Force One “running with the frequency of a scheduled air line.”
Not only does Obama have the audacity to chastise corporate use of aircraft, but among the high profile sequester cuts Obama demanded was the cancelation of traditional flyovers at the Air Force and Naval Academy graduations two weeks ago.
So here’s the question nobody has asked Obama spokesman Jay Carney: How does Obama justify the cancelation of flyovers to honor the commitment and sacrifice of our next generation of young military officers taking their oaths “to support and defend” our Constitution with their blood and lives, while their commander in chief is using Air Force One to ferry him and his adoring entourage around the nation to political fundraisers, and around the world on vacation junkets, at colossal expense to the defense budget and American taxpayers?
USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said this week that Obama’s sequester has grounded 33 squadrons, and many pilots are losing their proficiency. “If we were ordered to go do” a no-fly zone over Syria, “we’d go do it,” but we would be “accepting the risk of those people not being as current. For me, that’s a risk we don’t want to be accepting.”
Perhaps we should sequester the use of Air Force exec jets, including Air Force One, and also sequester $100 million royal family vacations.
Perhaps these savings could offset the $70 million in IRS bonuses to be paid this year — to administrators who have benignly supported the harassment of Obama’s “Enemies List.” The Africa heritage tour funds alone would be sufficient to reopen public White House tours for the next 25 years.
Indeed, if it weren’t for double standards, BO and MO wouldn’t have any. If there’s one defining characteristic of Leftist protagonists that is universally true, it is their consummate hypocrisy.
P.S.: Don’t worry, BO and MO will be back from Africa in time for their annual Martha’s Vineyard vacation, where they hobnob around with that clan of rich liberals.
Reprinted by permission: The Patriot Post (Patriotpost.us)