Real Housewives of the Oval Office

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Michelle Obama’s vacation in Spain is causing jaws to drop and tongues to wag:

A quiet holiday in a lavish Spanish villa for the first lady and her daughter has turned into a bit of a headache for a White House trying to battle bad economic news at home.

….The first lady is paying for her own room, food and transportation, and the friends she brought will pay for theirs as well. But the government picks up security costs, and the image of the president’s wife enjoying a fancy vacation at a luxury resort abroad while Americans lose their jobs back home struck some as ill-timed. European papers are having a field day tracking her entourage, a New York Daily News columnist called her “a modern-day Marie Antoinette” and the blogosphere has been buzzing.

Now see, that’s why Americans preferred the down home common sense of the Bush family. Laura didn’t go gallivanting off with her friends and a squad of Secret Service agents every year, she just joined George for quiet getaways clearing brush at the ranch in Crawf — oh, wait. What’s that? She didn’t?

Laura Bush took solo vacations without her husband each year of George W. Bush’s presidency, likewise traveling with her Secret Service detail on a government plane to meet friends for camping and hiking excursions to national parks. But it never generated the sort of furor Mrs. Obama trip’s is causing, at least in part because visiting national parks in the United States is not as politically sensitive.

Uh huh. That’s it. Laura’s vacations generated no furor because “visiting national parks in the United States is not as politically sensitive.” I imagine that partisan cranks will try to gin up some other reason that no one made a fuss over her vacations, but you can’t take these special pleaders seriously. Laura just had the good sense to visit places that weren’t as politically-wink-wink-nudge-nudge-sensitive. Facts are facts.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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