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By Arthur Piccolo

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 24, 2011: Some readers think I am too critical of President Obama week after week. Well obviously I don’t agree. More to the point Obama convinced us to support him and vote for him in overwhelming numbers.

President Obama defending how well he is doing the job goes with the territory. I’m giving him that opportunity here. I’m not alone is feeling Barack Obama sold us a Bill of Goods.

And what is good for him is not good for the rest of us. Most progressives have been far too lenient in judging him. Most upsetting of all he may be setting us up for a Right Wing Republican President come November, 2012. I should be sending The White House a bill for advice WAKE UP Obama advice.

Which brings us this week to Michelle Obama and her excellent adventure to Africa this week. At our expense.

Let’s make it clear First Lady is not a real title it is short hand for wife of the President of the United States. Michelle has no official
responsibilities with the government of the United States. She is not an employee nor an appointed official. She is simply married to the President of the United States. That does provide her very real benefits and the benefit of the doubt in her use of her time and the resources of the U.S. government. So far so good.

The question of the week is she justified taking luxurious international multi-million dollar vacations at our expense without
the President along for the ride. Michelle does so “better” (sic) than any First Lady before her ever has. Most notable up until now was her splendorous vacation to Spain and Portugal last year toned down ever so slightly only after rising criticism here in the States.

The good news for her and the bad news for the rest of us is that that experience has not slowed her down. Right now Michelle Obama, her two daughters, her mother, a niece and nephew and God only knows how many friends and members of her unofficial entourage are having a grand time in Africa.

Again all together AT OUR EXPENSE.

Yes, yes, yes please say it again Michelle is a Good Will Ambassador for America on these jaunts. Define Good Will Ambassador. Exactly what is the meaning do you find the title anywhere in the U.S. government handbook. Was she appointed to this position. Was she confirmed by the Senate. No, no, and no. It’s a non-title just like First Lady.

But wait isn’t she paying for the trip. Sure. Maybe for the price of a few commercial airline tickets. Maybe or maybe not a few thousand dollars. How much is the trip costing us.

Michelle and her fellow vacationers flying on the biggest newest most expensive U.S. government mega-plane only second to Air
Force One. Lots of paid government staff to cater to her and the whims of all of her pampered guests. Lots of very expensive
Secret Service agents. Special accommodations wherever her party stays and on the ground high powered bullet proof U.S. govt. vehicles. Flown in for her use??

Begin to get the picture that is if you are not a Michelle Obama sycophant? Here is the pivotal question no reasonable American
can quibble with. When Michelle Obama is traveling out of the country without President Obama and even more on trips that even she and The White House label VACATIONS we have a complete and irrefutable right to know what is the COST to the American people. They aren’t talking. I have no way of making any detailed analysis but I am willing to say I am confident the all inclusive cost of this escapade is $10 MILLION and could be more.

Should the American people be footing the bill for Michelle Obama without the President to take a PRIVATE vacation with her daughter, mother, other relatives and assorted friends, using lots of gov’t facilities and employees, and quite possibly costing us $10 MILLION or more.

There is NO ambiguity for me. The answer is NO.

All this brings us back to the larger question about the Obama Presidency I tackle week after week. What is the underlying theme of President Obama’s election. And re-election campaign.

It is this. Barack Obama and Michelle think what he did by being elected President of the United States is win a prize four years of
very good time for him and his family. All the policy stuff. The job of President is just what he has to put up with in return for the
most pampered life style on Earth for himself and Michelle.

It is also the key to understanding Obama’s re-election campaign and his real agenda. To win four more years of fun in The White House and on Air Force One for him and his family. The reason there is a growing chorus complaining Obama is NOT a leader is that his goal is NOT leadership. It is the life style being President. In an interview aired last Sunday morning on ABC it could be considered touching and thoughtful that President Obama made reference to his daughters growing up and as they begin dating he won’t have to worry about them getting into a car with some young man who had a beer – because if he is re-elected that is – they are surrounded by Secret Service and have govt. vehicles driving them everywhere. Yes you can consider it a touching fatherly comment.

It is far more to the point indicative of my view of how Obama views the Presidency as a four year and he hopes 8 year joy ride at our expense. In fact it is amazing he would make a comment like that if you think about it. It is out of context for a President.

As for Michelle and her vacation as you read this she and her travelling companions are probably enjoying the private safari that
is to be the high point of their American taxpayer provided vacation to Africa. Or maybe flying back to Washington in pampered luxury on her big government super plane enjoying watching the photos and videos of their African adventure. As Michelle turns to planning the family’s other vacation later this summer to Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a tough life being First Lady. Enjoy Michelle! It could all disappear next year.

Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.

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