From: The Amateur by Edward Klein
If Michelle ever had any reservations about Barack’s grandiose political dreams, they didn’t come from her qualms about politics, but from her belief that he wasn’t aiming high enough. For example, when he ran for a seat in the Illinois State legislature, Michelle told him that it was “too small time.”
For the first several years of their marriage, Michelle and Barack lived in a flat in a lower-middle-class neighborhood. But after Barack’s memoir Dreams from My Father hit the bestseller lists and he joined the United States Senate, the couple moved to a million-dollar mansion, and Michelle landed a cushy job at the University of Chicago Medical Center with a salary of $317,000 a year. It hardly seemed a coincidence that Valerie Jarrett was the medical center’s chairwoman, and that a hospital board member, Kelly R. Welsh, was an executive vice president at Northern Trust Company, which had extended the Obamas a $1.3 million home mortgage.
Chicago-style cronyism marked Michelle’s tenure at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Given all her righteous talk about “fundamental change,” “access,” “opportunity,” and “fairness,” everyone expected Michelle to promote programs to assist the underprivileged denizens of the black South Side. Instead, she helped launch a program, dubbed the South Side Health Collaborative, to save the hospital millions of dollars by redirecting poor and uninsured patients from its emergency room to surrounding community hospitals in the South Side. The University of Chicago’s Medical Center beds were reserved for prosperous patients who used profitable procedures.
The president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Dr. Nick Jouriles, released a statement saying Michelle’s program came “dangerously close to ‘patient dumping,’ a practice made illegal by the emergency Medical Labor and Treatment Act, and reflected an effort to ‘cherry pick’ wealthy patients over poor.”
Michelle’s actual annual salary, between the university and serving on six boards of directors, including Walmart, approached $500,000.
On February 18, 2008, upon the nomination of her husband, Michelle blurted out her true beliefs about the country that had treated her and her husband so well. Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, would-be First Lady Michelle Obama said, “For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
Another example of Michelle’s impulsive, narcissistic nature was her decision to go on a lavish vacation to Spain even though practically her entire staff advised against it. She overruled them and flew off on an Air Force 757 along with three shifts of uniformed plainclothes agents and military personnel Her security entourage numbered seventy people. Her vast army of support personnel checked into the Villa Padierna Palace Hotel in Marbella, a five-star resort on the Spanish Costa del Sol.
The trip cost American taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars, and the backlash was harsh and immediate. A column by Andrea Tantaros in the New York Daily News was headlined: Material Girl Michelle Obama Is a Modern-Day Marie Antoinette on a Glitzy Spanish Vacation.”
Though the trip to Spain garnered most of the publicity, it was hardly Michelle’s only foray into expensive vacations. Between August 2010 and August 2011, she spent a total of forty-two days on vacation – or one out of every nine days. (During the same period of time, the number of Americans on food stamps increased from thirty-two to forty-six million.)
In February 2012, just weeks after a seventeen-day Christmas vacation in Hawaii, Michelle decided she needed another break With gas prices at an historic winter high, the government struggling to cut the federal deficit and many American families forgoing their annual holiday vacations. Michelle thumbed her nose at political convention and jetted off with Sasha and Malia on Presidents’ Day weekend for the upmarket ski slopes of Aspen, Colorado.
“Several people had known about the ‘low-key’ vacation with the Secret Service in town for the past few days scoping out places for the family to relax and enjoy what the resort has to offer” wrote Aspen Daily News columnist Carolyn Sackariason. Pritkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo confirmed that he had met with the Secret Service and had loaned seven deputies to help protect the first lady and her family.
The question naturally arises: Why would someone who is as politically savvy as Michelle Obama do such foolish things? The answer seems to lie in Michelle’s personality, which is acquisitive and materialistic by nature. For her forty-fourth birthday, Obama bought his wife something she had long coveted—a set of diamond stud earrings. He spent $5,000. She promptly returned them in exchange for bigger diamonds that cost $12,000.
“Michelle has expensive tastes,” writes Carol Felsenthal in chicagomag.com. “It was she who wanted to trade up from their two-bedroom condominium on the first floor of a three-story walkup, for which they had paid $277,500 in 1993, to the $1.65 million six-bedroom Georgian revival Kenwood mansion that landed them in a deal with the wife of Tony Rezko, the convicted felon and fundraiser/fixer….”
I guess for our own Marie Antoinette, it is now not such a bad country after all.
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