Nonetheless, the much-publicized R & R was likely to cement a connection with a significant portion of the electorate. More than any recent first family, the Obamas have come to personify a middle-class lifestyle that, while rarefied, is something with which many Americans can identify. And it helps explain Obama’s continuing personal popularity, even as his policies draw more fire.Catton then goes on to explain how W represented East Coast old money and Texas new money, Clinton had a "calculating style", Poppy Bush was "patrician upper class" and Reagan was an "anomaly." And then she offers us the inevitable comparison to the Kennedys. "Not since the Kennedys has a first family with young children lived in the White House, and the normal rites of child-raising — from taking kids to school to playing with them in the backyard — enable the Obama’s to seem to have the same concerns as millions of other parents," Catton writes. Just another typical middle class family, eh? Didn't the Carters raise their daughter Amy there? Do typical middle class families send their kids to a private school that costs almost $30,000 a year in tuition?
I wondered as I started reading Catton's story how she would explain Michelle Obama's expensive taste in clothing and accessories, but she quickly answered that question. "Michele Obama’s now-famous Alaia belt and Lanvin sneakers are stand-out accessories from high-priced labels," Catton concedes. "But none of it is out of reach for professional women who shop at Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus," she adds. "She balances out the high-end pieces by embracing J. Crew cardigans, which, even in cashmere, typically cost less than $200." Do typical middle class families fail to purchase a simple headstone for their deceased father? Or does a typical middle class housewife return a $5,000 pair of diamond earrings her husband purchased as a birthday gift for her and replace them with a $12,000 pair?
And what about the Obama's demand for the finest in dining experience? "They dine at elegant restaurants, such as Citronelle, in Washington, but they also embrace healthy home-cooking by growing their own herbs and vegetables," Catton explains. They're "Whole Food" folks like other typical middle class families Catton says.
Perhaps the most humorous part of her story is where she tries to make Obama out to be such a hard worker. Obama, she tells us, is like typical middle class workers because he has "publicly embraced" an "extreme workload." Surely she jests. This guy has spent more time on vacations, golf outings, trips to the gym, White House parties, etc. than actual work in the Oval Office. Catton actually blames Obama's current low public approval ratings on his "punishing pace of life." Give me a break.
I'm surprised Catton didn't bring up the Obamas' dog, Bo. Remember how Obama promised to get a "shelter dog" for his daughters as a present? He instead wound up getting a Portugese water hound from the Kennedys. By the way, the only photo I saw of Bo during the Obamas recent vacation on Martha's Vineyard was a photo of a secret service agent walking him. Big surprise. The dog is obviously nothing more than a prop to the Obamas. And so is Catton.