Sunday, September 06, 2009

Politico: Obamas Are A Typical Middle Class Family

If that's what you want to believe, Pia Catton, that's fine, but don't put it in your news stories at Politico and expect any reasonable, independent reader to take your work seriously. Catton pens a column with the headline, "The First Family You Can Identity With," attempting to make the case that the Obamas are a more typical middle class family than other presidential families in recent history. In a paragraph following mention of the Obama's recent vacation spent on Martha's Vineyard in a home they rented for $25,000 a week, Catton writes:

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.


Concerned Taxpayer said...

BARF -- ME-- WITH -- A -- SPOON!

artfuggins said...

The dog was a rescue dog that had problems with the original family that owned him and returned him to the rescue group. Ted Kennedy paid for some training and then gave the dog to the Obama daughters. Please write an accurate report on the dog if you think that it is even newsworthy.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Yeah, That's the story you're telling, art, as an excuse for not getting a shelter dog. Here's the actual story from People:

"Then there are the questions about the dog's origins that are sure to bedevil the Administration. The Obamas originally discussed rescuing a dog from a shelter. But valuable and highly-bred PWDs rarely show up at shelters. Bo is said to have lived with a family that decided not to keep him, but that won't likely satisfy animal rescue advocates who wanted the Obamas to take in a stray.

To help ease disappointment, according to The Post, the family will make a donation to the District of Columbia Humane Society."

Let's get it straight. Bo was a gift to the Obamas by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who owned several Portugese water dogs. He wasn't an abandoned dog as you suggest. Even the Washington Post got that right:

"The little guy is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog given to the Obama girls as a gift by that Portuguese water dog-lovin' senator himself, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts . . .

In a statement, the Kennedys said: "We couldn't be happier to see the joy that Bo is bringing to Malia and Sasha. We love our Portuguese Water Dogs and know that the girls -- and their parents -- will love theirs too."

The choice of a Portie raised one complication. The Obamas have long said they wanted a rescue dog. But the carefully bred PWDs almost never end up in shelters. Bo had been living with another family, but it wasn't a good fit, so the Kennedys acquired him for the Obamas."

Nice try, Wilson.

AnnaEsse said...

Wow! Cardigans that cost less than $200!! Obviously she's keeping the cost down. I actually doubt that the average middle-class woman would be shelling out on Michelle Obama's cheap clothing. Was that meant to show how ordinary Michelle Obama is? If that's her cheap end clothing, then she's not behaving or living like a middle-class woman. And what about her 26 aides? Very middle-class, I don't think!
Michelle Obama's background may be middle-class, but she's clearly enjoying the upper-class life that she thinks she's entitled to.

artfuggins said...

Such classy people here. Let's attack the daughters, the wife and the dog.

Jon said...

What we are attacking is the veracity of the article, i.e. "Typical Middle Class Family".