Byron York reports on an campaign stop last week with Michelle Obama at the Zanesville Day Nursery. At this informal gathering, Mrs. Obama chats with some moms and demonstrates her capacity to struggle with the issues that face an economically troubled central Ohio--particularly the tough choices that face hard working women with children. She empathizes with them . . . because, you know, she’s a lot like them. She knows the struggles of a working mother. She mentions feeling guilt. But here she makes no distinction between needing to work and choosing to work. The median annual household income in Zanesville, Ohio is around $37,000. I suspect that Michelle and Barack did better than that--even before they had what she calls the "magic beans" of Barack’s two best-selling books. (York notes the profits they made in the "help" industry, for example). I find Michelle Obama’s guilt over working and being absent from her children somewhat hard to stomach in the face of all that information. Acknowledging the difference between needing a second income and choosing one, I wonder if the guilt she’s feeling isn’t something she might easily address by making different choices. And I also wonder whether the women at the Zanesville Day Nursery wouldn’t be able to make different choices were it not for the confiscatory tax and regulatory structures that have helped to hurt the economy in Zanesville. But apparently the women at the Zanesville Day Nursery were too polite to ask these questions. It’s not every day that a potential First Lady comes for coffee, after all.
But if her fake compassion for these women and the guilt they feel made me want to gag, her follow up comments made me want to gag her. Expressing her understanding of the expense involved in raising children, Mrs. Obama noted that she and Barack spend around $10,000 a year just on extra-curricular activities and lessons for their two girls. $10,000? (!) Did I mention she was talking to women in a town where the median yearly-income is around $37,000? Oh, that’s right. I did mention that. So she and Mr. Obama spend a little more than a quarter of the yearly income of most of these women (before taxes) on extra-curricular activities. Oh, yes. She can relate. Like most wives, she even argues with her husband about these expenses . . . "Do you know what summer camp costs?" Summer camp? Do you mean like for 4-H? My guess is probably not.