Unfortunately, the playing of the race card by Joan Walsh over at WaPo's money-losing vanity press, Salon.com, has forced me to take notice of a story I didn't think should be written about and which I therefore chose not to write about before now.
For those unfamiliar with the Spring Break festivities of the First Daughters', here's the report on the trip that appeared over on Breitbart.com.
Sasha and Malia Obama are quietly vacationing at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Breitbart News has learned.
A source tipped Breitbart News off to the First Daughters’ spring vacation, which was not publicly announced or reported.
Breitbart subsequently confirmed President Barack Obama’s daughters’ trip with other sources. Both the White House and the Atlantis resort declined to confirm the report or comment, but another guest provided a photograph of Sasha and Malia at the resort.
Social media, including Twitter and Facebook, have also carried reports of the First Daughters' presence at Atlantis. One person who is at the resort wrote: “Rumor confirmed: friends saw the first daughters with a gaggle of friends being escorted to the held elevator.”
Hey, I don't care where 1%-ers like Barack and Michelle Obama let their over-privileged offspring spend a school holiday, even though they have spent the last few years dividing Americans by class and declaring the rich (you know, folks who have enough disposable cash during the worst economic times since the Great Depression to send their teenage daughters on trips to the Caribbean) to be greedy, spoiled and selfish exploiters of the common people who didn't earn what they have and don't pay their fair share in taxes. While it might be fun to write (for the millionth time) about the First Couple's hypocrisy, I really had no desire to expose the girls to any ridicule merely because of the Bad Parenting engaged in by the President and First Lady.
But then came the sound of a white liberal 1%-er journalist slapping down the race card because of the article -- and that merits some commentary on the column and therefore the original story.
Here's the beginning of Walsh's screed.
Writing my piece on Andrew Breitbart and Tucker Carlson, I missed a huge example of overlap between their two sham-empires: the reporter who broke the Caller’s now-disgraced “scoop” about Sen. Robert Menendez patronizing prostitutes, Matthew Boyle, now works for Breitbart.com. And on Monday he penned the ridiculous story revealing the location of Malia and Sasha’s spring break vacation (which is now at the top of the Drudge Report).
On Twitter Monday and Tuesday, Breitbart fans attacked my focus on their hero’s bizarre racially driven crusades. They continue to insist that they’re being unfairly tarred with the charge of racism, when they’re the real “post-racialists” who just don’t like Barack Obama because he’s a liberal. I have some advice for right-wingers who don’t want it to seem like their anti-Obama animus is racial: Try treating his daughters with respect.
I'm sorry, but I don't see anything disrespectful of the girls in the article in question. After all, the article itself goes on to note that the vacation location of Sasha and Malia was disclosed by fellow vacationers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The girls were not stalked and they were not harassed -- Matthew Boyle wrote about what was clearly public knowledge based upon it being made available to the world at large on public forums that are commonly accessed by people around the world. That's not racist -- that's journalism, albeit of the People Magazine/Entertainment Weekly variety
No, what has Joan Walsh's panties in a knot is the fact that Boyle then went a bit further and made a connection between the trip and the budget battles going on between the girls' father (and his Democrat allies) and the GOP. That, you see, is just beyond the pale.
When Agence-France Presse wrote about Malia’s trip to Mexico last year, a few U.S. outlets picked it up, and the administration tried to get the details removed. Then an earthquake in Mexico made the first daughter’s vacation newsworthy, and other sites, justifiably, reported it.
A year later, along comes the brave Matthew Boyle, fresh off his Menendez humiliation, to tell Breitbart readers about the Obama girls’ vacation. The news hook seems to be that it’s a waste of money.
“It is unclear how long the first daughters will be staying in the Bahamas, or what the cost will be to taxpayers,” Boyle harrumphs. “Earlier this month, the White House canceled public tours as a result of the recent budget sequester, citing Secret Service staffing costs.”
So you see, there is an issue here. Barack Obama told tens of thousands of American taxpayers that because of the sequester there is just not enough money to allow them to visit the White House on their vacations -- ostensibly because of the cost of the Secret Service portion of the budget. But now the girls are vacationing in a foreign country with what is probably between $150,000 and $250,000 in Secret Service protection for the duration of the trip. Indeed, the cost of Secret Service protection alone could have allowed two or three weeks of additional White House tours for the 99% that the President professes to be for -- but clearly he is unwilling to be for the American people if it means he doesn't get to indulge his daughters' desire for a tropical vacation! Call it "belt tightening for thee, but not for me!" And that is something that the American people ought to be aware of if they are to reasonably and responsibly evaluate the President's stewardship of our nation's financial resources. And like it or not, Boyle engaged in journalism, not racism, by making the facts available to the American people and allowing them to draw their own conclusions about their relevance.
So what evidence does Walsh bring to bear in order to impute a racism as the motive for reporting this story? Not anything that Boyle said -- something that was said in the comments on the story! That is one of the standard tactics of hack bloggers on the left -- if you don't like what someone is saying but can't find anything truly wrong with it, instead tar the writer or speaker with what presumably like-minded people have to say about their story (even if that means posting racist/sexist/homophobic comments yourself just to ensure they are there for you to use). It is guilt by association -- a left-wing McCarthyism designed to indelibly tar one's opponent without going to the trouble of actually finding evidence that the opponent is actually guilty.
So no, it isn't racist to report that the US government has enough money in the budget to provide Secret Service protection for the First Daughters' Spring Break but not for the American people to visit the White House. It isn't racist to call the President out on his claims that armed guards in school make children unsafe while his daughters each have a heavily armed security detail (and, might I add, appropriately so). It isn't racist to criticize Barack Obama for cancelling a voucher program that allowed poor black kids from the District of Columbia to escape the city's failing schools while making it clear that those same schools were not good enough for his kids by sending them to an elite private academy for the children of the rich and powerful. Those are legitimate criticisms of a man who says one thing about policy for the rest of us but does something different -- often on the taxpayer's dime -- when it comes to his own family. Indeed, the racism is that demonstrated by liberals in the media and the political class who seek to treat Barack Obama as The Black President rather than as the 44th President of the United States who, incidentally, happens to be an African-American.