Is Ed Schultz determined to make his mark as the dumbest man in media? Hardly a day passes without the lib radio host and MSNBC action hero providing more fodder for the premise.
On his radio show Monday, Schultz rushed to the defense of first lady Michelle Obama for criticism of her winging off to an opulent Spanish resort hotel during -- as Schultz and other liberals oft remind us -- the worst economy since the Great Depression.
I think the Democrats, as far as setting the tone, I don't know why the White House isn't all over this. I think that the criticism that Michelle Obama is getting for being overseas is absolutely disgusting. She is the first lady of the United States, the assumed ambassador, someone who can do nothing but goodwill for America and its allies and its image in the world. And I think it's important. I've never, ever seen a story like this where the first lady is criticized. This is a great chance for the White House to go on the offensive. It is true that Michelle Obama's overseas and she's not running for anything, but she's not on the golf course 119 times the way John Boehner is.
Then again, Boehner isn't bringing 70 Secret Service agents in tow on the public dime when he hits the links (his office denies that Boehner has golfed anywhere near as often as alleged by Blue America).
Schultz claims he's "never, ever seen a story like this where the first lady is criticized." The sentiment of a Democrat, no doubt, but surely not a democrat.
I'll attempt to jog Schultz's memory with the first obvious example that comes to mind. Just out of curiosity, Ed, did Hillary Clinton undergo much criticism in the eight years she was first lady? (I remember it well, from back when I was a Democrat).
Unless Schultz was also in a coma during the decade before that, surely he recalls that first lady Nancy Reagan withstood similar slings and arrows during her husband's two terms in office. Nancy Reagan and her astrologer -- ring a bell? How about Mrs. Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign against drug abuse, the one liberals raved about? Any of this strike a chord?
If Schultz were an inquisitive sort, he might be familiar with what is arguably the closest parallel to Michelle Obama's vacation in Spain and its cost in political capital to her husband -- then-first lady Jacqueline Kennedy yachting in the Mediterranean with -- wait for it -- her future second husband, Aristotle Onassis.
As described by Laurence Leamer in his 2001 book, "The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963" --
The president clearly would have preferred not to have his wife sailing around the Mediterranean with Onassis, but there was no other luxury yacht in the world like the Christina, and he figured it was just the tonic that Jackie might need before facing the rigors of re-election. To keep up a pretense that the journey had some other purpose than amusement, and to watch over his wife, he asked Franklin Roosevelt Jr., his undersecretary of Commerce, and his wife, Suzanne, to go along.
Kennedy was consumed enough by the idea of his wife going off with the Greek magnate that while staying at the Carlyle Hotel on September 20, he doodled on a notepad 'Jackie-Onassis.' ...
Jackie sailed off on October 5 from Athens, along with a crew of sixty, including two coiffeurs and a dance band. The ship had hardly left port when the previously sacrosanct Jackie became the subject of criticism. Was it 'improper for the wife of the president ... to accept [Onassis's] lavish hospitality?' asked Congressman Oliver Bolton, an Ohio Republican. With his re-election campaign less than a year away, Kennedy was attuned to even the most subdued criticism. He knew that the Republicans would attempt to create an image of the White House, in the words of the GOP national chairman, as a scene of 'twisting in the historic East Ballroom ... [and] all-night parties in foreign lands.'
'Well, why did you let Jackie go with Onassis?' Kennedy was asked at a private party while the boat sailed the Aegean, bad publicity traveling in its wake.
'Jackie has my blessing to go anywhere that will make her feel better,' he replied, leaving the matter at that. ...
Jackie's European sojourn had created headlines that might please a king, but not a democratic leader -- 'Mrs. Kennedy Aegean Island-Hopping,' 'Jackie Follows Script as Hollywood Wrote It,' 'Jackie Sails in Splendor.' Betty Beal, a Washington social columnist, reported that Jackie's European trip had caused 'complaints ... to pour in from all quarters and it may hurt politically.' Marianne Means, a Hearst columnist and reporter, wrote: 'During her three years in the White House, she had consistently refused all invitations to appear with the president at political functions and most public events, outside the realm of the arts. She did not once accompany him last fall as he campaigned for Democratic congressmen up for re-election. And she has never traveled with him on any of his trips around the country.'
Jackie had a radiant popularity all her own that would help create the almost frenetic excitement that would translate into votes next November. In 1960 Kennedy's advisers had thought Jackie might be a liability; in 1964, in a close campaign, she might prove a crucial asset.
Later that fall, Mrs. Kennedy decided to accompany her husband on a campaign swing for the first time since 1960, to Texas where JFK sought to broker peace between feuding Democrats.