- - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Is anyone else besides me getting a little annoyed at the liberal media double standard in this campaign year? For example, there is the media feeding frenzy over the General Services Administration (GSA) scandal. Certainly, a Las Vegas boondoggle is a huge waste of taxpayer money. But what annoys me is that the several hundred thousand dollars wasted by the GSA is a small fraction of the bill Michelle Obama has slapped on the American taxpayer for her endless vacations and regal lifestyle. It seems as if every other week, Mrs. Obama is firing up Air Force One, Two or Three, loading up the kids and heading off to Spain, Africa, New England, Hawaii or, yes, Las Vegas, for yet another party (er, sorry, I mean “educational exchange,” “fact-finding trip,” “goodwill tour” or other lame cover story). Mrs. Obama’s publicly funded personal travel would appear to be running into the tens of millions of dollars - money that should be given to the poor, devoted to job creation or refunded to taxpayers who thought they were electing a public servant and his wife. They’ve found out that instead they anointed the “Road Trip Queen.” There’s the 99 percent, the 1 percent and the Obamas.

In a recession, this is not just a scandal - it has the appearance, at least from my perspective, serious public corruption. This level of cynicism and arrogance may be unparalleled and unprecedented in democratic governments.

Where is the honest public accounting for this spending? This is in no way serving the interests of the country and certainly not what the public elects these officials to do.

Where are the honest, serious journalists? Where is the media outcry? While the much smaller GSA issue dominates the front page and network news, these apparent Obama scandals is not covered at all.

I should point out that these are the same media that criticized Nancy Reagan for trying to upgrade the White House china with private money. Can anyone say “double standard” or journalistic corruption?

But isn’t it a little impolite to raise the issue of the first lady dipping lavishly into public funds? Aren’t wives off-limits to scrutiny? Certainly not for the Obama campaign, which decided to use its network of surrogates and “Democratic strategists” to begin an orchestrated attack on Ann Romney.

Mrs. Romney, who raised five sons, has been a tireless spokeswoman for her husband’s political campaign and uses her own money for family vacations, is accused of somehow being a malingerer not long after she accurately pointed out that this administration is killing job opportunities for women. Mrs. Obama, however, who also spends a great deal of her time as a mother and spokeswoman for her husband but takes the public’s money for her vacations, is held up as a paragon of working professional women. Hmmm. It probably would be very rude to point out that while working at the University of Chicago Hospital as the head of development, she reportedly got a major increase in her salary after her husband, Barack Obama, while serving as a state legislator, earmarked $1 million in state funds for the hospital. Now, as president, Mr. Obama makes a snarky remark about Mrs. Romney and says his wife had to work to support the family. Well, Mrs. Obama does appear to have been working, Chicago-style.

There is nothing new here, of course. The Obama campaign, with active media support, aggressively smeared John McCain’s wife, Cindy, in an almost identical way during the last campaign, even though she raised four children, runs a major company and built a huge international health program to help the poor - all of which is substantially more than Mrs. Obama has ever achieved. Mrs. McCain pays for her own vacations rather than dipping into scarce public funds that should be going to the poor and unemployed.

My complaint is that the media roast GSA; demean Mrs. Romney, Mrs. Reagan and Mrs. McCain (is there a pattern here?); and lionize Mrs. Obama. What is the matter with this picture? The president calls Mr. Romney out of touch with the middle class, the poor and women. Is he kidding? The middle class, the poor and women should be disgusted with this White House.

The poor, the unemployed and the middle class should resent the regal lifestyle and lavish spending of public money by the Obamas. Women should resent the economic policies that hurt their own job prospects and those of their families and especially the aggressive attacks used by the Obama campaign on Mrs. McCain and Mrs. Romney. Everyone should be angry about this administration’s callous and cynical attitude about the American economy.

In this end, all of this serves to destroy American politics and the American economy. To apply a variation of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s famous phrase to Barack and Michelle Obama’s behavior: It takes a pillage to raze a country.

Grady Means was an assistant to former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.