Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why Does the First Lady Have a Staff?

Here's a very minor, almost completely unnoticed news story: Camile Johnston, the communications director for First Lady Michelle Obama, is leaving her position to pursue a job in the private sector. Johnston had also been Tipper Gore's communications director during her time as First Lady.

Not a big deal at all, but it begs a question: why does the First Lady have a communications director? For that matter, why does the First Lady need a staff of any kind? I'd have to double check, but I'm fairly certain that Abigail Adams didn't have a communications director, much less a full-time staff.

(Please note that I am not trying to pick on Michelle Obama in particular. I'm sure that Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan also had unnecessary staffs.)

As I pointed out in yesterday's post about the media circus surrounding Chelsea Clinton's wedding, it is wrong to think about the President as anything more than a public servant there to get a job done. The President's family should not be seen as any more important than any other family in the nation, and the spouse of the President should not have to fulfill any particular duties that would otherwise interefere with his or her professional or family life.

Furthermore, it doubtless costs a hefty amount of money for the annual upkeep of the First Lady's unnecessary staff, particularly in terms of the salaries of its members. While it's obviously a very small drop of water in the massive ocean that is the federal budget, in a time of fiscal crisis, every penny counts.


lwbiii said...

Every penny does count. The government - and it's leaders in particular - need to understand the phrase that the rest of us say every day. WE CAN'T AFFORD THAT! Here's a challenge to everyone who reads this blog. Do a little research and find a government expense that WE CAN'T AFFORD!

lwbiii said... reports that the Obama'a paid for all their "personal" expenses on the side trip Michele took to London. I have asked what the taxpayers paid for this Obama family "vacation". Haven't gotten an answer yet. Does anyone know>