Real Housewives of the Oval Office

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Michelle Obama’s vacation in Spain is causing jaws to drop and tongues to wag:

A quiet holiday in a lavish Spanish villa for the first lady and her daughter has turned into a bit of a headache for a White House trying to battle bad economic news at home.

….The first lady is paying for her own room, food and transportation, and the friends she brought will pay for theirs as well. But the government picks up security costs, and the image of the president’s wife enjoying a fancy vacation at a luxury resort abroad while Americans lose their jobs back home struck some as ill-timed. European papers are having a field day tracking her entourage, a New York Daily News columnist called her “a modern-day Marie Antoinette” and the blogosphere has been buzzing.

Now see, that’s why Americans preferred the down home common sense of the Bush family. Laura didn’t go gallivanting off with her friends and a squad of Secret Service agents every year, she just joined George for quiet getaways clearing brush at the ranch in Crawf — oh, wait. What’s that? She didn’t?

Laura Bush took solo vacations without her husband each year of George W. Bush’s presidency, likewise traveling with her Secret Service detail on a government plane to meet friends for camping and hiking excursions to national parks. But it never generated the sort of furor Mrs. Obama trip’s is causing, at least in part because visiting national parks in the United States is not as politically sensitive.

Uh huh. That’s it. Laura’s vacations generated no furor because “visiting national parks in the United States is not as politically sensitive.” I imagine that partisan cranks will try to gin up some other reason that no one made a fuss over her vacations, but you can’t take these special pleaders seriously. Laura just had the good sense to visit places that weren’t as politically-wink-wink-nudge-nudge-sensitive. Facts are facts.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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