WASHINGTON, DC, September 27, 2012 - Several surveys including scholarship from the US Department of Education have concluded that children who travel over summer break do better in reading, math and their general knowledge than those who do not. Traveling enables kids to broaden their horizons and learn that the world is not made up of the limited confines of their neighborhoods.
But when your name is Malia Obama and your parents include the President and First Lady of the
That is just what was required to protect the first daughter during a March 2012 spring break trip to
The argument has been made by some opponents to Malia’s parents that the security required for the trip was a waste of tax payer dollars. Perhaps at their urging, government watchdog group Judicial Watch chose to sue the US Secret Service for failing to oblige by its Freedom of Information Act request for documentation detailing the cost of Malia’s security detail. The group has compiled details of the cost of the Obamas’ various vacations and trips throughout the president’s first term in office.
A cursory review through the site’s archives does not reveal that the group made similar efforts to obtain information on the travels of the previous Republican administration, however. The conservative organization has filed 18 lawsuits against the Bill Clinton and other Democratic administrations, however.
It smacks of another instance of intellectual dishonesty, as this group and other loud complainers launched no similar outcry when the offspring of a president they favored took advantage of the same privileges afforded all children of US Presidents.
It is reminiscent of the same outcry over the First Lady’s decision to travel to
Yet, those upset over the Obama safari trip didn’t have the same opposition to Laura Bush who visited Africa 5 times during her husband’s two terms in office. She too attended a safari. Laura and daughters Barbara and Jenna ended their diplomatic mission trip at the Madikwe Game Reserve on the South African-Botswana border.
By the end of George W. Bush’s tenure, Laura had traveled to 10 different countries, the most visits than any other First Lady before her.
During her travels, Laura Bush’s daughters accompanied her on tours to remote villages. Former First Daughter Barbara Bush has said her 2003 trip to
Similarly, while on Spring break in 1997, Chelsea Clinton joined her mother in
There is scant recollection of any outcry when US Secret Service was used to protect these ladies during these trips.
Some point out that during a recovering economy, heads of states should show some empathy and solidarity and scale back ostentatious travels.
While that is true for office holders, the same standard shouldn’t necessarily be hoisted upon their offspring who are not elected officials. They shouldn’t be made to go without the educational and enriching experience of overseas travel simply because some Americans despise their parents.
Further, the Bush twins caused such a stir while visiting
And the economy during their maiden journey in 2006?
According to a Center for American Progress report, in that year economic growth slipped to 2 percent in the third quarter, consumption growth dipped to below 3 % in two consecutive quarters for the first time in over three years, retail sales weakened, job growth continued to drop to 14.5% slower in 2006 than two years prior, wages made up a record low share of the national income, home appreciations decreased in the first three quarters of 2006, consumer debt soared to new heights reaching a record 130.9% by the end of the third quarter, mortgage delinquencies rose to 4.7% of all mortgages in the third quarter, the trade deficit widened, and there were 2.2 bankruptcy cases per 1,000 people in the third quarter.
It would be intellectually dishonest for one to raise a stink about Malia’s trip in this economy yet have had nothing negative or critical to say about the Bush twins too traveling abroad in the same year the nation was feeling the pinch under their dad’s presidency.
Judicial Watch’s critical admonishment of overt government spending loses its credibilty if not lodged evenly irrespective of political affiliation. What would be a reasonable request looks more like a witch hunt of a little kid’s enrichment trip simply because the group doesn’t like the girl’s dad.
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