Queen-like staff support for First Lady

As noted by C. Edmund Wright Michelle Obama requires far more staff than previous first ladies. A few examples of salaries for her bloated staff:

  1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (CHIEF OF STAFF)
  2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND PROJECTS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
  3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY)
  4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
  5. Winter, Melissa E. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE FIRST LADY)
  6. $90,000 - Medina, David S. (DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE FIRST LADY)
  7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (DIRECTOR AND PRESS SECRETARY TO THE FIRST LADY)
  8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING AND ADVANCE FOR THE FIRST LADY)
  9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND PROJECTS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
  10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY SOCIAL SECRETARY)
  11. Reinstein, Joseph B. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY SOCIAL SECRETARY)
  12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING AND EVENTS COORDINATOR FOR THE FIRST LADY)
There's more at the link.

By comparison  

Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary.  

Because of the increasing demands on presidents' wives in recent years, partially because of the obsessive celebrity culture, resulting in an expanded public role, I don't begrudge tax dollars for Michelle Obama's  social secretary, a few chefs, maybe another employee or two or even listing some nice clothes as a legitimate business expense. 

But given President Barack Obama's (D) very public scolding to companies who received bailout money not to host lavish business conventions and such, the Congressional grilling of auto executives who flew to Washington on private planes instead of commercial or even using their own cars and similar public put downs, this lavish retinue of numerous (mostly) ladies in waiting reeks of a certain je ne sais quoi, let them eat cake mentality.   

Perhaps Ms. Obama's staff should follow the example set by her husband's staff and blame--or in this instance, learn--everything on the situation she inherited.  As Ralph Alter pointed out yesterday  

For purposes of comparison, please consult Dan Froomkin's 2004 White House Staff List-By Salary published in the Washington Post on June 13, 2004.  Tallying Laura Bush's staff from the list provided by Froomkin totals $561,325 in annual salaries for the former First Lady's staff.  

In other words, even accounting for inflation, Laura Bush's expenses were less than half of  Ms. Obama's--and this was in those flush times derided by Obama fans. If Michelle Obama  wants to be involved in more projects than those required by her husband's job, that is her personal choice.  And it should be her personal expense. 
As noted by C. Edmund Wright Michelle Obama requires far more staff than previous first ladies. A few examples of salaries for her bloated staff:

  1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (CHIEF OF STAFF)
  2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND PROJECTS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
  3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY)
  4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
  5. Winter, Melissa E. (SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE FIRST LADY)
  6. $90,000 - Medina, David S. (DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE FIRST LADY)
  7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (DIRECTOR AND PRESS SECRETARY TO THE FIRST LADY)
  8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING AND ADVANCE FOR THE FIRST LADY)
  9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND PROJECTS FOR THE FIRST LADY)
  10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY SOCIAL SECRETARY)
  11. Reinstein, Joseph B. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY SOCIAL SECRETARY)
  12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING AND EVENTS COORDINATOR FOR THE FIRST LADY)
There's more at the link.

By comparison  

Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary.  

Because of the increasing demands on presidents' wives in recent years, partially because of the obsessive celebrity culture, resulting in an expanded public role, I don't begrudge tax dollars for Michelle Obama's  social secretary, a few chefs, maybe another employee or two or even listing some nice clothes as a legitimate business expense. 

But given President Barack Obama's (D) very public scolding to companies who received bailout money not to host lavish business conventions and such, the Congressional grilling of auto executives who flew to Washington on private planes instead of commercial or even using their own cars and similar public put downs, this lavish retinue of numerous (mostly) ladies in waiting reeks of a certain je ne sais quoi, let them eat cake mentality.   

Perhaps Ms. Obama's staff should follow the example set by her husband's staff and blame--or in this instance, learn--everything on the situation she inherited.  As Ralph Alter pointed out yesterday  

For purposes of comparison, please consult Dan Froomkin's 2004 White House Staff List-By Salary published in the Washington Post on June 13, 2004.  Tallying Laura Bush's staff from the list provided by Froomkin totals $561,325 in annual salaries for the former First Lady's staff.  

In other words, even accounting for inflation, Laura Bush's expenses were less than half of  Ms. Obama's--and this was in those flush times derided by Obama fans. If Michelle Obama  wants to be involved in more projects than those required by her husband's job, that is her personal choice.  And it should be her personal expense.