Monday, January 11, 2010

Why gossip is so big in DC

Take a look at the listing of staff for First Lady Obama courtesy of the Northern Muckraker. Now apart from the issue that Mrs. Obama has roughly doubled the number of staff, there is the question of "exactly what does a First Lady do for which she needs a staff of dozens of people?"

Someone to handle a bit of travel and scheduling? Sure. Share someone to do makeup and such with the rest of the White House? Absolutely. But Hillary Clinton's 13 staffers, or Laura Bush's dozen or so, or Michelle Obama's 26?

Reality is that when the actual demands of her position are accounted for, Mrs. Obama's staff is not a working "staff" but is really more akin to a the servants accumulated by wealthy people of the past simply because they could--simply a status symbol, more or less.

This has everything to do with the gossipy mood in Washington as well--just as the chief place for gossip in any mansion is the quarters of servants with little or nothing to do, I'd have to suspect that the slew of articles from "anonymous sources" has a lot to do with overpaid, underworked "public servants" in offices like Mrs. Obama's.

Maybe it's time for many public servants to read up on the story of Cincinnatus.


pentamom said...

Okay, I'm trying to figure out what an 18th century French aristocratic woman would do with 26 servants, in addition to a full household staff and a fully automated household. I'll bet none of them ever had that may personal servants. Even in Dickens.

I'll bet her "staff" doesn't even do the personal services stuff -- making her coffee, making sure her clothing's drycleaned and pressed, packing for trips -- the household staff does that. So what's left -- booking engagements, scheduling travel, assisting her with paperwork and phone calls for various causes she's involved in, and maybe researching projects she might wish to become involved in, in future. That takes 26 people? Sure, the Marquis' wife didn't do all that stuff, but she didn't have cars and electricity and the Internet so that whatever she did do happened ten times faster and more easily, either.

Bike Bubba said...

Bingo. And more importantly, what do all those people do with their time? 2 Thess 3:11, and our nation pays a heavy price for it--far greater than the simple cost of wages, benefits, and office space for these people.