We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It is a First Family curse to be always "on stage". Mrs. Bush's outfit is appropriate, especially for arrival at a foregin mission or a speaking engagement. Mrs. Obama's outfit is okay if they are traveling on vacation or something like that. There's such a thing as too hidebound.
Circumstances matter, of course, and also agree about 'hidebound'. But still, seems to me the office deserves some decorum when in the public eye. It's a 24/7 4 years of always 'on' job. Tough, to be sure, but appearances do matter, whether we like for them to or not.
I was personally a lot more bugged by His Hopeful Changeness putting his feet on the desk in the Oval Office with photographers present. For that matter, even if they were absent. The Oval Office is the President's formal place, as close to a throne room as we have. Plus that desk comes from historic wood.
Legend says that Ronald Reagan always kept his suit coat on when he was in the Oval Office. I don't know if he used another room as his primary workplace.
The two photos are a shocking contrast. For better or worse, the realism is that the First Lady and the President are always in the public eye, for the length of their service to the Nation. This is simply a fact, and one that Laura Bush never forgot. Neither did George Bush. You aren't representing yourself. You are representing your constituents, the citizens of this country. And when you enter or depart from Air Force One, there are always photographers [plural] there to photograph you. It's a given.
Your constituents deserve to be represented by people who understand their grave responsibility to them, and who respect them. The President and first lady are not ill-educated rock stars who can be as sloppy and vulgar as they choose and be forgiven by folks just as sloppy and vulgar as they are. For The Moment, and I emphasize this, they represent us.
So they had better pull up their socks, put on their Big Boy and Big Girl panties and look and act like they represent three hundred million of the citizens of the greatest country in the world.
It isn't that I care if the First Lady dresses down from time to time. It's just that she represents us, particularly when she is on Air Force One.
As an aside, I've never seen a First Lady have a more erratic wardrobe. Sometimes, she absolutely nails it - beautiful, appropriate outfits that flatter her so well. But then at other times, she puts pieces together that simply should not be seen together.
I'm forced to admit that I wear shorts, sandals and a shirt when I fly. I live in San Diego so I can pretty much get away with that year round. It helps drive the TSA wizards nuts because I set the metal detector off every time. I on the other hand am driven nuts by the TSA wizards wanding the shorts and shirt and patting down the shirt and dismissing the "ALARM" as meaningless...
At any rate, that's how I fly but I agree with Marianne, the first lady is obliged by her role to appear in public in the garb of a successful politician's wife. I'm perfectly happy if she flies dressed like me but she has her very own very large, very private plane with plenty of room to change into a nice outfit. She should try to at least maintain the appearance of being a lady.
Years ago, Lady Thatcher was interviewed by the BBC World Service. She described a typical plane trip -- once in the air, she said she would change into something comfortable to work in or take a nap. Shortly before landing, she would put on something more business-like and take care that her makeup and hair were done well. She may even have mentioned the fact that she realized that as soon as the plane door opened, she was representing the office of Prime Minister and the people of the UK.
I know I am amazed and appalled at Michelle Obama's more casual moments that make it into the press coverage. I know she has at least 26 assistants and advisers. What are they doing to earn those nifty salaries?