President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave as they board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Nov. 5, 2010, for a 10-day trip through India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, the longest foreign outing of Obama’s presidency.
These people are absolutely insane. The lie that they are perpetuating has gone viral in right-wing online communities and the right-wing radio cabal.
The Daily Beast
Stung by huge losses at the polls, King Obama is taking a $2 billion Indian vacation with 3,000 guests on 40 planes. Or that’s what the Wingnuts would have us believe. John Avlon on the right’s latest conspiracy theory.
“A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” Mark Twain once famously said. In the Internet age, the speed of a politically motivated lie is even faster—case in point, the Wingnuts’ fact-free, post-election pile-on over President Obama’s trip to India.
The conspiracy theory du jour is an alleged $2 billion price tag for the president’s trip, which would be offensive and imperial indeed if it had any basis in fact. But (almost) needless to say, it doesn’t.
Rep. Michele Bachmann first brought up the India trip expenses two days ago in response to a question from CNN’s Anderson Cooper about what budget cuts she would support.
But specific policy plans aren’t as satisfying as demagoguery, so she pivoted to attack mode.
“The president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day,” she said. “He’s taking 2,000 people with him. He will be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are five-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending… it’s a very small example, Anderson. And I think this is an example of the massive overspending that we have seen, not only just in the last two years, really in the last four. That’s what we saw at the ballot box last evening.”
It’s the president as welfare queen, living it up on the taxpayers’ dime, motivated by a sense of revenge.
Soon Glenn Beck was calling the business investment outreach trip “a vacation where you needed 34 warships and $2 billion.” Michael Savage described it as “this incredible royalist visit.” The talk-radio circuit and right-wing blogosphere was burning with manufactured outrage.
A political rumor usually takes hold in people’s minds because it surfs off a pre-existing negative narrative. In this case, the initial impulse builds off accusations of fiscal irresponsibility. But they quickly turn to “King Obama” assignations, which in this White House occupant’s case are not just arrogant out-of-touch elitists or even wannabe Third World dictators. He feels entitled. Entitled, get it? Continue reading…