Before she leaves the White House, the outgoing First Lady has just a few simple tasks: she has to take the incoming First Lady on a little tour, she has to bundle up as many free gifts and silverware and furniture as possible and smuggle them out before anybody finds out what a tacky move that is, and she has to unveil a set of impossibly expensive china she has just purchased and will never be able to use.
This was the precedent set by Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Laura Bush is on track to follow it. Well, everything except the vulgar spiriting away of assorted goodies. But let's talk about this pricey dinnerware she commissioned a zillion years ago!
The $493,000 set was inspired by a few pieces of green basketweave-patterned French china in the White House collection believed to have come from James and Dolley Madison. It was paid for by a privately funded trust of the White House Historical Association, which also purchased a second, less formal set.
Laura Bush said the china has been in the works for several years and the family had hoped to be able to use it, but the process took longer than expected.
Wait, what? If the First Lady of the United States can't get a rush order on china, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Second: Half a million dollars, really?
She said she was aware of criticism her predecessors received for buying expensive china, but said it was paid for with private money and that when the process started, "the economy was a lot better than it is today."
Sorry, lady! Even when the economy was "better," half a million dollars was a lot of scratch to spend on plates. Heck, Sarah Palin's wardrobe didn't cost $500,000, and she was wearing Valentino.
The real loser in this equation is Michelle Obama, who will have to use these terribly precious basket-weave plates until she has a chance to slip away to Target and get a perfectly tasteful bunch of plates at $7 a setting. We are in a Depression, you know!