SHE WORE WHAT?<br />
(Focus on the Issues, Please)

Michelle Obama and Ann Romney.

Hopefully you’re sitting down as I relay this shocking message to you: Conservatives are cranky over something concerning Michelle Obama.

Compose yourself. I have more to say.

Last Friday, the First Lady attended an Olympics reception for heads of state at Buckingham Palace, rocking a J. Mendel cap sleeve jacket from the 2013 Resort collection. Washington Post writers Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger described the jacket, which retails at $6800, as “princely” and “very fancy.”

So what are members of the right complaining about this time?

After Mitt Romney’s wife Ann wore a $900 blouse back in May, Washington Post writer Suzi Parker argued that “Ann’s pricey shirt will not help her husband change those perceptions, no matter how many Laundromat photo ops are on the campaign’s daily itinerary.”

Recalling shade of the past aimed at Ann and praise for Michelle in the present, conservatives crying hypocrisy, liberal bias, blah, blah, and then some.

For the record, not-liberal commentator and daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) echoed a similar sentiment on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.

“She needs to be a little more cognizant of the message she’s trying to put out, just given the economic recession that we’re in and everything that’s going on,” McCain said. And since everyone is all for transparency, it ought to be noted prior to her “very fancy” ensemble Michelle was criticized for not dressing up enough for Queen Elizabeth II.

So in this instance, Michelle is damned if she 'do, damned if she don’t. However, the same can be said about Ann Romney. The context may different – i.e. Michelle Obama appearing before the Queen of Britain and Ann Romney, just another weekday – but at the core, neither one ought to be scrutinized for what they’re wearing.

While I understand the thought behind the “show Americans you care by wearing clearance rack Target” outlook, it’s as shallow as people have accused both Michelle and Ann of being.

When it comes to empathy about the plight of Americans in this mess of an economy, I am more interested in dialogue about what each candidate says than what their spouse chooses to wear.

Still, even if it’s not right, it’s easy to see why some may make less of a fuss over what Michelle Obama is wearing. All praises to Ann for marrying well, but her husband is the one with the reputation of making comments such as, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” And though both Romney and Obama are both millionaires, it’s Mitt’s taxes that are the subject to Vanity Fair investigations about all the offshore accounts and tax loopholes employed to pay as little to the government as possible.

Yet, researchers at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center have just released a study that concludes Romney’s tax plan would provide large tax cuts to the very wealthy while increasing the tax burden on the lower and middle class. This would make it difficult for the government to recoup revenue – which would ultimately lead into another pitfall for America’s economy.

Sound familiar?

It should to conservatives complaining about “Who wore it best and with less pretension?” when deficits are about to skyrocket under a President Romney. You know, that issue they claim to care so much about.

Yeah, Ann deserved the same break Michelle got over her blouse, but what does it matter when in the end her husband makes it clear in his words and policies that he could care less if the rest of us end up wearing rags under his leadership?

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick