Thursday, August 18, 2011

"You shouldn’t be out vacationing..."


This is tedious. It was tedious in extremis when the Democrats did it to Bush, and it's tedious now that the Republicans are doing it to Obama. It's a non-story, a fundamentally unserious criticism.
As a guest on Chicago’s WLS-AM radio Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that Obama should stay in D.C. and call Congress back to work.

“If you’re the president of the United States, and the nation is in crisis — and we’re in a jobs crisis right now — then you shouldn’t be out vacationing,” the former Massachusetts governor told WLS hosts Don Wade and Roma. “Instead you should be focusing on getting the economy going again. And, yeah, go back to the office yourself, pull back members of Congress and focus on getting the job done.”

Donald Trump, appearing on Fox News earlier this week, complained, “the fact is, [Obama] takes more vacations than any human being I’ve ever seen.”

I said this when George W. Bush was President, and the left, with the Washington Post leading the charge, made sport of how frequent and how long his vacations were:
The Presidency is a 24-hour a day job, 365 days a year - there's not been a minute since his first inaugural when George W. Bush was not the President, with all of the powers and responsibilities that entails.

And this:
The fact is that the President never goes on vacation. He's always the President, every minute of every day. The responsibilities are always there. Whether he's in Washington or Brussels or Scotland or Crawford, he's the President. He has the nuclear launch codes with him, he has daily briefings, he has control of the apparatus of government. For the press to make an issue of his spending August, when neither of the other two branches of the Federal government are in Washington, in Texas would be akin to making an issue about Johnny Damon taking half the year off because he only played 81 games at Fenway Park...
Replace "George W. Bush" with "Barack Obama," "Crawford" with Martha's Vineyard and "Texas" with "Massachusetts" (and "Johnny Damon" with "Dustin Pedroia") and you get my reaction to "Bad Hand" Obama's vacation. It's drivel, the kind of nonsense that makes normal people loathe politicians and politics and the people who cover and comment on them. The fact that this is a big-time mainstream media story during Republican administrations doesn't mean that it's right for the Republicans to be playing this way during Obama's vacation. Not helpful, not productive.

As I write this, it occurs to that I do, in fact, have one more comment to make on the topic of Obama and vacation. If I might address the President directly for a second...

Dear Mr. President,

We all know that being the President is hard work - you deserve a break! Take some real time off. You deserve it. Don't bother giving us any more of your economic wisdom - you've done enough already. Frankly, sir, more than enough. You've gone above and beyond the call of duty, given us more policy than we had any right to ask for, far more government than you were contracted to provide. Take some real time off, not just on-the-road-Presidentin' time. Play some golf, watch a movie, read a book. Lie on the beach somewhere. Really, we don't mind. If the phone rings, let someone else answer it for the next, oh, 15 months or so.


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