President Obama and his family have started an August vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, and, with that, the griping about his taking a few days off has started. Personally, I think that presidents ought to get in some vacation time. They are better off when they are rested, and, therefore, the country is better off when they get a little rest.
After all, they can never really get away from the duties of the presidency, no matter how far they travel from Washington. And, with the buttons of the presidency at their fingertips no matter where they are, it’s okay if the president is in Martha’s Vineyard or Crawford or Hawaii.
Yes, Democrats often whacked President Bush for going to Crawford, a petty complaint that helped to poison our politics. Since Obama is frequently criticized for his vacations, here are some facts for those of you who care about such things to ponder. From the WaPo:
The Republican National Committee has taken to calling Obama “the Clark Griswold president,” a mocking reference to the Chevy Chase character in National Lampoon’s “Vacation” movies. With unemployment claims climbing again, the GOP was hoping its criticism would have a certain national resonance. And maybe it will.
One potential complication: Obama has spent far less time on vacation than his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, had at this point in his presidency.
Veteran CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, a fastidious keeper of presidential statistics, has kept count. By his tally, Obama has embarked on nine “vacations” since taking office, bringing his total days off to 48. Some of those trips lasted a day and some, like his Christmas holiday in Hawaii, more than a week.
By comparison, Bush had visited his ranch in Crawford, Tex., 14 times at this point in his administration and spent 115 days there. And yes, Democrats let him have it, too, complaining that he was a chronic vacationer.
White House advisers made clear in the days leading up to this getaway that a president, especially a wartime president overseeing a country in the grips of economic distress, is never really on vacation.
On the subject of vacation, I’m taking the rest of the week off. You folks have fun while I’m away, but remember, No running with scissors!