OF ALL THE THINGS TO WHINE ABOUT…. I’m embarrassed to admit, I didn’t see this line of attack coming. It just seemed too ridiculous, even for Republicans, but I’m reminded why low expectations are rarely low enough with these folks.
For the second straight year, the first family has landed on this island of quaint seaside towns, second homes and working farms for a late-summer getaway.
But this year, more so than last, political opponents are trying to hang a question over the visit: Does President Obama deserve a vacation?
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.
I haven’t the foggiest idea whether the public will actually hold a 10-day break against the president, but this even being a subject of discussion is bizarre.
George W. Bush presided over two recessions, two wars, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina — but he still managed to take more time off than any president in modern history. While Bush was in the White House, he tended not to work too hard — he was known for scheduling plenty of time for exercise during the day, and liked to knock off early — but Bush also spent time away from the White House with a frequency unseen in generations, taking more and longer breaks than any of his 20th-century predecessors.
Before 2000, the president with the most vacation time in the modern era was Reagan. Bush not only beat Reagan’s record, he did so with 17 months to spare. Spanning his two terms, Bush spent 487 days at Camp David, and 490 days at a ranch in Crawford. That’s a total of 977 days — about a third of his overall presidency.
And Republicans are going after Obama’s down time? Seriously?
Consider the tale of the tape. Estimates vary slightly, but the Washington Post, citing data from CBS’s Mark Knoller, the unofficial keeper of such things, said Obama has taken 48 days off since his inauguration. At this point in Bush’s presidency, he’d taken 155 days off. (An AP estimate puts both numbers slightly higher.)
Note, Bush took all this time off during a period that included the attacks of 9/11 and the launch of a war in Afghanistan. Hell, a terrorist tried to blow up an American passenger jet in December 2001, and Bush not only stayed on vacation, he didn’t even mention the incident for nearly a week.
Does the GOP really want to start a discussion about who qualifies as “The Clark Griswold president”?