Was “Date Night” a Good Idea?

The President may have described it as keeping a campaign promise, but should he have taken the First Lady out for dinner and a show on Broadway in the Big Apple last night? Or is this one promise that needed to be broken and just hope that Michelle would still vote for him in 2012 anyway?

The president and first lady jetted to a date in New York late Saturday afternoon, aides and media in tow.

After dining a little more than two hours at Blue Hill, a West Village restaurant touted by New York magazine as a “seminal Greenmarket haven” that features food grown by chef and owner Dan Barber on his upstate farm, the president and first lady headed to the Belasco Theater to make it in time for “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.”

To be fair here, our first observation should go out to our Republican and conservative friends who were supporters of President Bush for the last eight years. If you didn’t complain – and do so loudly and often – about President Bush shattering all previous records for presidential vacation time in the midst of two wars that he began and various other crises, you should know how you look if you complain now. All those trips to Crawford and other destinations were on the public dime, involving Air Force One, staffers, supporting crew, etc. And they cost a fortune. If you take to the streets in manufactured outrage over this evening out, you are hypocrites, and there’s really no other way to put it.

Now, for the rest of our friends, if you were critical of President Bush for his vacationing ways, will you really just shrug your shoulders and say this is “no big deal” since it’s Obama going out on the town? The trip still involved three Gulfstream Jets, a large staff and press corps following, blocking off traffic for hours across several blocks in Manhattan on a Saturday afternoon and evening and a total taxpayer bill which the White House couldn’t even estimate for us. And it took place not only in the midst of two hot wars, but on the eve of GM likely going bankrupt and a rising unemployment rate where millions of Americans are wondering if they’ll be able to afford all their groceries next month. Could the optics of this Broadway fiasco possibly be any worse?

I told my wife during our first year of marriage that we were going to take a trip to Ireland together. She’s still waiting for that trip, and the way things are going it may have to remain on hold until we retire. Thankfully she hasn’t taken that as a reason to dump my belongings on the front lawn and send me packing… at least not yet. Somehow I think Michelle Obama would have forgiven the President if their evening on Broadway had to wait for a while. This was a dumb move by the White House all the way around.

As Gail Gitcho of the RNC asked, “If President Obama wants to go to the theater, isn’t the Presidential box at the Kennedy Center good enough?

Catch the varied reactions to this rather dim move at Memeorandum.