Here are the headline and synopsis of Fox News’s article on Republican criticism of the Obamas’ Broadway date night in New York:
Obamas’ Date Night in New York City Draws Criticism
Even before the Obamas left Washington, the there-and-back trip drew criticism from Republicans who questioned the president’s decision to travel to New York for a night of entertainment during a recession and while automakers struggle to survive.
This is, as you might (should) expect from Fox News, incredibly stupid.
First, the only Republican criticism cited comes from the RNC. No specific Republicans are quoted. The RNC is obviously looking to score any political points it can, and, under Michael Steele (but not solely because of him), it has turned itself into a comedy of errors and, for the most part, an irrelevance.
Second, are the Obamas not allowed to do anything normal? Are they not allowed to enjoy themselves? Yes, it’s a serious economic crisis, and, yes, many Americans are suffering, but it’s not like the Obamas should submit to a life of monastic deprivation and denial. Barack told Michelle he’d take her to a show after the election. That’s all. Taking time off, a brief time off, to take in a show does not mean that Obama doesn’t care about the economy or about General Motors or about what’s happening to ordinary Americans (almost all of whom, I’m sure, like their various entertainments even, or especially, during times of economic crisis and personal uncertainty).
Third, where was the RNC — and where was Fox News — when Bush took time off to golf, or clear brush, after 9/11? Was that not a time of crisis? (We were certainly told it was, as Bush and Cheney did their utmost to scare Americans into submission.)
Fourth, what’s wrong with going to see a show in New York? The Fox News article lists shows the Obamas could have seen in Washington. But so what? Are they only allowed to enjoy themselves, only allowed to seek out entertainment, inside the Beltway?
Fifth, a date night with his wife hardly takes much time away from Obama’s presidency. He works long hours. He is, unlike Bush, a president who is clearly on top of things. Taking a night off (not that he’s ever really off the job) to spend some quality time with Michelle, and to relax, is probably just what he needed. And what? Republicans in Washington are avoiding anything resembling entertainment at the moment? While Obama was in New York, they were all reading policy papers and thinking about the state of the economy? Yeah, sure they were. I realize the president is held to higher standards even than a mere senator — or at least Obama is; I’m not sure Bush was — but this is ridiculous.
As far as I’m concerned, Obama’s “night of entertainment” was fully deserved. But Fox News, like the RNC — and Fox News is pretty much just an organ of the Republican Party anyway — is both deeply partisan and anti-Obama, and, here as elsewhere, it rarely passes up an opportunity, even one it makes up on its own, to smear the president. In a time of economic crisis, it is Fox News that is wasting everyone’s time and diverting attention away from what really matters.
(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)