File this in your ever thickening Political Hypocrisy File: Republicans are criticizing President Barack Obama for taking so much vacation time, but there’s one teenie-weenie problem: George W. Bush took more vacation time (and they didn’t complain then).
And Democrats, who criticized Bush, aren’t complaining about Obama.
VINEYARD HAVEN, MASS. — 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.
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.
Welcome to the 21st century where the talk radio political culture — attack, define, and who cares about facts because if you repeat it often enough many people will accept it as a fact — has virtually seized control of our political life.
This flap should be in the same Hypocrisy File as the item about Arizona Senator John McCain’s campaign commercial in which the former maverick said that, by golly, it’s time now to finish that gosh, darn border fence (which McCain never clamored to have built befpre– until he was faced with a conservative Republican primary foe). Or the sudden outrage by Democrats over Republicans’ use of the filibuster and calls to get rid of it. Democrats embraced the filibuster when they were on the outs in the Senate.
Consistency means nothing: it’s all about looking for the slightest pretext to attack and try to define the other side.
CBS’s fact check will probably have as much impact as news reports that noted that Barack Obama was indeed born in the United States, is not a Muslim, and that the proposed mosque at Ground Zero is in fact two blocks away from Ground Zero.
The media had done many stories when Bush was President about his many vacations and the amount of vacation time he was racking up — but Republicans either said nothing or on talk radio said that a hard-working President deserves vacation time.
Apparently, they meant only a President who has an “R” in front of his name..
In the Great Minds Think Alike Department, here’s Steve Benen:
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?
….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”?
That is fairly obvious, of course, considering that it is only the vociferous partisans that seem to bring this issue up time and time again when Presidents engage in the most inane types of leisure activities…
….One can argue about the President’s performance in office, and I largely think he’s done a pretty bad job so far, but to criticize him for stuff like this is petty and stupid. Additionally, wasting blog posts criticizing the President’s leisure activities isn’t solid political analysis, it’s the political hackery no different from what we saw on the left during the Bush Administration. It tells the world that you have nothing of substance to say other than I hate that guy because he’s a Democrat/Republican. Then again, this all started with a post at the RNC’s blog, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
What would be surprising?
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.