Our poliitical Quote of the Day comes from GOPer David Frum who again illustrates why he is a must-read for independent voters, moderates or Republicans who are not enamored with 21st century conservatism or the country’s talk radio political culture. He cuts away all the partisan silliness, posturing and outright hypocrisy to say this about the bro-ha-ha over Barack Obama’s vacations (less time that George W. Bush at this point in his term):
Let’s dial back and introduce some reality to this partisan point-scoring.
The president of the United States never gets a vacation, not really. The nuclear football follows wherever the president goes. He receives the daily intelligence briefing every morning, including Christmas. The decisions never stop, the cares of state never lighten, the burden of responsibility is never lifted.
When a president goes “on vacation,” here’s what happens:
1) He or she is spared the ceremonial parts of the job: the state dinners, the meetings with the girl who sold the most Girl Scout cookies that year, that kind of thing;
2) The other members of the first family are liberated from living inside the White House, aptly described by Harry Truman as “the crown jewel of the federal prison system.”
But this game of tallying “vacation days” to make a point about presidential work ethic tells us nothing. Franklin Roosevelt devised the concept of Lend Lease, which provided aid to Britain and other nations in the early years of World War II, while on a two-week cruise through the Caribbean in December 1940. That seems a very good week’s work — even if he also managed to find time for a little sunbathing.
We don’t measure presidential productivity by hours spent behind a desk in Washington. We measure by results.
Frum has more to say but this pretty much says it.
There is now in the United States a mega industry centered around whipping up (often fake and hypocritical) outrage. It can attract great viewership, listenership, and audience which can be delivered to advertisers. It can also whip partisans into line, stirring up hatred and resentment against someone who has a different party label in front of their name and get them out to vote and win elections. It can whip up anger so it’s easier for political parties to get contributions.
But to some Americans this is becoming increasingly tiresome, childish and trite.
David may I use a word I don’t like to do but have on occasion on a post I’ve agree with?
FOOTNOTE: I STRONGLY recommend David Frum’s website The Frum Forum if you share his sentiments on this and also seek to read posts that don’t sound like transcripts taken off of talk radio or an ideological cable talk show.
P.S. To those who care about facts here’s part of what Factcheck.org says about Obama’s vacation time and other Presidents:
President Obama has spent all or part of 26 days “on vacation” during his first year as president, according to CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller…
President Reagan, in 1981, spent all or part of 42 days away from the White House “on vacation” at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif, according to Knoller. President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, also spent three or four days around New Year’s Day each year in Palm Springs, Calif., at the home of philanthropist Walter Annenberg. (In 1993 the late Mr. Annenberg founded the nonpartisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which is FactCheck.org’s parent organization.)
President George W. Bush spent even more time away from the presidential mansion in the nation’s capital than Reagan. Of the 77 total “vacation” trips the former president made to his Texas ranch while in office, nine of them — all or part of 69 days — came during his first year as president in 2001, according to Knoller.
Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, spent less time “on vacation” during his first year than his son, but spent more days than President Obama. According to travel records provided to FactCheck.org by the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the former president took six trips — spanning all or part of 40 days — to the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1989. The archivist at Bush’s presidential library told us she didn’t have a list of all vacations but did have the Kennebunkport visits.
But at least two recent presidents — by Knoller’s count — took less “vacation” time during their first year than President Obama — Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
Of course, I’m SURE that if you check back some of the same folks attacking Obama for his vacation time were also going after Reagan, and GWB.
(OOPS! Never mind..)
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.