Tired from Your Efforts or Just Plain Tired?

by Dave Schuler on August 23, 2014

I have a certain amount of sympathy with the president for the amount of flak he’s getting over his vacations and golf-playing. He’s not the fist president to be the subject of criticism for the amount of golf he’s playing. Ike received almost identical complaints. And the president’s vacation time isn’t out of step with the amount of vacation time logged by recent presidents. George W. Bush actually had taken more vacation by this point in his presidency and received criticism for it.

However, I think that even the president’s most ardent supporters need to acknowledge that the president’s statement on the murder of journalist James Foley by ISIL/ISIS terrorists to the effect of “we deeply symmpathize with the members of the Foley family over this heinous…etc.—now where’s that 5-iron?” was tone-deaf. There were probably better alternatives.

My own preference would be refusing to grant access to reporters until after he’d completed his golf game but, then, he’d’ve been criticized for that, too. You just can’t win when you’re president which explains why I’ve never in my wildest most callow imagination dreamed of such a thing. President Obama must certainly be wondering why he pursued the job with such vigor right about now.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

... August 23, 2014 at 10:45 am

Obama was also tone deaf in his announcement of the airliner getting shot down over Ukraine. About 38 seconds of commentary before going straight into schmoozing & jokes.

The President is getting bit on the ass not just because of the vacations & golf. He appears tone deaf on many issues at the moment. He made a point when running for the office of saying the President shouldn’t take vacations unless everything is going well. (And nothing is going well at the moment.) He seems completely disconnected from the process of governing and seems to be going out of his way to alienate legislators from his own party. Increasingly, Dem congressional personnel are complaining on the record about the cold shoulder they’re getting from Obama. I don’t ever recall hearing about such an aloof president in my lifetime.

Even the press, who have literally been worshipping him as a god (when they weren’t publicly cunning on national television at the mere thought of him), are losing patience with his utter detachment and imperious nature.

This is about more than vacations & golf. It’s about someone that seems to want all the perks and none of the responsibilities of the office while everything goes to hell.

Dave Schuler August 23, 2014 at 11:43 am

Increasingly, Dem congressional personnel are complaining on the record about the cold shoulder they’re getting from Obama.

The president’s disinterest in building relationships with members of Congress as a means of furthering his agenda is something I’ve been complaining about since the beginning of his presidency. When asked about it, the president thought it was funny and I think many of his fellow Democrats agreed. They didn’t realize he wasn’t interested in building relationships with them, either.

... August 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Joke’s on them then.

steve August 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm

When you do the numbers it comes out to a round of gold every other week. Assume 6 hours for a round. Those 6 hours would really make a difference? Also, his vacation numbers are actually way below those of Bush2 and Reagan. Clinton took less, but I doubt that would surprise most people.

Steve

jan August 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Also, his vacation numbers are actually way below those of Bush2 and Reagan. Clinton took less, but I doubt that would surprise most people.

Bush was way out in front of Obama on full vacation days — 381 to Obama’s 129. However, many of these days were logged in at what was considered Bush’s Western WH in Texas, where he spent time away from Washington at his own modest western compound, completely equipped with what was needed to engage in presidential matters. Bush also went to Camp David more than Obama — again a dedicated presidential retreat.

As for other getaways, Obama has played 186 rounds of golf to Bush’s paltry 24, and has attended 400 fund raisers to date to the 224 that were on Bush’s schedule for the same amount of time in office. IMO, it is the cumulative effect and public impressions, of these President’s past times and off hours, which create the given perceptions held by the public — whether they are accurate and inaccurate.

Also, in Bush’s case he was often photographed doing brush cleaning and common work while on “vacation” at his Texas home. He altogether quit playing golf because of the urgencies of the wars in the ME, and out of respect for the times of crisis being experienced by this country. Obama’s vacations, golfing excusions, opulant parties and political functions have been much splashier, more elite-appearing and spent in affluent tony, places like Martha’s Vineyard, Hawaii, Aspen, Paris shopping trips for Michelle’s extensive entourage etc, special dates in NYC — all amidst a populace struggling with debt and war, while being told to tighten their own belts as the POTUS appeared indulgent in carrying on with his own recreational, fund-raising proclivities.

Consequently, even though there is no statistical proof indicting Obama has gone out of bounds in his vacations, the optics, the grandiosity of the Obama’s free time, the huge staffs required, the many accoutrements lugged around is open for misinterpretation by people who may see this as ill-timed extravagance, especially in lieu of all the chaos and problems that seem to be brimming over us. .

gray shambler August 23, 2014 at 7:20 pm

I’m sick and tired of these websites trashing the first African President over and over because He doesn’t throw the military at every group advancing the caliphate. He was elected for a reason, and that is not to preserve western values over those of Islams’ dominant innocence.

... August 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Steve, you make it sound like he’s spending six hours on a round of golf, but it’s much more than that. He isn’t popping down to the local country club. An awful lot of those rounds are spent, for example, in south Florida. It takes a bit more time to get here from DC than would be allotted for by six hours.

Add into that the fund raisers while he’s here, and then tack on the thirty minute photo op to make certain the tax payers and their credit card foot the bill, and it doesn’t look so good.

Especially when his sycophantic worshippers tell me, as one did on Twitter yesterday, that the whole time Obama is playing golf somewhere like Martha’s Vineyard he is torturing himself with his concern for the poor. Gotta tell ya, as the only poor person commenting here, I’m not feeling the love.

... August 23, 2014 at 11:11 pm

And Steve, making it out at your numbers, it isn’t a mere six hours. It is ~118 x 6 hours, which is 708 hours, I believe. Or almost 18 weeks at a 40 hour a week job. Not counting the travel time mentioned earlier.

Maybe I’m not remembering things like I used to, but I recall being able to get a lot done in that amount of time. For example, he could have met with the congressional leadership from his own party. Or fuck it, he could have done some of that on the golf course.

Finally, this is another case of the President saying one thing when he was a candidate, and doing the opposite as a President. And another case of his supporters going, “Well, yeah, but he sucks marginally less than the other guy, who we said sucked the most, so uh…..”

... August 23, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Oh, I can’t help it. Are you really going to compare Obama’s vacation usage to Reagan? Obama who was elected in his forties and who takes pride in his fitness versus Reagan who was sworn in days before turning seventy and was nearly fatally wounded by an assassin’s bullet five months into his term?

You Obama worshippers are a real trip.

Andy August 24, 2014 at 5:54 am

I agree it was bad optics and tone-deaf, but otherwise I don’t really care about Presidential vacations. I’m much more bothered with all the time spent fundraising for partisan politic purposes, particularly since the US taxpayer is funding the travel to those events. It’s one thing to take vacation time, which I think is warranted given how stressful the job is – it’s quite another to take so much time from Executive responsibilities for partisan political activity. I know that’s something all Presidents do, but I think it’s much more egregious than vacations or golf.

steve August 24, 2014 at 7:40 am

“s 708 hours, I believe.”

Out of 6 1/2 years. I believe you can do the math on that also. So, to carry this out further, you reference a 40 hour work week, If you really believe he should only work 40 hours a week, then why care what he does for one day every other weekend? Meh. I suspect that at some level you must realize that the POTUS is never truly “off” like most people. The advisors and com gear follow him everywhere. So, I think it is just sniping with no real basis in fact as a problem. As Andy notes, the fundraising is more of an issue, but that is not limited to POTUS.

Steve

CStanley August 24, 2014 at 9:26 am

It’s really about the bigger picture, IMO.

Golf is a time consuming sport, but it is feprequently used to cultivate business relationships. From what I’ve seen, Obama never seems to do that though- instead, he golfs with personal friends, celebrities, and sports figures.

Same for his general leisure time. The only “schmoozing” he makes time for is at fundraisers (probably not much of a chore since they are often star studded events.)

So it’s not just the amount of leisure time, but what he does with it as well as how well he’s accomplishing his job during the working hours. Employers generally won’t begrudge employees taking vacation, and even leaving the office early, if that person is getting the job done well.

POTUS is meant to be head of government as well as head of state. Obama seems disinterested in the first, and he’s starting to falter on the second as well (the optical disharmony of switching gears so quickly from a speech about national empathy and resolve in the face of a brutal killing, to his playtime on the links.)

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