Every year since President Obama has taken office, there’s the GOP tradition of attacking him for taking a vacation. This year as he usually does, the President is staying in Martha’s Vineyard and of course, Congressman Chris Stewart couldn’t help criticizing him for taking the week off – while he’s in the middle of a 5 week recess.
From The Washington Post:
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) was an exception, telling a newspaper last week that the choice made the president appear “tone deaf” because most of Stewart’s constituents “could never afford to visit Martha’s Vineyard.”
I’ll tell you what is “tone deaf,” Congressman Stewart — complaining about other people taking a break, while you and the rest of Congress are sitting at home in your district for five weeks. If you want to complain about your constituents not being able to afford to visit Martha’s Vineyard, then maybe we should look at the fact that your party has been more interested in passing meaningless repeal after meaningless repeal of the Affordable Care Act than a jobs bill. If you want to complain about the cost of it, then maybe we should look at the fact Congressional Republicans have been more interested in holding hearing after costly hearing on made up scandals which have yet to find anything other than the fact the IRS was actually doing the job it is supposed to do.
This vacation “scandal” isn’t a new thing, either. It was brought up during the Clinton administration among others. Hell, if you think George W. Bush was absent from Washington (and I’m talking about physically absent, not mentally) a lot, John Adams spent 7 months at his farm in 1798 to take care of his wife Abigail and he was accused of abdicating his office. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison also took extended breaks from Washington, and the place didn’t fall apart in their absence either.
Let’s be clear on one thing here; this is all just ridiculous, juvenile partisan nonsense. It’s incredibly hypocritical, to the point of looking like a complete idiot, to criticize the President for taking time off with his family when you’re a member of the least productive Congress in history. Especially when you just took a 5 week recess and you’re only going to work a whopping total of 9 days in September.
Here’s another thing we need to get straight — Congress gets to go back to their districts and talk about how they’ve voted over 3 dozen times to repeal Obamacare and how they kept grandpa’s squirrel rifle from being confiscated by the NRA’s imagined UN stormtroopers. In fact, Congress was only scheduled to work a whopping 126 days in all of 2013 and they want to criticize the President for taking a week off here and a couple days there?
If you want to take issue with President Obama, there’s some things to choose from. You can talk about domestic spying programs, unless you were supporting them while Bush was in office. You could bring up drone strikes and military interventions, unless you voted for them under Bush. Or you could continue to bring up vacation nonsense if you’d like, and I’ll happily remind you that Bush took 4 times as many days away from Washington by this point in his presidency.
The thing is, unlike Congress, the President is never completely off the job. Like a firefighter, it may look like he’s not working, but he could be woken up or interrupted at any moment to take care of an urgent matter. Imagine signing up for a 4 or 8 year job in which you are followed around at all times by someone who holds a briefcase with nuclear launch codes, an entourage of Secret Service agents and aides that are always just outside your door. In this age of telecommuting, the President does not have to be behind a desk to do his job. That’s why the vacation thing is a non-issue to me — both now and when Bush was in office.
So go ahead, talk about this worn-out partisan nonsense if you’d like. However, if you are or you voted for one of the members of the do-nothing Congress who are making this an issue once again, you just look stupid.