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GOP Congressman criticizes Obama’s one week vacation — in the middle of 5 week recess

chris-stewartEvery 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.

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Manny Schewitz is a progressive from the Dirty South with an inclination to say it like it is. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, author of the Kvetching with Manny column, and an unapologetic Bernie Sanders supporter. Manny also maintains an active presence on Facebook, and you can follow him on Twitter as well. Be sure to check out Manny's archives on Forward Progressives for more of his viewpoints.

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  • Howard Matthews

    Don’t they have to take a hypocritical oath when they get into office? I know they don’t need a High School Diploma or any sense of compassion, decorum, taste, thoughtfulness or even the ability to realize what they say is recorded these days….

  • Dale Mulkey

    most of Stewart’s constituents “could never afford to visit Martha’s Vineyard.” most of them cant afford to take a 5 week vacation either jackass

  • Mary J Smith

    whats a 5 week vacation? we just elected, last November, the representative for our district, so he’s not been in office 1 year. I had to work a full year to get a full weeks vacation, my son has been with the same company for 3 years and gets one week paid vacation…. i would really like a job where i can work only 126 days out of 260 possible working days,(AND get paid over 176K/annually) and then complain about the PRESIDENT taking time off – they are such hypocrites. btw – martha’s vineyard wouldn’t be my first choice for vacation, but to each their own… go President Obama – enjoy your time away from washington, d.c.

  • Tom Martin

    Republican Congress:
    Number 1 priority: Jobs & the economy
    40 votes against Obamacare
    Voted against “Violence Against Women Act”
    Voted against equal pay
    Voted against marriage equality
    Voted against abortion rights
    Voted against Sandy Relief
    94 Days in session from January 3 through July 31, 2013
    210 Bills passed (of 4000 referred to committee)
    Have NO idea what the “Debt Ceiling”is

    And they DARE complain that Obama has taken 92 days vacation (W had 367 by now). When are they going to earn their inflated pay? We know they’ve earned their lobbyist money, but aren’t they supposed to be working for us?

    • disqus_6AeSbMRBY2

      Now, Tom, to be fair, we need to list what the Republicans DID accomplish. They have introduced:
      46 bills on abortion,
      113 bills on religion,
      73 bills on “family relationships”,
      36 bills on marriage,
      72 bills on firearms,
      604 bills on taxation, and

      467 bills on government investigations.
      Oh and BTW, the group of tea partiers/Republicans who got elected in 2010 on the promise of “jobs, jobs, jobs?” They have introduced exactly ZERO jobs bills. THIS is what the Republicans call “accomplishment.”

      • William

        And exactly how many of those bills actually passed?

      • Pipercat

        The House or Senate?

      • Tom Martin

        Well the Senate has passed many bills renaming post offices, but that’s as far as they’ve gone.

        Another bill to note: H.R. 1133: Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2013
        After W got his (& before Obama starts his), this bill wants to know who donates (& how much) so there can be accountability. Of course we don’t need accountability on corporations paying our politicians. That would be crazy.

      • Dr_MJ

        W library and foundation is on the list of 10 worst charities because , they so much money on salaries and very little of the money goes to help the public. This might be an issue for him…

      • dancer61958

        We should also list what the President DID accomplish since a minority thinks it has been nothing. But pages would have to be written which is amazing since he is blocked most of the time.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        Here’s a short list of Obama’s accomplishments:

        Improve our economy— after 8 years of Bush policies crashed it
        Find, and order the killing of, Osama bin Ladin
        Save the American auto industry
        Reform student loans
        Pass landmark health care legislation which gave Americans with pre-existing conditions coverage (some for the very first time)
        Reform credit cards
        Pass Wall Street reform
        Bring our country out of one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression
        Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
        Publicly endorse marriage equality for same-sex couples
        Expand stem cell research
        Pass the Lilly Ledbetter Act
        Pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act
        Do more to push this country toward green energy alternatives than any President in history
        Preside over the largest reduction in year-to-year deficits since World War II
        Create nearly 7 million private sector jobs in his first 5 years in office

        You’re welcome

      • dancer61958

        Thanks…I know there were tons more but too many to list. Aside from this he won the Nobel Peace Prize and received the highest honor from Israel so the haters can be quiet. Even though they will deny it all because of the Koch Brothers propaganda think machines.

    • Betty

      Speaker Boehner’s legacy.

  • gailillly

    For the past five yrs. the ONLY ONE that has shown up every day to meet with the other side and try and work has been the PRESIDENT. While they have done NOTHING but repeal the ACA 40 FRIGGEN TIMES. THEY HAVE BLOCKED Obama on every bill, every nominee, every issue and why??? only ONE reason why, not because he is a Dem, not because he is not qualified for the job for he is, but because and this EATS AT THEM LIKE A CANCER, HE IS BLACK. They are full of HATE AND RACISM and they can’t stand the fact that the BLACK GUY WON TWICE AND LIVES IN ‘THEIR’ WHITE HOUSE. I am so god dam sick of this bullshit. they take more time off and get ridiculous paychecks to do absolutely nothing for life. The law should be: NO WORK THEN YOU RECEIVE NO PAY that is how it is for all of us.

    • ricklee228

      God I wish they would be forced to work for their pay and benefits because if they did they would be paying us for doing nothing. I hate the GOP and everything it stands for; hatred, discrimination, arrogance, old boys school, nepotism, self serving politics and just plain ruining this nations. they all need to be re-called for lack of performance of duties required by elected office. Are they not misrepresenting the office they ran for; “of the people, by the people, for the people”???? It’s all about their losing ‘trickle down economics and plain out discrimination. Obama is the best President we have had since Bill Clinton and history will uphold that fact.

      • WhoIsMyNeighbor

        You don’t understand. They are not working for pay and benefits, they are working for tips. Unfortunately, those tips are generally undeclared income.

      • LateNightLarry

        And those tips aren’t generally nickle and dime tips either… the Koch(roach) brothers tips are more on the order of a couple of hundred thousand dollars deposited in a Cayman Islands or Swiss bank account in their name… and NOT reported to the IRS.

    • Vivian E McPherson

      I agree 100%!! I can barely stand to look at the news because the repigs are always flapping their jaws, saying nothing!!

    • The Truth Hurts

      Riiiiiiiight…Maybe that’s where he was during BENGHAZI?

      • JSF

        Or Vegas baby!

  • Terry Kerkman

    This is our Government the reason I get up at the crack of dawn 6 days a week so they can enjoy my hard earned tax money. House members have been in Washington for 56% of all non-holiday weekdays — essentially, fewer than three days a week. Senators have walked into the Capitol for 61% of weekdays. Well if that stressful job doesn’t work out for them they can always become lobbyist. Seems ludicrous.

  • ricklee228

    I am not even going to waste my time in reading the article. The fact that some scum bag republican on a 5 week vacation is going to criticize the President for taking a week off? The GOP really is so sad and has no limit to the depth of desperate they will stoop. Ge4t the F*&^ back to work you scum bag and actually DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THIS NATION AND NOT YOUR LOSING CAUSES! Republican’s , you can’t live with them and they do not have an open season yet!!!! God help The United States of America and while your at it, liquidate the Tea Party because there is nothing worse than the same old crap just brewed a little differently.

  • William

    What I don’t get is why people continue to vote for the incumbents with this track record.

    • xnerd

      Its because the dimwits actually believe that anything that is not republican is a socialist. lol

      The have been taught by the media a false definition of what socialism is.

      its sort of embarrassing. actually.

      • Nicole Davis

        I wish I could like your comment so much. I think a majority of America needs to go back to school. I constantly have to school my friends on what is really going on.

    • John Waters

      Jerrymandering!

  • louis

    it is time to physically take to the streets and hunt these traitors and enemies of the state personally. I am so sick of this shit. meanwhile my sick mother has to work 50hours a week to continue to hold onto her home that Chase bank is trying to steal with their inflated interest rates. WTF people I am ready, let hang these son of a bitches from the closest street pole.

  • Theresa Roberts

    My definition of GOP..
    Government of..

    REPugnant
    Power Nazis
    Puritans
    Piss (waste-Void)
    Profit (self)
    Pest
    Puss
    Poverty (of the middle class )
    Poor judgement
    Pestilent
    Pro-Slavery
    Prohibition
    Pro-Death (for poor)
    Pro-Hate….
    …etc…etc…etc… !!!!!

  • David Orlowski

    It should be noted as a point of fact that the “5 week recess” is not a vacation. It is a period of time when members of both both the House of Representatives and the Senate return to work in their home districts and states, respectively. In order for members of congress to properly represent their constituents, these times away from Capitol Hill are necessary. The author touches on this, albeit in a manner that does make it seem like a vacation.

    I should note that I’m not disputing the assertion that Chris Stewart is an asshat. I’m also not trying to say that members of the House & Senate do not take vacation (they most assuredly do), nor am I trying to say that they or the president shouldn’t take vacation. I just want to make sure the purpose of this “5 week recess” is not misrepresented or misunderstood.

    • xnerd

      David, yes historically that is what the recess is for.

      having said that, they are on vacation.

      • David Orlowski

        Your local representative and senator are (supposedly) back in town right now. See if you can set up a meeting with them. Or even a phone call. This is not a rhetorical suggestion. I think it would be good for you to know for certain whether or not your congressmen/women are doing what they are expected to do.

        If you do take my suggestion, post the results here for everyone to see and help share the knowledge. We can help change the way Washington does business, but only if we know what they are truly doing.

    • Terry Kerkman

      Fair enough, but I’m pretty sure they spend most of their time meeting with contributor$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  • doxielady

    Thank you Manny, you took the words out of my mouth! I keep asking myself, who votes these imbeciles into office? Wait, I know, other imbeciles who believe the crap they spew to get elected!!!

  • Meg Faunce

    what a putrid pile of dung!!

  • Stuart McDonald

    My US House Rep from Utah in action. I should point out that the overwhelmingly Republican Mormon majority in the Utah legislature gerrymandered the Congressional districts here to include Salt Lake City proper (excluding it’s politically purple suburbs) with all of heavily Mormon Republican Western Utah, including St. George in southwestern Utah. So the reliably Democratic majority vote in Salt Lake City has been drowned out by the more populous right-wing crackpots in the rest of his/our district.

  • randy

    Where to start??? Bush spent most of his time away at his ranch, not trotting all over the globe on a family vacation spending millions. Perception- when most of the people in the country is hurting, he doesn’t care what he spends. Scandals with no merit? Please. Get some answers from Benghazi and we will see what has merit. Why was no help even scrambled, just in case it would have helped? Why did he go to bed and never briefed again? Why did they continue to lie about the video weeks later? Who changed the talking points? Why won’t someone bite the bullet and come clean? Lying is so much easier I guess

    • Terry Kerkman

      I guess you don’t remember the hearing on Capitol Hill? Do you really think if there was something sinister or even factual, that the GOP would have come out with it by now. They only have questions, just to plant a seed of doubt. But some of us like real facts, not just propaganda. Do you think we should re-investigate the 13 US Embassies that were attacked under the Bush Administration? And the question of help being sent has been answered many times.

    • Dr_MJ

      Bush, actually spent much more due to his use of air force one. to fly people in for the day so he did not have to go to Washington. And the Obama pay for all of their personal expenses. Any president needs the security and that is what costs so much. These same expenses were needed at the Ranch because the security folks had be flown there and they had to have shifts because bush stayed so long adding to the costs of security the parts that cost the most.

  • Economist2011

    worst congress ever. They couldn’t even come up with a better healthcare plan in all those votes trying dismantle Obamacare…which is working rather well for all things considered.

    • dancer61958

      I have had Romneycare for years and it’s working great the only thing good he did for my state.

  • jonathan

    i did not realize it was against the rules for democratic presidents to take vacations, but gop presidents like bush can vacation all the time. of course we can not forget the outrage that the gop has of obama going to a nice place to vacation. they did not seem to mind romney spending millions during the campaign to re-do one of his many homes, and put in a elevator for his cars. no one seemed to have a problem with that. they also did not mind the fact that mccain could not remember how many homes he owns. you see it is alright for republicans to vacation whenever they want, and spend lavishly, but not a member of the democratic party.

    • Bine646

      Obama is taking away white house visits bc of sequester cuts but them travel to africa, hawaii, golf trips w tiger. Guy is living the dream

      • dancer61958

        A well deserved dream having to put up with the crazy’s in this country!

      • Bine646

        That hes adding too? Guy has done nothing of which he said. Feel sorry for all the voters who were duped

      • dancer61958

        Who is paying you to believe or make these nonsense statements? The Koch Brothers? Before you make unfounded remarks maybe you should do research yourself. He has had the least days of vacation than any president look it up! Bush had way more! Some of you are a disgrace to this country! Leave the man alone.

      • Bine646

        Ahh yes quick bring up Bush- classsic and predictable. I notice you did not refute that Obama has done nothing of which he “promised.” Hahaha, no need for research on that subject

      • dancer61958

        If a statement is so classic or predictable as you so put it, then it must be true since so many American’s feel the same way. Scroll further down and see a list of accomplishments someone left a list of and it was just the tip of the iceberg. Seriously what politician in your recent memory has done ANYTHING they promised. It’s hard to keep promises when things have to be passed through the Senate and Congress and it constantly getting blocked. It is a known fact what Presidents took how many days for vacation…it’s all FACT not fiction like some of you would like to believe.Hopefully he can get things done with some help from his enemies. Praying for you and others like you…..God Bless and enjoy the next three years!

      • Bine646

        Im not sure many Americans feel that way about Obama- as the polls show. Isnt he at the same rating- as Bush? Hahaha who would of thought we’d see the day- but i guess when you promise things like an improved economy, immigration reform, winding down wars not entering new ones, gitmo, transparent govt, scaled back and open NSA program full of checks n balances- but do not deliver anything, people will start to turn against you- as the 48% approval rating shows.

        Do not forget, Obama himself signed in the Monsanto Act, giving a corporation (largest corporation) free reign over our food supply, removing all federal authority over the process- shows his blatent disregard for everyday Americans.

  • The Truth Hurts

    How much is Obama’s racist vacation costing taxpayers? Yeah, you forgot to mention the $$ or the fact that he hangs with only BLACK segregated friends…..

    • Dr_MJ

      much less than Bushes did because Bush would fly people in for the day with air force one and just taking off costs about 100, grand. On the other hand the Obamas pay for the cost of the vacations besides the expenses of the secret service and other security. Perhaps we should question why these things cost so much. Why involving the military at all cost outrageous amount of money. And his black segregated friends???? really???? who is that? lol I think the truth is hurting you and you are showing your bias.

      • Bine646

        Maybe jayz will make another rap about his buddy obama giving him the ok to travel to cuba, only to have Obama come out to say it wasnt his decision.

        Obama pays for the costs of his vacations- bahahahahahaha you do not believe that do you? Incredible

    • dancer61958

      hmmm another Koch Brother recipient hell bent to believe the propaganda set forth by think tanks and Fox news. The Tea Party is going down the next election! I’m ashamed to be an American with such racist comments coming from them. It sickens me. You must live in the south..doesn’t surprise me! Praying for all of you. God isn’t racist think about it…unless you don’t believe in God which wouldn’t surprise me either. The world is coming to an end very soon. Then you all will have to answer to the highest power. Never mind a President!

  • ginaliving

    They ‘work’ 126 days this year and kids go to school for 180 days. Fortunately, the kids get more done than this bunch of do-nothings.

    • Terry Kerkman

      Which means teachers work more days also. Isn’t it ironic gina, how our great Representatives have the audacity to ask Teachers to take a cut in benefits and pay. As well as take away any bargaining power they had. Enough is,enough!

  • Michael Siever

    The pot just called the kettle the “N-word”.

  • Joe

    Fukushima is spilling 300 tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific ocean daily and you libtards are concerned about a freeking rodeo clown. Monsanto foods cause cancer and you libtards are concerned about a hispanic in Florida. Your healthcare plan has driven up taxes and killed jobs by the hundreds and you libtards are concerned about your brother marrying his boyfriend. The administration is pecking away at your Constitutional Rights daily, which include being spied on in all aspects of yor lives as well as a drone program which could well bite you all in the ass, and you libtards are concerned about Walmart being non-union. Ask yourself what’s really going on before you compare Congressional recess to another vacation taken by the president. BTW, the folks at Martha’s Vineyard really don’t want him there to visit anymore.

  • JSF

    Dennis Miller:

    “Really, all kidding aside. Aren’t any of you who feel Obama is a
    godsend, the best President you’ve seen in your lifetime, the least bit
    bothered that his signature piece of legislation, an ostensibly
    compassionate healthcare act to heal the land and spread “fairness” will
    not apply to his closest friends, political affiliates, supportive
    unions and donors?”

  • PATENTOR

    GUYS — the longer THIS congress is off the better off America is.

  • Roxanne

    These petty complaints are nothing more (or less!) than dog-whistle issues conservatives use to stir up their racist base. No, they don’t feel hypocritical or look stupid to one another when they complain about Obama taking vacations, putting his foot on the desk, having an umbrella held during a speech, or talking on his cell phone as he walks by a Marine giving him a salute (because Obama should interrupt his calls to show proper respect, return every salute given to him by all of the soldiers and officers he is surrounded by on any given day–after all, how important can the President’s calls be?).

    It means nothing and is totally irrelevant that Republican presidents did the exact same things. The point is not to say, “Oh look what a terrible thing Obama did now! Republican presidents would never bring such disgrace upon us..” The message is, “Oh would ya look at what this uppity nicker is doing now. Vacation! And on Martha’s Vineyard. La-deea-da! He thinks he’s white!” Their outrage isn’t about the photo or event itself, it’s about the uppity black president having the nerve (and self confidence) to take off work, make himself at home in the Oval Office with his foot on the desk, allow a military serviceman to hold an umbrella for him, and continue his phone call without interruption as he passed by a Marine saluting him. It’s about the President behaving presidentially, like a leader. Well brought up black men in the South know they aren’t actually equal to whites, and they behave with an appropriate sense of humility and deference. When they behave like they think they’re equal to whites, or god forbid, superior! they’re being uppity and asking for a lynching.