Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Badly-Timed Vacation

Ending a rant about the First Lady’s vacation in Spain, Republican Party head Rush Limbaugh commented

Skip Gates has a place on Martha's Vineyard so the Obamas are gonna go up there. And they've been to Spain. Well, Obama didn't go, but these people vacation left and right and there's no criticism of it. "Well, presidents need their vacation time." Bush didn't, of course. Bush didn't. Bush refused to play golf during the Iraq war. Obama plays golf, shoots hoops. "Presidents need their recreation time." Bush didn't but Obama does.

It may be petty to point out that President George W. Bush spent all or part of 487 days at Camp David and 490 days at his Crawford ranch during his two-term presidency and that President Obama, as of July 16, 2010, had spent all or part of 65 days on vacation. (At this point in his presidency, the comparable figure for GWB was 120 days). Or that following the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, President Bush vowed to give up golfing for the duration of his presidency- a promise he broke.

This, however, is not petty. As we learn from a June, 2006 article in The Washington Post describing investigating journalist Ron Suskind’s “One Percent Solution”:

The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president's attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

Now, that’s a president determined not to allow his vacation to be interrupted by trivial concerns.

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