Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Nasty, And Temporary

It's all in the family.

Throughout the Obama presidency, the President's detractors on the right have complained that he takes too many costly vacations or plays too much golf.

Of course, any golf is too much golf.  Still, the silliness reached its apex last month when

Rep. Louie Gohmert introduced an amendment to a government funding bill that would prohibit any public money from supporting Obama’s golf outings, Politico reported. He tied his demand to the White House’s decision to cancel public tours due to the sweeping budget cuts known as the sequester.

“None of the funds made available by a division of this Act may be used to transport the President to or from a golf course until public tours of the White House resume,” the amendment reads.

Public funds are used to pay for President Obama’s transportation and security outside the White House, making it impossible for him to golf without spending some taxpayer dollars.

Still not satisfied, one right-wing outlet now has criticized the President's daughters for going on vacation, thus spending taxpayer dollars.   Matthew Boyle of Breitbart.com has revealed the venue of the upcoming vacation of Sasha and Malia and maintains "it is unclear" how long they will be there

or what the cost will be to taxpayers.

Earlier this month, the White House canceled public tours as a result of the recent budget sequester, citing Secret Service staffing costs. 

According to Judicial Watch, Malia Obama's trip to Mexico last spring break, during which she was apparently accompanied by Secret Service protection, cost taxpayers $115,500.87. Sasha did not accompany Malia on that trip.

The right wing leaves no stone unturned in arguing that the sequester, which is expected as of September to cost approximately 750,000 Americans their jobs and slow growth by roughly 1.5 percent, is merely a minor nuisance.   But Media Matters explains Boyle was "ignoring the decades-old journalistic tradition that media outlets should not report on a president's minor children when they are not attending "official or semi-official events" for privacy and security reasons."  After some websites reported on a trip Malia took to Mexico in 2012, they removed the story.  Her mother's communications director then announced

From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.

At the time, the Washington Post noted a "taboo" on stories or photographs of minors in a President's family aside from official and semi-official events  "through many administrations by informal agreement with the White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents the interests of journalists who cover the president."

The costs, direct and indirect, of protecting a President and his/her family should not be ignored.  Still, a little perspective, understandably ignored by the right, should be applied.   The Associated Press has found

Being the leader of the free world is an expensive proposition. But the costs don't stop once you leave the White House.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says the federal government spent nearly $3.7 million on former presidents last year. That covers a $200,000 pension, compensation and benefits for office staff, and other costs like travel, office space and postage.

The costliest former president? George W. Bush, who clocked in at just over $1.3 million. That includes almost $400,000 for 8,000 square feet of office space and $85,000 in telephone costs.

That item appeared Monday, March 25, 2013.  If you find such complaints trivial and/or mean-spirited, don't be dismayed.  They will continue only 34 months after which, if a Republican assumes office, they will end.  

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