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President Obama On Vacation

So recently there has been a lot of tut-tutting in the media and on the blogs over President Obama's vacation on Martha's Vineyard. David Frum has an interesting take on the whole, errr, debate:
Let's dial back and introduce some reality to this partisan point-scoring.

The president of the United States never gets a vacation, not really. The nuclear football follows wherever the president goes. He receives the daily intelligence briefing every morning, including Christmas. The decisions never stop, the cares of state never lighten, the burden of responsibility is never lifted.

When a president goes "on vacation," here's what happens:

1) He or she is spared the ceremonial parts of the job: the state dinners, the meetings with the girl who sold the most Girl Scout cookies that year, that kind of thing;

2) The other members of the first family are liberated from living inside the White House, aptly described by Harry Truman as "the crown jewel of the federal prison system."

But this game of tallying "vacation days" to make a point about presidential work ethic tells us nothing. Franklin Roosevelt devised the concept of Lend Lease, which provided aid to Britain and other nations in the early years of World War II, while on a two-week cruise through the Caribbean in December 1940. That seems a very good week's work -- even if he also managed to find time for a little sunbathing.

We don't measure presidential productivity by hours spent behind a desk in Washington. We measure by results.

Even sillier than complaints about days away from Washington is the tit for tat whereby presidential vacations are used by one set of partisans to depict another set of partisans as "out of touch."
My emphasis.

I don't have any problem with the First Family taking a vacation. My job is far less stressful and dammit -- I need a vacation too! To equate vacation time (within reason) with work ethic would be a mistake, particularly as it relates to one of/the most stressful jobs on the planet. And, as Frum points out, the President never really gets a vacation.

All of that said, I will concede the point that the optics are bad. With the number of Americans who are without jobs or living below the poverty line, the economy struggling to recover from recession and several major military deployments around the globe -- it simply looks bad when the President takes a break. I get that.

But, seriously folks. There are far more important issues over which you can levy criticism of this President.

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Photo: AP