A Twitter friend insists that this is apples and oranges because Reagan and Bush were “vacationing” at their homes/ranches whereas The One’s on a true holiday up at the Vineyard. There’s something to that, but it’s not the home/hotel distinction. Like Krauthammer said last night on Fox, the optics of clearing brush are waaaaay different from the optics of hobnobbing with the creme de la creme of tax-me-more liberal millionaires. He might as well have gone to Aspen and done a photo op with Barbra Streisand of the two of them drinking thousand-dollar champagne.
Maybe Peggy Noonan’s right. Maybe this guy doesn’t much care what people think anymore because he’s more or less given up:
On the timing, there’s an air of economic crisis hanging over everything, a sense that other shoes may drop. Actually it’s a sense of something impending, with unemployment high, Europe broke and the Mideast reaching full boil. A politician who wanted to impart a sense of leadership in crisis, who passionately wanted to keep the presidency, and who was prudently anxious about his prospects, just might let such a moment change his plans.
As for the location, the president loves Martha’s Vineyard, and there’s a lot to love—beautiful beaches, hills, biking. But it’s a little island whose summertime population is dominated by those who, due to their affluence, are essentially detached from everyday life in America. It’s a playground of the liberal rich: hedge-fund maestros, network producers, Wall Street heavyweights, left-leaning activists. It’s the kind of place that reverberates in the national imagination—that tags you as elitist no matter how many g’s you drop…
It seems important to him to be true to himself—not to be the kind of person who’d poll-test a vacation. Or maybe he thinks that no matter what he does, it won’t work, so what the heck. But his decision to go now, and there, seems either ham-handed or vaguely defiant.
As for the number of vacation days he’s taken, it seems like more than it really is because his weekend golf outings get so much media play. That’s not “vacation,” it’s just Saturday afternoon, but when you’ve got three wars on your hands plus a stubbornly horrendous economy and plenty of reasons to believe things are about to get worse, not better, every leisure outing seems badly, badly tone deaf. If he winds things down in Iraq and Libya and manages to knock unemployment down under six percent, not only will I not begrudge him that ski trip with Barbra, I’ll pop for the Dom. Exit question: What’s he doing with all the extra time he has on his hands compared to Reagan and Bush? Oh, right.