Putting Country Ahead of Vacation
posted at 10:15 am on August 20, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Before President Obama boarded the flight to Martha’s Vineyard on Thursday to begin ten days of much-needed and well-deserved R&R, he attended to some last-minute business: He recorded his weekly address, usually reserved for Saturdays. Can’t have those burdensome job-related tasks interfering with your golf game!
The theme of this particular address, recorded at a country store in Illinois, was “what Washington politicians can learn from the folks.” (“The folks” is Obama’s homey way of referring to you, the taxpayer.)
Now, I’m out here for one reason: I think Washington, DC can learn something from the folks in Atkinson and Peosta and Cannon Falls. I think our country would be a whole lot better off if our elected leaders showed the same kind of discipline and integrity and responsibility that most Americans demonstrate in their lives every day.
The president exhibited his own discipline and self-restraint the following evening by taking the missus out to a restaurant where starters average $16 and entrees run around $37. Sides, which are extra, cost $8. Add in dessert, coffee, and booze, and dinner had to set Obama back at least $200 after tax and tip were factored in.
I know, I know: It’s the president’s money (one assumes), and he has a right to indulge himself. The problem, however, is not whether he is justified in spending $50,000 (!) on a vacation but how it looks at a time when the economy is flat-lining. You can’t tell the “folks,” as he did in his Saturday—whoops, Wednesday—address that “we’re going through a tough time right now” when you’re dining on twin Menemsha lobsters at $48 a pop.
The president’s words ring doubly hollow when he lectures members of Congress for putting “country ahead of party.” Even giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he does not mean Republicans, who is he to dispense that advice after repeatedly accusing the GOP of having driven “the country into a ditch”?
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