Good news: Hard-workin' president taking another vacation

Hey, a man’s got a right. You think those East Room ceremonies with championship sports teams are as easy as they look? Besides, performing the Miracle of the Disappearing Oil has taken a lot out of him. It’s like when Yoda raised Luke’s fighter out of the Dagobah swamp: When you’re tossing out that much Jedi mojo, you need a good hard rest afterwards.

His next planned miracle, by the way? Taking responsibility for the economy instead of blaming Bush every five minutes. Save your strength, champ.

There they go again. For the fifth time since July, the first family has set plans to board Air Force One for a frilly vacation, a 10-day return trip to exclusive Martha’s Vineyard where they are expected to stay at the 28-acre oceanfront Blue Heron Farm that rents for up to $50,000 a week.

But first the Obamas will be traveling to the Gulf Coast of Florida for a mini-vacation as a way to encourage other vacationing Americans to head to the beaches that have been shunned by tourists worried about oil-slicked sands due to the Gulf oil spill. They are expected to travel to Florida this weekend, return to Washington for a few days then it’s off to the Massachusetts island August 19…

There are two angles to the criticism: The Obamas are flaunting their status at a time of economic hardship around the country and the costs to taxpayers are too high. The White House, and all past White Houses for that matter, dismiss the criticisms. But for the record, an administration official addressed the cost issue to Whispers, saying, “hotel bills and restaurants are paid for privately. Security and transportation fall under the same rules as have applied to any previous first family travel—the costs are split appropriately with private expenses paid for privately. Government expenses are paid for by the government,” says the official.

The point about ritziness during a recession is fair enough but I don’t think the public cares about the cost. Security and transportation are priced into the presidency under any circumstances. What hurts The One is the perception of detachment, which is why the meme about him playing golf during the worst days of the oil spill got such traction. In fact, scroll down to the end of the U.S. News piece above and you’ll see that he actually hasn’t taken much vacation time at all — just a few days here and there, with Michelle’s solo royal excursion to Spain the only one that drew any attention. It’s the day-to-day tone-deafness, like crooning “Hey Jude” with Paul McCartney while the media’s reporting another gajillion gallons of oil in the gulf and a looming apocalypse in the Middle East and a possible double dip recession on the way, that grates. Doesn’t he care how it looks, if only because he’s got a killer election less than three months away? I’m guessing … no, he really doesn’t, or else his press secretary wouldn’t be walking around insulting the liberal base. Mystifying.