Should Obama go on vacation?

“Don’t go,” veteran Republican media strategist Mike Murphy emailed Thursday when I asked about Obama’s plan to vacation on the elite Massachusetts resort island from August 18 through August 27. “It’s not a good time to start acting like the rich guys he wants to raise taxes on.”

Former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough—normally an enthusiastic endorser of presidential downtime—also raised a red flag, but for different reasons. “I’m a strong believer in the president getting away from the White House and doing whatever he can for his mental state to run the country,” the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe told me. “That’s not only good for the president, it’s good for America. But In this case, I just believe that politically, the image of the president vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, while world markets are teetering on the brink of collapse, would send a horrific message—-not only to the market but to Middle America.”

Scarborough said the current controversy reminds him of Memorial Day Weekend 2010, when Obama insisted on relaxing in Chicago when many of his advisers were urging him to fly to the Gulf to show solidarity with victims of the BP oil spill. “He refused to do it, and got hammered for it politically,” Scarborough recalled. “We were told that ‘the president doesn’t do theater.’ I’m sorry, the president needs to do theater, baby.”