President Obama and his family head off on their fourth summer vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, prompting the usual chorus of attacks from right-wing pundits.
Utah Rep. Chris Stewart said the president’s vacation to upscale Martha’s Vineyard is “tone deaf” because much of the country is still struggling economically, taking a page directly from the Sarah Palin script, who used the same language to hit Obama for his 2011 visit.
“Most of the people in my district could never afford to visit Martha’s Vineyard, and those who could would feel uncomfortable vacationing in a place that has a reputation for being for the elite,” Stewart told USAToday.
“When there are so many people out there looking for jobs and Americans are struggling to make ends meet, this sends the wrong message to people who are struggling to survive,” Diana Waterman, chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, added.
The right-wing media has been working on this line of attack for most of the week.
Sean Hannity accused the president of “living a pretty extravagant lifestyle” on Tuesday’s program. He and a conservative guest lashed out at a Democratic strategist guest who pointed out that President Bush had logged far more vacation time by the same point in his presidency. Their counter argument? Because Bush vacationed at his ranch in Crawford, Tx., clearing brush, chopping wood, and staying in contact, it wasn’t really a vacation.
Bush, it’s worth noting, was no fan of the Vineyard, saying back in 2002, ”Most Americans don’t sit in Martha’s Vineyard, swilling white wine.”
White House Spokesman Jay Carney said during Thursday’s press briefing that Obama would be working at least part time during his vacation as well.
“The president very much looks forward to being able to spend a few days with his family, and it also remains the case that wherever he is, he’s President of the United States and will be dedicating a portion of his day to being briefed and working on all the issues that are on the table in front of him,” he said.
By Wednesday, Hannity’s attacks had turned local, as he referred to a story in the Vineyard Gazette that noted some residents considered a road closure resulting from the president’s visit a “hassle.”
At least one of the articles in the local paper covering the “hassle” of that road closure was full of supportive comments from self-identified locals.
“Drop by our house, Mr. President,” one commenter wrote. “We would like to thank you for a healthcare program that takes away our post-cancer fears, getting us out of two wars, expanding the freedom to marry, reducing unemployment, championing the middle class, fighting for reasonable gun laws, immigration reform, and an increased minimum wage.”
The hosts over at Fox’s the Five began hitting the president more than a week before he was set to leave for his trip, arguing he should vacation at a national park or somewhere “more Americana.” But Greg Gutfield called out his colleagues and producers for focusing on vacation instead of “legitimate scandals.”
The Drudge Report used one of its favorite visual aids for criticizing Obama vacations, including a photo of the president on a golf course with his leg in the air, and linking to some of the other articles focusing on the “swanky” $7.6 million resort the Obamas and their staff will reportedly be staying at.
In fact, the president’s vacation doesn’t inspire outrage or disapproval from the majority of Americans.
A Fox News poll released this week found the country split 48% to 48% on whether or not Obama has earned his vacation, but overwhelmingly (82% of those polled) said Congress doesn’t deserve the five-week vacation they are on now. Perhaps that’s why, Rep. Stewart aside, most Republicans in Congress are staying quiet on this one.