Vacation outrage: Right slams Obama for Hawaii trip, ignoring the facts

President Barack Obama greets patrons as he visits Island Snow for shave ice in Kailua, Hawaii, during his holiday vacation, Thursday, Jan 3, 2013.
President Barack Obama greets patrons as he visits Island Snow for shave ice in Kailua, Hawaii, during his holiday vacation, Thursday, Jan 3, 2013.
Gerald Herbert/AP

Right wing pundits have never shied away from criticizing President Obama for going on vacation, and his return to Hawaii in the wake of the fiscal cliff deal is providing great fodder for their griping.

Rush Limbaugh called the Hawaii trip a “slap in the face” to Republicans on his Thursday radio show. Fox’s Sean Hannity railed against the return too. “Our dedicated Commander in Chief has since returned to his wonderful vacation in Hawaii, once again showing us all that he simply does not have your best interests in mind,” he said this week.

Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy’s brought criticism as well, going so far as to blame Obama for the lack of aid to superstorm Sandy victims on the east coast.

After pointing out that Obama had returned to Hawaii, he said, “Meanwhile…there are tens of thousands of people whose houses were destroyed by Sandy.” He continued, ”and it’s interesting—you go back 60 days, the president of the United States was out at a big photo op with Chris Christie, saying, ‘I’m going to eliminate the red tape. I’m going to make sure that FEMA follows through.’ And now 60 days later, nothing.”

Doocy didn’t have the same harsh language for Speaker John Boehner, even though he actually delayed the vote on aid for Sandy victims Tuesday.

The banner on Drudge Report Friday afternoon juxtaposed pictures of Obama on vacation with a misleading headline about the unemployment rate (it did not go up to 7.8% since November, but remained the same while adding 155,000 jobs) and the debt.

The critics seem all too willing to ignore that the president already cut short his vacation time by coming home to Washington on Dec. 26, specifically to shepherd through a fiscal cliff deal. All that matters to them is that he dared to leave again, to spend time with his wife and children, once the deal had been reached. Didn’t the right-wing promote family values in the past?

Complaints about Obama’s vacation trips are nothing new, but fall pretty flat when the facts are examined and compared to his predecessors. According to the Washington Post’s POTUS Tracker, Obama spent 72 days on vacation through October 2012. Since then, by our count, he’s spent another 12 days on vacation. That’s amounts to 84 days in his first term. But that pales in comparison to the vacation time taken by George W. Bush, who spent more than a thousand days on vacation over the course of his two terms.

The Congressional work calendar doesn’t hold up well by comparison either. The 2013 calendar released by House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor lists only 128 days scheduled for the next year. That’s about two days off for every one on the job. Perhaps the right-wing pundits ought to be taking issue with congressional vacation time before they criticize the president.