As August approaches, and President Obama schedules a little r-and-r at Martha’s Vineyard, there are apparently some predictable gripes on the right about his time off. The AP provides some context: “Obama has taken far less time away from the White House than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who spent weeks at a time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Obama has taken 87 days off, compared with 399 days for Bush at a similar period in his presidency, according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller, who keeps detailed records of presidential travel.”
Let’s put that in chart form to help drive the point home.
A lot of folks forget this, but Ronald Reagan set the record for most vacation days for a sitting president – a record that stood until George W. Bush passed Reagan’s seemingly unbreakable benchmark.
As for the current president, conservative gripes not withstanding, it’s just not realistic to think Obama has a credible chance of even coming close to GWB’s record. At comparable points in their presidencies, for every day Obama has taken off, Bush had already taken 4.5 days off. Obama could stay on vacation for the rest of 2013 and still not be within striking distance of Bush’s hyper-lazy pace. The former two-term Republican just didn’t care for working particularly hard.
I don’t imagine this will curtail criticisms of the president from the right, but unless these same folks complained about his predecessor, their objections are better left ignored.