National Review ran an odd item the other day, “harping” that President Obama “vacations too much.” NR’s Jim Geraghty noted that he, among others, is “irked and fascinated by the commander-in-chief’s regular getaways as economic hard times persist.”
I have to admit, I more or less assumed this would be the one aspect of Obama’s presidency the right would be inclined to ignore. After all, Ronald Reagan took 436 days during his two terms, setting an all-time record. Facing 9.5% unemployment, Reagan took off for a month-long break, which included a period in which the president’s aides stopped relaying news to the Republican president so as to not interrupt his sojourn.
George W. Bush took 977 days off, which not only blew Reagan’s record away, it set a benchmark no one will ever surpass – Bush spent the equivalent of more than two and a half years away from the office.
When Obama’s time off comes close to the vacation time for the 40th and 43rd presidents, the right will be justified in making this a topic of conversation. Until then, these criticisms are pretty silly.
Besides, if fair-minded political observers want to complain about an institution taking too much time off, I’d recommend looking away from the White House and towards the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
If you were to stroll by the House chamber today – or tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that – you would arrive at the ideal time to see what the lawmakers do best: absolutely nothing.
It’s another recess week for our lazy leaders. Oh, sorry: “Constituent Work Week” is what they’re calling it these days, as if lawmakers were filling potholes and making calls to Social Security rather than raising campaign cash.
By the time the Republican-led House returns next week, members will have been working in Washington on just 41 of the first 127 days of 2012 – and that was the busy part of the year. They are planning to be on vacation – er, doing “constituent work” – 17 of the year’s remaining 34 weeks, and even when they are in town the typical workweek is three days.
These guys are making the Do-Nothing Congress of 1948 look downright busy and productive by comparison.
Maybe Obama would take fewer vacations if Congress decided to function once in a while?