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Friday, April 27, 2012

Obama Family Vacations: Excessive? Perhaps. Exceptional? Hardly.



Here’s the opening line to an article published the other day by a conservative news outlet:

“Blue collar Democratic voters, stuck taking depressing ‘staycations’ because they can’t afford gas and hotels, are resentful of the first family’s 17 lavish vacations around the world and don’t want their tax dollars paying for the Obamas’ holidays, according to a new analysis of swing voters.”

Let's first put this matter in comparative perspective. "According to one count," FactCheck.org reports, "Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush spent more time on 'vacation' during their first year than President Obama did. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton spent less time on 'vacation.'"

No, I am not condoning what are arguably excessive vacations (to do so would be like excusing someone for adultery because he had fewer mistresses than another).  Rather, I’m drawing attention to this fact to help readers put things in proper perspective come election time.  After all, the GOP will more likely than not exploit the anger of these blue collar democrats in order to get Romney elected - an anger which, as I pointed out, is over behavior that does not appear to be exceptional. 

Those who intend to vote (however reluctantly) for Obama need to be strategic about when and how to address this matter.  And given the upcoming election, I’m reluctant to make a huge fuss out of this.  I look at it this way: the average taxpayer is probably paying .000002 cents for Obama family vacations (needless to say, these aren’t meant to be accurate figures). How much more do we suffer from, among other things, unnecessary wars (which Republicans seem somewhat - though admittedly not radically - more supportive of) and unfair tax codes?  We have to arrange these issues in order of importance.