The President and Mrs. Obama went to New York City for a “date night,” dinner and a Broadway show. And the wingnuts are having a fit about it.
The Republican National Committee slammed the outing in an “RNC Research Piece”: “As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattanâ€™s theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills. … Have a great Saturday evening â€“ even if youâ€™re not jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense. … PUTTING ON A SHOW: Obamas Wing Into The City For An Evening Out While Another Iconic American Company Prepares For Bankruptcy.”
Tbogg has a survey of Right Blogosphere reaction. My favorite is this one:
Obama also promised a middle class tax cut and healthcare reform, but obviously those can wait.
It wasn’t even an overnight trip, mind you. They flew back to Washington (which is a half hour trip, by air) after the show. They didn’t take Air Force One but instead flew in a smaller jet.
That’s 487 days at Camp David and 77 trips to Crawford, Texas, where he spent all or part of 490 days. I calculate that to be about two years and eight months.
I don’t know what the travel time is from the White House to Camp David — I assume just a few minutes — but I figure Crawford must be at least three hours one way by air, and I assume there’s no Crawford International Airport, so there’s motorcade time to figure in, also. Assuming a 6 hour two-way trip, times 77 trips, equals 462 hours, or more than 19 days days spent just flying back and forth to Crawford.
Bush was in Crawford when he blew off the memo “Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S.” as being too trivial for his attention. As I remember it, he was in Crawford during the great electricity blackout of 2003, and it was several hours before he addressed it. He was in Crawford while two wars were going on in the Mideast.
And need I say … Hurricane Katrina?
For a collection of outraged snark at the Endless Vacation that was the Bush Administration, see Source Watch. I think the only reason there wasn’t more outrage is that Bush was such a bad POTUS, most of the time it didn’t matter whether he was on vacation or not.
Even when he wasn’t officially on vacation, Bush wasn’t famous for staying put in the White House. Especially in his first term, when the War on Terror was still new and sparkly, as I remember he spent about half of his not-vacation time traveling to Republican Party fundraisers. The pattern was to schedule some “official” event like a ribbon-cutting or a speech in a particular city, where by some coincidence there happened to be a GOP fund-raider going on that very evening, so he could take Air Force One on Republican Party business without reimbursing taxpayers. (See, for example, “Taxpayer Mugging for Political Fundraising.”)
But that was not a problem, because, you know, IOKIYAR — It’s OK If You’re A Republican.
Update: A blogger who claims not to be a “sheeple” — I beg to differ — writes (emphasis original),
With the problems weâ€™re facing with the recession and North Korea testing nuclear missiles you would think he would keep it a little on the down low and I donâ€™t want to hear a peep from the loony left that Ron and Nancy Reagan were extravagant. Not a peep!
This blogger was pissed because yesterday the White House couldn’t yet provide expense account of the trip to New York. I don’t believe the Bush Administration ever presented an accounting of all the political trips George and Dick took at taxpayers’ expense. I could be wrong about that, but I googled for it and couldn’t find it. In the first Bush term they were not providing that information, and the Veep’s travel itinerary was something of a state secret at times. We don’t even know how much Dick traveled, never mind the cost.
Update: You’ll like this one — the Broadway show the first couple saw was “Joe Turnerâ€™s Come and Gone.” It’s a play about African-American life. So this blogger writes,
By the way, note that the Obamas went to a â€˜blackâ€™ show.
When does he ever pay homage to his white side?
I swear, it’s something like a moth-and-flame thing; they can’t help themselves.
Update: Steve Benen —
Rumor has it, Obama occasionally eats and sleeps, too. The nerve. Doesn’t the president realize he has things to do?