The hypocrisy of Obama’s 15-day Vine­yard va­ca­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY JOSEPH CURL

On April 1, the U.S. econ­omy dropped a whop­ping 2.9 per­cent for the first three months of the year (no fool­ing). The Amer­i­can work­force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate fell to a 40-year low. One-third of people aged 18-29 have moved back in with their par­ents. Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans this sum­mer will en­joy yet an­other “stay­ca­tion”: They just can’t af­ford to go to the beach or the moun­tains, even for a week — again.

Swipe cut to Pres­i­dent Obama: He’s eat­ing shave ice in Honolulu; play­ing golf (some 180 rounds so far); jet­ting off to Martha’s Vine­yard for a 15-day va­ca­tion in a $12 mil­lion house on the beach. He’s play­ing pool in Colorado (he turned down an of­fer from a young heck­ler to smoke some weed); eat­ing bar­be­cue with a col­lege stu­dent in Min­nesota; hit­ting fundraiser af­ter fundraiser across the coun­try (at $228,000 an hour for his swank 747 su­per-jumbo jet).

Cut back to the econ­omy. By the end of April (no fool­ing), the federal govern­ment had set a new record for to­tal tax re­ceipts, pulling in $1,735,030,000,000. Yes, you people out there sent in $1.7 tril­lion — in seven months. It didn’t mat­ter, though: The govern­ment still ran a $306 bil­lion deficit. By the end of fis­cal year 2014, you’ll have sent in more than $3 tril­lion to­tal, but the feds will spend $3.65 tril­lion, a deficit of some $650 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the White House Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Budget. Fade to black. Fin. The job of pres­i­dent is, in large part, about per­cep­tion — style over sub­stance. The pres­i­dent re­ally can’t do much (es­pe­cially this one); he gets blamed for things that aren’t his fault (but also takes credit for things that aren’t his do­ing, es­pe­cially this one).

In the end, all the pres­i­dent has is his char­ac­ter. It’s like Andrew Shepherd says in “The Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent”: “For the last cou­ple of months, Se­na­tor Rum­son has sug­gested that be­ing pres­i­dent of this coun­try was, to a cer­tain ex­tent, about char­ac­ter … I can tell you with­out hes­i­ta­tion — be­ing pres­i­dent of this coun­try is en­tirely about char­ac­ter.” (If it’s in a Hol­ly­wood movie, it must be true.)

Demo­cratic pres­i­dents are al­ways the first to for­get that once in the White House. Pres­i­dent Clin­ton’s char­ac­ter went up in a puff of smoke with his love af­fair with an in­tern. More, though, he had won of­fice with the motto “I Feel Your Pain,” but each sum­mer he jet­ted off for three weeks to Martha’s Vine­yard, where the res­i­dents never feel any­thing close to pain. The lap­dog me­dia ig­nored the hypocrisy.

Same with this pres­i­dent. Mr. Obama is now in full cam­paign mode, try­ing to save the Se­nate in the 2014 mid-term elec­tions. At each stop, he rails against the “1 per­cent,” be­rates the greedy “rich” (which he de­fines as any­one mak­ing $200,000), de­cries in­come in­equal­ity. Yet come va­ca­tion time, he, too, is off to the tony Vine­yard for a fort­night in a man­sion.

“The seven-bed­room, nine-bath, 8,100-square-foot house, sits on a 10-acre lot and is as­sessed at more than $12 mil­lion. It fea­tures 17 rooms in to­tal, ex­pan­sive wa­ter views of Vine­yard Sound, an in­fin­ity pool and hot tub, and a dual ten­nis-bas­ket­ball court,” the Martha’s Vine­yard Times re­ported.

For­get that the United States is deep into what Mr. Obama dra­mat­i­cally de­clares a “hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis,” that the Mid­dle East is a pow­der keg about to blow, that Iraq has all but fallen to Is­lamist ter­ror­ists. (Why not for­get; the pres­i­dent has.) But as Amer­i­cans con­tinue to pour their hard-earned cash into govern­ment cof­fers, maybe the pres­i­dent — for ap­pear­ances, if noth­ing else — could cut back a bit, too.

Not the Oba­mas. They won the White House and, by God, they’re go­ing to en­joy their time there, no mat­ter the cost. And who cares what you think, any­way? They’ve done so since the be­gin­ning, even dur­ing what Mr. Obama called “the worst fi­nan­cial cri­sis since the Great De­pres­sion.”

They ended 2012 and kicked off 2013 in an $8 mil­lion, 6,000-square-foot house in Hawaii. There, the pres­i­dent played five rounds of golf. Scarcely a month into Term 2, Mrs. Obama headed off for Aspen, tak­ing along the cou­ple’s daugh­ters. (Vice Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Bi­den also hit the Colorado slopes.) And on and on.

Re­mem­ber that back then, Mr. Obama had shut down the White House to vis­i­tors, cit­ing the cost of se­cu­rity. No, the Oba­mas’ weren’t about to trim the num­ber of va­ca­tions they take each year so tax­pay­ers could visit “Amer­ica’s House.”

The Oba­mas couldn’t care less about the per­cep­tion of liv­ing high while many hard­work­ing Amer­i­cans are strug­gling to get by. It’s dif­fer­ent when it’s a Demo­crat. They’re en­ti­tled to a good life, a bet­ter life than you, any­way. And the me­dia will never play the hypocrisy card, be­cause the ends al­ways jus­tify the means.

But wait and see: Amer­i­cans will show their dis­plea­sure come Nov. 4.

Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.


Pres­i­dent Obama en­joys a shaved ice at Is­land Snow in Kailua, Hawaii, where the Oba­mas spent the 2010 win­ter hol­i­days.

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