This week, three of the most prominent liberal bloggers agreed that when it comes to criticizing presidents of either party about their vacations, people really need to, as one of the bloggers put it, “STFU.”
Do they have a point, or should the appropriateness of presidential vacations be evaluated on a POTUS-by-POTUS basis? Check out their thoughts and comment if you’d like.
On Wednesday, Paul Waldman of the American Prospect got the ball rolling (emphasis added):
There are a lot of stupid ways people attack presidents from the other party, but there can't be that many as stupid as the complaint that he takes too many vacations. Since Obama is now on Martha's Vineyard…[c]onservatives are in full on mockery mode (did you know he plays golf!!!), and the press is getting into the act as well...
…[L]iberals used to talk plenty about Bush's vacations when he was president. And it was ridiculous then too…None of the things liberals didn't like about Bush would have been improved had he spent more time toiling away in the White House. Nor would conservatives be happier with the policy choices Barack Obama makes today if he stayed away from Martha's Vineyard or didn't play golf as often.
And that's the real reason the vacation complaint is so absurd. No one—not the opposition party, and not reporters—actually believes that the quality of a presidency has anything to do with how many hours the president logs in the Oval Office.
I wasn’t a news cycle blogger back when George W. Bush was in office. And so I’m not real vulnerable to someone coming up with dozens of posts wherein I scolded and mocked W. for the amount of time he spent “clearing brush” down on the ranch in Crawford. But you know what? I’m willing to vicariously take on the sins of the liberal writers of the past, confess this as a bipartisan problem, and propose a bipartisan solution: a moratorium on complaints about presidential vacations.
…And as for the hackneyed idea that the president needs to “set an example” by his seriousness, I’d like to see him set an example whereby Americans began to value leisure a bit more as part of what we are all working for, and as an essential contributor to long-term stamina and perspective.
And, less than an hour after Kilgore’s post, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones declared:
Yes, yes, yes: sign me up as a charter member of the movement to STFU about presidential vacations. Both sides do it. Bush got hit with criticism from Democrats. Obama gets it from Republicans. Clinton got it. Reagan got it. Fine. We're all guilty. Now let's just stop…
…No more whining about how this week—yes, this very week!—is the worst week ever in history for a vacation because the world is in crisis. You know why? Because there's always a crisis somewhere in the world.