Friday, April 20, 2012



NRO Newsletters . . .
Morning Jolt
. . . with Jim Geraghty

April 20, 2012

Obama's Vacations: Fair Game!
The time allotted for my interview with Mitt Romney yesterday was limited, but I think it was spent well. This comment jumped out at me:

NRO: Are you following the GSA scandal? How pervasive is a culture of waste within the federal bureaucracy -- is it endemic or a few bad apples? How would a Romney administration go about changing habits and reducing tolerance for waste and excess? 

: I think the example starts at the top. People have to see that the president is not taking elaborate vacations and spending in a way that is inconsistent with the state of the overall economy and the state of the American family.

I believe that any place such as the GSA, where you find leaders who failed to properly oversee their people and to properly manage resources, those managers have to be replaced. At the GSA, you have leadership taking the Fifth, and that's a pretty clear indication that these folks have not done the job they should have in managing taxpayer dollars and providing transparency.

I can't tell you how pervasive this is in the various agencies of government. What I can tell you is that there is too much government, too many bureaucrats, and too little willingness to send programs back to the states.

I know there are a lot of folks who think that Obama's critics should lay off him for his golf and vacations, but obviously they resonate beyond conservatives -- witness the St. Louis television reporter asking about them -- and they illustrate a certain oddity in the way Obama governs.

Andrew Malcolm seemed to hit this nail best in a column from about a year ago:

What the White House issues are photos of a tieless, laughing Obama, feet up on the historic Oval Office desk, chatting on the phone system that he complains is so decrepit.

What the public sees, while it frets over stubborn unemployment and soaring gas prices, is a diffident Democrat who takes a 17-vehicle motorcade of SUVs and limos to be seen looking at clean-energy cars.

A pontificating president who suggests that one worried commuter buy a new car instead of complaining.

A guy who spent 745 million donated dollars to get into the White House complaining to visiting editors about losing his anonymity and being locked in the presidential bubble that provides service, luxury, power and security unimaginable to most.

To be sure, other presidents have played golf. Maybe not during three simultaneous wars with the awful accompanying human tolls.

Not likely working the putter the day after a colossal combined earthquake/tsunami natural disaster hit as close an ally as Japan. Or canceling a trip to the funeral of Poland's president and hitting the links.

It's one thing to urge Americans to vacation on the troubled Gulf coast last summer, while your wife flies off to Spain with a planeload of pals.

It's another to spend much of Earth Day in a 747 jumbo jet flying 2,300 miles cross-country back from a slew of multimillion-dollar West Coast fundraisers, as Obama did last week.

It's one thing to launch a war against Libya while packing up your wife, daughters, mother-in-law and her friend to tour South America.

It's another to wait nine whole days to bother explaining the unexpected combat to a puzzled nation. Or nearly two months to arrange an Oval Office address on the country's worst environmental disaster ever.

Malcolm concluded that "the public is left to focus on Obama's frequent vacations, golf outings, celebrity gatherings and proclivity to give a speech at the first whiff of trouble. With no real opposition, Chicago's Democrat pols care little about how insensitive things look. Any one of these apparent missteps is inconsequential. However, accumulated over his 118 weeks in office, they create the impression of carelessness at best or, worse, arrogance."

I think that little jabs about Obama's taxpayer-funded breaks and vacations are perfectly fine, because we know that sooner or later, Obama will react with an indignant, "I'm entitled to this!" response.

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