August 10, 2007
Victorians of the Press
What is wrong with the following peevish attack on President Bush from the drive-by media -- I mean, apart from the fact that it's yet another tedious, peevish attack on President Bush from the drive-by media?
Bush on track to become the vacation president
On Thursday, Bush left for a weekend in Kennebunkport, Maine, and his family's summer compound, Walker's Point. On Monday, he heads to his Crawford retreat, where he has spent all or part of 418 days of his presidency, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS News White House correspondent and meticulous record-keeper....
Bush's August sojourn will be his 65th trip to Crawford, according to Knoller.
The 1,600-acre ranch has proved a durable haven for Bush, who often disappears into its varied landscapes for days or weeks at a time without public appearances. He has an attractive stone house, shaded swimming pool, miles of rugged bike trails and law enforcement at every entry point keeping people out....
The presidential vacation-time record holder is the late Ronald Reagan, who tallied 436 days in his two terms. At 418 days, and with 17 months to go in his presidency, Bush is going to beat that easily.
Even so, this year's August vacation for Bush is a contrast to previous years such as 2005, when he dragged out vacation in Texas to five weeks. That was also the year Bush remained on vacation immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit.
Give up? Stumped? I doubt it; I suspect you all realized immediately the unfairness of this nasty dig (more worthy of the Weekly World News than the Houston Chronicle): The writer, Julie Mason, makes the cub-reporter mistake of assuming that the time Bush spends at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas is "vacation" time; just as she assumes that the days when President Reagan was at Rancho del Cielo in Santa Barbara, he was resting and relaxing.
Liberals typically call such residences "vacation homes," and they imagine -- and want us to imagine -- Bush or Reagan loafing, skipping stones in the lake, lying in the hammock, and in general just lazing about -- for 400+ days. (One never reads these stories when a Democrat is in the White House, no matter how many weeks he spends at Camp David or Hyannis Port.)
The reality is exactly the opposite. Like every other president before him, Bush uses Prairie Chapel Ranch not to get away from his work but simply for a change of scenery; when the president travels, the workload travels right along with him. Bush won't be on vacation in Crawford... he'll be working at the "branch office."
He doesn't take August off; he shifts his work location to Texas. Heck, everybody in D.C. either moves out during August or wishes he could... especially including Congress, which has a traditional "August recess." (And they're not vacationing either; they usually spend the time campaigning and strategizing.)
Everything the president can do in la Casa Blanca he can also do at whatever location he has selected as his retreat, whether it's San Clemente, Santa Barbara, Crawford, or Camp David. In fact, the president doesn't even get a break en route: Air Force One contains a presidential office, and every president since FDR has used it as a workplace during long flights, though it wasn't called "Air Force One" until 1953. (Bush does get a break while flying in Marine One, the Sea Hawk or Whitehawk helo from Andrews AFB to the White House.)
Bush receives ambassadors and other official visitors at Crawford; he commands military actions and manages rescue and recovery actions by FEMA from Crawford; he drafts executive orders and legislation he hopes to get through Congress, lobbies congressmen, meets with his cabinet, prepares for foreign trips, spends hours on the phone with various officials, writes speeches, manages personnel problems, holds press conferences, and interviews potential federal appointees. A "vacation" like that I need like a hole in the head.
Sachi and I are going on a cruise next month. Bush doesn't get to go on any cruises; and even when he goes to vacation hot-spot Paris, it's to talk to President Nicolas Sarkozy, not stroll down the Champs-Élysées window shopping or play poker at l'Aviation Club de France.
So let's be honest: Bush has not spent 418 days on "vacation;" he has spent 418 days at the Crawford branch office. It's possible that on some of those days, he did no work... possible, but not likely; the presidency is a 24-7 job. More likely, he even works on Sundays (after church) and holidays.
And likely a heck of a lot longer and harder hours than a typical journalist... even the workaholic Ms. Mason.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 10, 2007, at the time of 3:27 PM
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Tracked on August 17, 2007 4:47 AM
The following hissed in response by: Big D
This feeds into the larger theme by the press - the rich don't work and are somehow underserving of their wealth and success.
The following hissed in response by: cdquarles
Socialists project, er, protesteth too much. If there is a group of "working" folks who do little work, then it is the drive-by media. Clock in. Cut-n-paste template. Fill in socialist approved NewSpeak/DoubleSpeak words. Push print. Put feet up. Clock out. Get intoxicated. Repeat as needed.
The above hissed in response by: cdquarles at August 10, 2007 10:01 PM
The following hissed in response by: Rovin
But we must remember that it took only a few fleeting moments for Ms. Mason to concieve the notion that our President has far too much leisure time on his hands. That her editor's would even consider this fodder factual or relevant speaks volumes to their intellect/lack of enlightment. If this is the best that can come from the Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau, is it even worth reading or quoting?
No President has (in over 100 years) spent more time in his office prosecuting two wars and preventing another attack on our soil, but he's sure got time for another vacation. ?
The above hissed in response by: Rovin at August 10, 2007 10:28 PM
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
I don't even know why reporters waste their time with this stuff. Bitter people like to bitch that is all. They see personal insult in everything.
I did read that Bush's ranch house was built to be very energy efficient...they even save rain water. Perhaps they could do a piece comparing how much energy is used to sustain the Bush ranch house, vs Gore's mansions and Edward's new house etc.
The truth is being president is a job that does not allow vacations. It is something you are, not something you do.
The following hissed in response by: RRRoark
Don't forget that the Lame Stream HATE Crawford Texas. The social life there is just not up to their expected standard.
The following hissed in response by: Mikey
IIRC, Hary Truman would go for sun at Key West. He didn't do DuVall Street; he was at the navy base and could, thus, keep the crap stirrers at bay and would have good communication.
If I also recall correctly, FDR would do Carribean cruises on a navy cruiser. Again, well-protected and with excellent communications.
As RRRoark noted, Crawford is not Martha's Vinyard. I believe there was an Iowahawk piece on the press forced to do duty in Crawford. It was called 'My four years in the god-blessed wilderness', or something like that.
The following hissed in response by: Mikey
BTW: I would rather spend the winter at Copper Harbor than three weeks in the Carribean as a crewman on a cruiser that has the boss of bosses as a passenger. Talk about how everything has to be perfect!
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