Damn, It Is Good To Be King

So says Joe Curl in the Washington Times:

Being president of the U.S., the most powerful man in the world, is often most about perception. The man (or, one day, woman) in the job takes actions large and small every day, but it is the perception of the man that seeps into the everyday lives of working Americans.

That’s why presidential candidates always hit Philadelphia for a cheesesteak during campaigns (Democrats to Pat’s, Republicans to Geno’s). Sure, they’re running billion-dollar operations trying to win the White House, but one picture of them wolfing down a Cheez Whiz-covered glob of meat on a Philly street hits home with millions of voters: “Hey, that guy’s just like me! He loves him a Pat’s [or Geno’s] cheesesteak, too!” (Unless you’re John F. Kerry and order Swiss cheese — then everyone hates you.)

Sometimes, that perception cuts to the core. Like when President George W. Bush stopped playing golf in 2003, at the height of the Iraq War.

“I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,” he said years later. “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”

That’s also why Mr. Bush did two other things, without fanfare or praise. First, he never headed home to his Texas ranch until after Christmas, instead going to Camp David for a few days. That way, the hundreds of people revolving around him at all times — White House staff, Secret Service agents, reporters, photographers, all the others — could spend the holiday with their families in and around Washington, D.C. No one ever reported that — until this column.

Second, he rarely attended sporting events, although he once owned a baseball team and was a self-confessed stats junkie. His thinking there was the same: If he went to a baseball game (right down the street from the White House), his mere presence would mean hours and hours of extra security for fans. He once stopped off at the Daytona 500 and the metal detectors through which every fan had to pass left thousands outside in line when the green flag fell; he didn’t attend many sporting events after that.

But something remarkable has happened with these occupants of the White House: Neither President Obama nor first lady Michelle appear to give a damn about perception. 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?

I’ve felt this way from the moment the Obama’s hit town. There has been this aura of “we gonna get ours now”.

12 thoughts on “Damn, It Is Good To Be King

  1. What is it, Utah? Something like $1.4 billion in tax payer dollars to fund Obama vacations thus far?

    It makes me weep for all those disabled, and poor children out there that Obama stated he must choose between.

    • Yep:

      Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion dollars on everything from staffing, housing, flying and entertaining President Obama and his family last year, according to the author of a new book on taxpayer-funded presidential perks.

      In comparison, British taxpayers spent just $57.8 million on the royal family.

      Author Robert Keith Gray writes in “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” that Obama isn’t the only president to have taken advantage of the expensive trappings of his office. But the amount of money spent on the first family, he argues, has risen tremendously under the Obama administration and needs to be reined in.

      Gray told The Daily Caller that the $1.4 billion spent on the Obama family last year is the “total cost of the presidency,” factoring the cost of the “biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever,” a 50 percent increase in the numbers of appointed czars and an Air Force One “running with the frequency of a scheduled air line.”

      “The most concerning thing, I think, is the use of taxpayer funds to actually abet his re-election,” Gray, who worked in the Eisenhower administration and for other Republican presidents, said in an interview with TheDC on Wednesday.

      But Curl is wrong about being first to report about Bush, I remember Rush and others talking about how Bush always postponed his trips during the holidays so that the people responsible for protecting and working with him could be at home with their families.

    • From Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt email:

      Here’s your Tuesday Morning Jolt.

      Enjoy!

      Jim

      Obama’s $1 Million Trip to Colorado to Talk about Gun Control

      Today President Obama travels to Colorado to “meet with law enforcement and community leaders to discuss the gun control package signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper.”

      That’s a three-hour flight, right?

      At $179,750 per hour, that comes out to $1,078,500 in costs for Air Force One for the trip.

      That’s just about the cost of public tours of the White House for one year.

      Eh, you knew I was kidding . . . Obama’s not just flying across the country to give a predictable speech on gun control; he’s also traveling out to San Francisco for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser, and he’ll stay overnight. (Yes, our president is already preparing fundraising for November 2014 midterm elections.) So the cost of the flights for today and tomorrow is really more like $1.4 million.

        • I actually believe this administration creates faux-crisis on a daily/weekly basis as a means to an end …

          To push their totalitarian agenda.

  2. http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/ad-lib/2013/jan/7/president-obamas-back-hawaii-how-many-vacations-ha/

    “President Obama in his first four years has taken 131 days, dividing his time between Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard and, of course, Camp David, the official get away of U.S. presidents. At this rate, he could hit 262 days by the end of his eighth year, about average for modern presidents.

    He certainly is not the king of vacation days. That honor falls to President George W. Bush, who racked up 1,020 vacation days in his eight years in office, including one five-week vacation, the most of any president in 36 years. Not to say he wasn’t on the job when he was at his Crawford, Texas ranch, but he was away from the White House.”

    1020 out of 2920. In other words he spent nearly a third of his Presidency on vacation. Any bad link you can find about Obama I can find about Bush. Let’s just agree all politicians are leeches on the public. The best thing they can do is try to improve other people’s lives while they are living high on the hog.

    • I seem to remember that when Bush was at Crawford that unemployment was around 5% and the GDP was growing, not shrinking. Obama’s “vacations” do not count his 120 or so golf outings.

      Crawford, Texas = Hawaii. Not really. You have obviously never been to Crawford.

      The point is that we have president who has no qualms about continuing to spend taxpayer money on lavish vacations for he and his family while food stamp usage, disability payments, defects, public debt and unfunded liabilities are at historic levels. He gives speeches about tightening our belts and then hops on Air Force One to fly to Colorado for an hour and then on to LA for a partisan fundraiser to the tune of 1.4 million dollars when the free tours at the White House are cancelled.

      And Bush was roundly pilloried for his “vacations” by the mainstream media, something that hasn’t happened with Obama.

      You are clearly making a false equivalency that cannot be supported:

      But when President Barack Obama vacations in Hawaii, sets up a fantasy golf vacation for himself with Butch Harmon and Tiger Woods, averages more than a vacation a month in 2013 while purporting to be a man of the people and demanding the rich pay their fair share, and playing sequester politics by shutting down White House tours, the mainstream media is silent.
      And while Bush spent more time outside of Washington than Obama, it is also worth nothing that nearly all of Bush’s vacations were trips back to his Texas ranch or family vacation homes in Maine.

      The Post, in 2005, conceded that Bush’s vacations–unlike Obama’s–were not lavish and he did not “make time for fun.”
      “Bush rarely takes the type of vacation one would consider exotic — or, to some, even appealing,” the Post wrote. “His notion of relaxation is chopping cedar on his ranch or mountain biking through rough terrain, all in 100-degree-plus temperatures in dusty Texas where crickets are known to roast on the summer pavement. He seems to relish the idea of exposing aides and reporters to the hothouse environment.”

    • Dave … perform your count by the same standards. If Bush flew to Camp David for a 2 hour meeting, that my friend was not a vacation. When you practice honest observations, you get honest answers and understanding.

      • Dave gives the appearance that he is against all of this! Throw them all out!

        But when you don’t address the specific instances and circumstances of Obama’s profligate actions in light of the different economies and media treatment of his time and Bush’s and the excuse for Obama is that “Bush did it”, the partisanship is clear.

        False equivocation, it’s what’s for dinner.

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