Why Is Criticism Of The Obama Family Vacations Considered Partisan?

Or perhaps "Lifestyles of the Tone Deaf and Hypocritical" is more descriptive

Or perhaps “Lifestyles of the Tone Deaf and Hypocritical” is more descriptive

I understand a lot of the partisan divide in perception and coverage of President Obama. I don’t understand this.

The President’s persistent practice of sending his family members off on lavish vacations on the taxpayers’ largesse is unequivocally tone-deaf, hypocritical, and wrong. It’s wrong. There’s no defending it. His children’s current trip to the Bahamas and a ski resort, thanks to the necessary Secret Service detail necessary to protect them, is going to cost over $100,000….the last Spring Break vacation for them did. Wrong. Unethical. Obviously unethical.

Why are partisans—and those who aren’t supposed to be partisans, but really are, like most of the press—defending it? They can’t, mind you, but they try anyway. Why?

I know how. They do it by attacking the critics. The Atlantic, for example, in a blog post by Phillip Bump, sneeringly ridiculed the factual reporting by Matthew Boyle on the Obama kids’ expensive vacations by noting 1) the reporter works for Breitbart, and Breitbart is scum 2) that the outrage ginned up by that site over Obamaphones was phony, and 3) reporters, by news media accord, aren’t supposed to report on where First Kids take vacations, citing all the other Presidential spawn that avoided media attention.

The first is just attacking the messenger. The second is blatant “Look over there!” subject-changing—-the Obamaphone “scandal” was nonsense, this isn’t. The third is pathetic excuse-making. Yes, Presidential children should be left alone when they travel; they aren’t appropriate news fodder. But when their father the President blames Secret Service expenses cut under the sequester—that he proposed—-for the elimination of White House tours, and then sends his kids out on an unnecessarily luxurious vacation that will cost what more than two weeks of tours for other people’s school kids would cost, all while much of the nation is scrimping to save for three days at Kings Dominion, he has made their trip news, and the so-called news embargo doesn’t and shouldn’t apply. Bump’s argument is jaw-dropping in substance and tone, and, significantly, he never addresses the central question: why does President Obama think that it is appropriate for his family to spend as much money as possible on their vacations when it is being paid for by public funds? He doesn’t address it because there is no answer other than one or more of these:

  • The President doesn’t care how it looks.
  • The President thinks his family is entitled to live like royalty on public funds.
  • The President is hopelessly without sensitivity to how this looks during a time of high unemployment and economic distress.
  • The President is a shameless hypocrite.
  • The President knows that whatever he does, the toadies in the media have his back, and legitimate criticism will be pigeon-holed as partisan even though it is not.

It is not just this mindset on the part of the Obamas that I don’t comprehend (but do condemn). This is the attitude I have seen in the private sector, and the non-profit sector as well, where executives see nothing wrong with maximizing their perks even though it is wasteful, unnecessary, venal, selfish, harms morale, and stresses organization finances. I have never been able to do it, when I have been in a position where such conduct was accepted and even expected. No, I will not let my non-profit pay for my family to come with me to a Hawaii convention. No, I will not let the organization pick up the tab when I stay an extra day, or two, or five, after it’s over. No, I will not go to the most expensive restaurants and have two drinks as “business meetings.” No, I will not order expensive drapes and oriental rugs and rosewood furniture for my office when we are eliminating jobs and denying raises.

Why? Because doing these things is wrong! Because they represent poor leadership. Because they are irresponsible. Why isn’t it obvious to Democrats and Republicans, progressives and conservatives, whites and blacks alike, that this is just as true when the President of the United States blithely uses public funds so his family can vacation like the Kardashians?

There is no reason in the world, none, none, none, why Sasha and Malia should go on more than one or two vacations a year. They live in the White House, and one of the most interesting and entertaining cities in the nation, within easy driving distance of the seashore, the Shenandoahs, Baltimore, Richmond, Williamsburg, Philly, and, yes, Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens. That’s the best peasants like my family can manage when we can take vacations, and not every year allows us one, either. There is no reason why the President’s family’ vacations shouldn’t be chosen responsibly, which means to maximize efficiency and cost savings to the government. There is no reason why the President’s family vacations should resemble “Life Styles of the Rich and Famous,” and every reason why they should reflect the state of the public welfare and the economy, and set an example for those who the President was elected to lead.

The best the President’s enablers on this issue have been able to muster as a defense is “everybody did it”—-but everybody didn’t do it. The Bush girls weren’t sent out to exotic locales at public expense. Chelsea never cost the Treasury $100,000 at Spring Break. Amy Carter was lucky if she could get a week at a missionary camp…but even if all of these Presidential dads had been profligate in devising vacations for their families, they were different times. This President is the one overseeing five years of unemployment that has never gone lower than 7.7%, with many more Americans dropping out of the workforce entirely, and vacations being a distant dream even for many of those who are working. This President is the one who lectured us that “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.” You do, apparently, pay for your President to send his kids to the Bahamas.

If the President want to blame George W. Bush for why his kids can’t take 1%-style vacations, for once I’ll accept it. He cannot, however blame Bush for allowing the vacations.

I think ethics rather than laws and regulations should be sufficient to stop abuse regarding Presidential vacations, but clearly with this President, and, thanks to his awful precedent, others to follow, ethics isn’t enough. Thus we need rules that hold the First Family to reasonable limits in their vacation expenses, and a cap on how much Secret Service hours can be changed to the public for non-duty related travel by the President and his family. The fact that such measures would be needed, as Joseph Curl wrote over the weekend, “tells you an awful lot about this President.”

The fact that his supporters lack the integrity to join the chorus of criticism tells you an awful lot about them, too.


Sources: Atlantic, Breitbart, Washington Times, CBS, Weekly Standard

Graphic: Share TV

34 thoughts on “Why Is Criticism Of The Obama Family Vacations Considered Partisan?

  1. I guess I don’t see it. The president pays for his actual vacation expenses. The Secret Service itself determines whether or not secuity is needed, and the level of secuity involved. Their budget is set by Congress, not by the President. Most upper-middle class/rich families manage to take several vacations a year, it doesn’t seem unduly lavish to take one to the Caribbean, which is pretty close by on the East coast. Your suggestion to force Presidents to pay for vacation security over a certain amount seems like a huge security risk, and makes the job even more unappealing for some of the poorer Presidents, leaving it (even more so) in the hands of the super-rich.

    • Please. The major expense is the Secret Service, the entourage and transportation, which he does not pay, but he’s still responsible for spending as little of it as possible.

  2. I’m glad you’re bringing this up Jack. In a recent post I commented on my anger over the manner in which the President seems to show a callous disregard for the public coffers when it comes to his, and his family’s, vacations. Unfortunately, it appears that their unethical actions go beyond simply spending lavishly on multiple trips. They are falsely reporting the nature of who is going on “official” trips as well. Just looking at the expense report from the recent trip to Africa that was taken by the First Lady and her daughters, anyone can be an “official” staffer for the means of justifying lavish spending.
    I’m sorry, but going to Africa to encourage education, heath, and welfare improvement (I didn’t know that being married to a President carried with it the title of official Ambassador for the U.S. and as such, a sworn officer of the government) is not an excuse to also go on a vacation. Hell, don’t we have a vacation site, fully funded and open for the President year round (Camp David)?
    The President is a clear hypocrite when he can attack private citizens for “not paying their fair share” in taxes, but will not even blink an eye when he allows his family to use the Treasury as their own personal leisure fund.

    • Agree completely. No shame, narcissism, unequaled egotism, no sense at all about the notion of leadership, and clearly no truth to his presumed concern about the “average” folk. “We all need to tighten our belts?” More like, “You all need to tighten your belts, because frankly, I (and my family) are above all that.”

  3. Fake outrage every time the President or his family take a vacation just fills the drool cups of bitter Republicans who got their ass kicked last November. This is just part of a larger agenda that accuses Obama of behaving like American Royalty…

    Truth is another matter. In terms of White House spending, GW Bush spent $1.6 BILLION in 2008. In 2011 President Obama spent $1.4 Billion.

    Source: The Bush figures are from “To Serve the President” by Bradley H. Patterson.

    Total Cost of the Whole White House for Fiscal Year 2008
    1. Compensation of the president (including an expense
    allowance of $50,000)2 $ 450,000
    2. The Executive Residence operating expenses 12,814,000
    3. The Executive Residence—repair and restoration 1,600,000
    4. The vice president’s downtown office 15,511,9603
    5. Residence of the vice president—operating expenses 320,000
    6. The White House Office (including the Homeland Security
    Council) 53,656,000
    7. Office of Policy Development (the Domestic Policy Council
    and the National Economic Council) 3,482,000
    8. National Security Council 30,300,8204
    9. One-eighth of the Office of Administration, for direct
    services to the president pursuant to Section 3(a) of
    Executive Order 12028 11,468,125
    10. The president’s unanticipated needs 1,000,000
    11. White House Center Service Delivery Team
    (in the GSA budget) 26,000,000
    12. U.S. Postal Service,White House branch 726,000
    13. National Archives professional archival support
    of the White House 1,000,000
    14. Value of gifts supplied by the Department of State for
    presentation to foreign leaders at White House official
    entertainment functions 50,000
    15. White House Communications Agency (in the budget of
    the Defense Information Systems Agency) 173,900,000
    16. Air Force One (in U.S. Air Force budget) (classified)
    17. Helicopter squadron HMX-One (in the Marine Corps budget;
    this is the fiscal year 2008 appropriation segment of a fifteenyear-
    long procurement of twenty-eight new helicopters;
    but see the text on page 378) 271,000,000
    18. Camp David (in the Navy/Seabees budget) 7,900,0005
    19. Salary costs for 2,300 employees in above units 15, 16, 17,
    and 18 (all in the budget of the Department of Defense)6 151,800,000
    20. U.S. Secret Service (in the budget of the Department of
    Homeland Security)7
    Protection of persons and facilities 689,535,000
    For protective intelligence activities 57,704,000
    For handling “special security events,” such as the 2009
    Inaugural 1,000,000
    For screening of White House mail 16,201,000
    Operations of the James J. Rowley Training Center 51,954,000
    Improvements at the James J. Rowley Training Center 3,725,000
    21. Commission on White House Fellowships (in the budget
    of the Office of Personnel Management) 850,000
    22. National Park Service White House Liaison Office,
    including the White House Visitor Center (in the budget
    of the National Park Service) 8,700,000
    23. Cost of detailees who work more than six months in a
    calendar year 227,349
    Total Cost of All White House Elements,
    for fiscal year 2008: $1,592,875,254
    Note that this does not include classified costs.

    • Proving my point, oh ye partisan hack. And I explained why in the post. Kids’ vacations completely unjustified. Higher deficits, much larger debt, unemploment. The Bush trick won’t work, and the Bushes took no separate vacations. It’s called hypocrisy and waste. Stop defending the indefensible. You embarrass yourself.

      • But how is it “lavish spending” if the spending has actually gone down? You wanted belt tightening, and it appears that you got it. Targeting his kids seems mean spirited at this point. They go on vacations, like most of their peers at school. Money has been allocated (by Congress, not the President) for such eventualities. We can’t realistically expect two teenagers to remain shut-in the White House, or restricted to two hours drive of their house for eight years. Their father, as a busy man, won’t be able to accompany them everywhere. But as a nation, we do have some obvious interest in making sure the Obama girls are not kidnapped. I think the Obamas, as parents, are doing a great job striking a balance in between making sure the girls have some semblance of a normal childhood typical of their class, and security concerns.

        • This has almost nothing to do with the Obama children. My issues aren’t with the fact that the President or his family have security. I also don’t have a problem with the President enjoying a “Vacation” (as much as the leader of the free world can) with his family. God knows he deserves a time to unwind. However, I do have a problem with a President in one breath will state that Americans need to sacrifice and be more fiscally responsible (good ideas, in my book), and then allow his children to go on not one, but TWO different trips during Spring Break… in one week… including one trip out of the Continental U.S. where security concerns will only be increased and add to the costs. Like I said earlier, whatever happened to Camp David?
          In addition, he has continually railed against his opposition in the Republican party stating that the “harsh” cuts due to sequestration would send the economy and the government into a tailspin. If things are so perilous, maybe we should ALL be better stewards of the government’s resources and watch how we spend. At the very least, it makes it seem to the general public that either he doesn’t recognize the dire straights of millions of Americans, or he doesn’t care.
          Finally, I have a big problem with the First Lady using chicanery to ensure that her daughters, her mother, and their entourage were able to accompany her on an official visit, which according to U.S. government policy, IS completely paid for by Federal funds. No matter how you slice it, that is unethical.

        • It’s lavish spending because money like that shouldn’t be spent on kids’ vacations, to which I might add, DUH????

          I couldn’t care less what the totals are—for Malia and Sasha to be occupying the time and expense of the Secret Service to the tune of $100,000 in places like the Bahamas is lavish because it is unnecessary and excessive. What do totals have to do with it? If an unnecessary expense is added to a budget of 10 cents, it’s lavish—if the money is added to a budget of 10 million, it’s lavish, because $100,000 is not money we need to spend on family vacations, and by definition, 100 grand is not money taxpayers should be paying for the President’s kids entertainment, when most of the kids of the people paying for it are lucky if they get to Chucky Cheese.

      • please be aware that the Presidents pays for their own vacations. No funds by the Tax payer pays for their vacations. The only thing paid by the Tax payers which they are working no matter where they are is the Personal Aid, Secret Services and fuel for Air force 1 helicopter and plane. The CBO budget has already proven this that no one president has even had the TP paid for their vacation. Research all the facts before- and information. Prior to the President moving to the White house was living their house for 1 year. This house is being rented out. He received royalties from his books, video and audio books. he only spends money while in the white house. taxes, personal living cost and personal aide. They are responsible for their own food and maid services. The Bushes did take a lot of vacations and spent a lot more money then Obama. The Bush were gone longer. President Obama take shorter vacations than most presidents. All Presidents when they plan any trip either for the country or personal, it cost money to send out Secret Services advance to check out the area.

        • Talking points, and also beside the point. Presidential vacations do cost a lot of money—the amount the President pays is a tiny percentage of the total cost to, yes, the taxpayer. But the main point is that the vacations, timed as they are, arrogantly elite as they are, look terrible.

          I’m so annoyed at this kind of knee-jerk spin that I’m not going to correct the typos in the post. So there.

    • The savings in the Obama White House cost stem entirely from Secret Service protection, listed as $259,152,884 in the $1.4 Billion to run the Obama White House in 2011 meme while Bush is considered to have used over $800 Million in 2008 for it. It could be that somehow Bush took over three times as much money to protect as Obama does, but it is far more likely that the numbers are the results of different methods of calculation. I couldn’t find out how the $259,152,884 figure was calculated but I could find the 2011 Secret Service budget. If we look at the enacted 2011 Secret Service budget instead of that $259,152,884 of unknown origin we can get numbers in line with the Brookings numbers you list (which came from the 2008 budget):
      Protection of persons and facilities $770 Million
      For protective intelligence activities $69 Million
      National special security events $1 Million
      For screening of White House mail $22 Million
      Operations of the James J. Rowley Training Center $54 Million

      Erg, if we compare apples to apples for the cost of the White Houses it looks like Obama is spending way more than Bush did.

    • Great information. Whose the source again? Get a copy of the real US budget and compare. I will NOT be lectured about how much it costs to run the White House and its ancillary services/offices, etc., when I think it’s ethically wrong for the public to pay for his children’s elite vacations. I can send my son to the Bahamas, but I wouldn’t have the chutzpah to charge it off to the company I own.

      Okay, they DO need Secret Service protection. No one denies that. But it’s the timing of this that’s the killer.. Any responsible leader just wouldn’t do this kind of thing in a time of economic crisis. Obama is absolutely tone-deaf; all your stats prove is that it costs money to run the White House. All his kids’ vacation proves is that he — regardless of what he professes — just doesn’t give a damn.

  4. When one of the heads of PETA was asked why she allowed herself to use diabetes medication tested on animals, she replied something to the effect of “my work is so important to animals, that it’s a necessary sacrifice to keep me on the front lines fighting for their rights.”

    Obama’s mindset reminds me of this. I suspects that he doesn’t measure his solidarity with the poor by his actual behavior, but by his political stance. If he earmarks taxpayer money to the poor, then he is a philanthropist in his own mind, and has earned the right to wine an dine himself because he’s one of the “good guys.” His own morals and/or personal behavior don’t factor into it because he is on the “right” side.

    It’s the same kind of moral balancing that explains why political liberals give and volunteer, on average, less than conservatives. They push (or at least vote for, or at least talk about voting for) more public benefits for the poor, and thus count themselves as having done their part.

    It’s also why I want to go do something incredibly stupid right after achieving something incredibly difficult. I’ve “earned” it, right?

  5. Scary.
    So it’s okay to endanger the Presidents kids because you think they take too many vacations? (Going against a policy with news agencies set from the time of Johnson to not publisize the locations or activities of the Presidents family in realtime – the Hard right Briebart.com reports the position of the presidents children during spring break.)

    You whine about security that is paid for IN ADVANCE by congress every Oct 1st – it’s salary,.. the Secret service get paid whether they wander around the white house or follow the family across the planet. The same is true for fueling AF1, (both of them) fuel is paid for in advance with a safe shelf life of 18 months.
    You complain about the President taking too many vacations when Bush STILL has taken more.

    I have looked and the bitching is baseless. The Hard right already tried to charge that Obama was taking vacations at Taxpayers expense – proven false so now you don’t hear any of that nonsemse above the grassroots ignorance of folk who didn’t bother to research – this page is a great example of this.

    At the point where you endanger the Presidents kids because you don’t like Obama, you just come off as hateful monsters.

    • Darnel, this is a foolish, foolish post, signaled by the initial statement, which sinks below that to dishonesty.

      Nothing in the post suggests that the First daughters shouldn’t be protected. They have to be protected, which is which is why it is irresponsible for the massive taxpayer expense involved in their travel not to govern considerations of how often and where they take vacations.

      The public expenses far, far outstrip whatever part of the vacations the Obama’s pay personally. The last Hawaiian trip, for example, cost taxpayers more than 3.6 million. It doesn’t matter that the Obamas pay something too—I couldn’t care less what they pay, and it doesn’t matter. They have an obligation to take public expense, not just into consideration, but into prime consideration.

      Sure, the Right is criticizing this aggressively in part because of animus toward the President and his policies, but it is a non-debatable complaint of substance, and the fact that partisans like you, disgracefully, lack the integrity to call flagrant misuse of scarce public resources for personal entertainment (costs are costs, and security, for that family, cannot be separated from those costs) is an indictment of such defenders’ (or enablers’) common sense, fairness, perception, and grasp of reality.

      Hence the title. There’s no excuse for triggering such expenses in travel and security for purely selfish, indulgent, discretionary activities, and any Democrat who can’t or won’t see and condemn that is so biases and addled that he forfeits the right to be listened to seriously.

      • What’s the point of arguing,.. You have no concern about the FACT that the children were put in danger by “hacks” w/o Journalistic entegrity. You fail to understand how the Government budgeting works, and you ignore the fact that the president your complaining about has taken less vacations than the one before.
        As for the right complaining – with respect,.. they have complained about everything they could including the types of condiments he uses on a hamburger.
        It’s the primary reason the the Republican party has lost credibility with the large Moderate population – 4 years of warning us that Obama would do everything from declaring himself dictator to enslaving white people. 4 years of saying the country cannot survive ONE year of Obama. Now with most of the nonsense dropped from the obvious sheer stupidity of having something to say about Obama that couldn’t be true – people are shifting to stuff that’s really way out there.

        How can the people complaining think they can be taken seriously when they define a “vacation” by Obama as taking a weekend off? Why should people take them seriously when one can research congress AND see that those Yahoos spend more time out of the office and spend more money doing it? This is why you don’t hear them howling about the president taking “too many vacations.”

        Sigh,.. have a nice day.

        • You have no concern about the FACT that the children were put in danger by “hacks” w/o Journalistic entegrity[sic]

          This “integrity” you speak of… Is that like what caused NBC to edit tape to make Zimmerman sound like a racist? Or caused Brian Ross to claim that the Aurora Theater shooter was a member of the TEA Party?
          I’ll freely admit that several on the right fail at proper fact-checking, but a) don’t act like there is some kind of actual rule that was broken b) act like this was actually a secret – the guy had to hear from someone where the kids were, he didn’t just divine the knowledge from tea leaves and c) don’t you fucking dare act like mainstream press has any fucking discernible level of integrity.

          Your partisan fuckwittery is nauseating. The economy is barely limping along with growth rates that should lead a President to suicide, unemployment that has never – not once – gone below 7.7 percent since the man took office (and is in fact much higher if you look at the more informative U6 numbers), and debt that will out-pace Greece’s ratio by the end of Obama’s 7th year in office.

          The man is an abject failure, his every policy an unmitigated disaster, and his staff filled with bumbling incompetents. And you’re going to stand there and say “the man deserves some time off”?

          Fuck you. Anyone performing at his level of stupidity at any other job would have been fired and SHOT years ago. You have to succeed at something in order to get a vacation, fucker, and Obama hasn’t NOT fucked up in so long he wouldn’t even know what that looked like.

          • Not feeling your hostility,.. Please yourself,.. I’m grown and tend to not get upset when folk disagree with me,.. To be polite,.. Get a grip and realize.
            You show your ignorance of history, and dismiss the the integrity of the rest of the media because you can point to a news service messing up. Pffft,.. If I wanted to stoop that low and waste time I could do the same starting with the nonsense from Fox and working my way down the chain of people who declare some untrue statement about the president each week.
            BTW in the past When a news service from America came across the location of a presidential family,.. they said nothing realtime. Most intelligent life in America understand the concept of not reporting where they are in realtime. They would type out a story if it were noteworthy and release it AFTER THE FAMILY returned to Washington.

            I kind of question your intelligence – you whine about stuff that was seen on the horizon in 2006, and blaim Obama for it. Like a sick child angry and upset because he’s sick,.. so he blaims the doctor for the pain of the shot and not being “made better” immediately.

            Do yourself a favor and ask someone with more sense what someone else could’ve done as president which would’ve done a better job at recovering from the economic meltdown of 2008?
            (chuckle – at had to succeed at something)

            You obviously are not a veteran or a military dependent,.. you don’t own credit cards, you didn’t buy a house, you didn’t work for GM, you don’t live off the gulf, You are not a farmer, you don’t pay taxes,.. otherwise you would realize how silly you read.

  6. Do yourself a favor and ask someone with more sense what someone else could’ve done as president which would’ve done a better job at recovering from the economic meltdown of 2008?

    Fucking anyone. Our economy is DEEP in the shitter, and you think it is going WELL?

    You really are a moron, aren’t you.

    “Seen on the horizon in 2006”? Idiot, it was seen by Bush at LEAST as early as 2005, and by Bill Clinton in the late 90s when both asked Congress to amend the CRA (you know, the cause of the bubble and thus the cause of the crash?).

    But hey, fuck facts – they just get in the way of you fawning over The One.

    • Please moderate the rhetoric, OK? That response sets my teeth on edge too—it is willfully blind, the product of extreme confirmation bias, ignorant, sad or frightening (it is really disturbing that the perpetual blame-shifting and accountability-ducking works when executed by a black President who too many have a stake in believing is incapable of error, while swallowing the bile that to assign him his just and obvious share is “racist”) and I’m not averse to an occasional use of expletives as rhetorical flair. But civility is our bulwark against barbarians, and I know you know how to do better.

      • The CRA was the cause of the bubble, and that WAS the cause of the market collapse. Not only is obvious to any rational person, but it is confirmed by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

        And I fail to see how saying that Clinton tried to fix the cause of the problem makes any of what I said mere rhetoric, much less blame-shifting.

    • After I saw this reply ,.. not giving an example of an alternative,.. not bothering to even SUGGEST what could’ve been done instead,.. but cursing me for having the nerve to disagree? Couldn’t be bothered to continue. I consider it living in denial of the worst sort, because if even half of whats being complained about here were true,.. we wouldn’t be a country,.. so I left. I apologise for disrupting your page.

      • It is interesting to see someone who writes reasonably, but swallows partisan spin and nonsense as if it is literal fact. I’m sorry you faced uncivil responses; on the other hand, your dishonesty and/or gullibility is frustrating, and I sympathize with the reaction to it. The question regarding alternative policy initiatives is off-topic, and a deflection of the issue; the constant reference back to Bush rejects the rules of legitimate ethical analysis (we’re not talking about Bush; he did not set the standard, or any standard; he was regularly criticized for his vacations; he did not have kids to send along, which has budgetary implications; and most of all, it was a different time: he did not take any vacations after the economy collapsed, nor were any of his previous vacations taken in the current state of debt crisis.)

        Dishonest and blatantly partisan statements—like yours—will always face stern criticism here, and deserve to. Your reference to denial is as ironic as it is hypocritical.

  7. Looking at the Republican distortion here I am reminded of this famous old quote:

    There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.
    == Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    • Looking at the non-argument argument here, I am reminded of the maxim, “put up or shut up.”

      The recent revelations of IRS retreat excesses shows exactly what you get when leadership’s message to the public about saving and being frugal is an example of do what I say, not what I do. This is the third Obama agency that we know of that has been flagged for such abuses, and the misconduct come right from the top. Campaign junkets count as near-vacations, too, when they aren’t strictly necessary—see here.

      I will also add that constant expensive trips are more easy to excuse when there is evidence that the President is actually doing the job he was elected to do. It is now clear, that at least for this one, fund-raising and campaigning takes the place of actual governing, rather than being break from it.

  8. I think President Obama is selfish by spending all the taxpayers money for his and his family vacations. He should have to pay for his wife and children whenever they go away. I am a senior citizen and I have never in my life seen spending like this. 40 million for Hawaii and 60 million for Africa and all the other trips and shows and etc This needs to stop!! we have a 11.8 million people unemployed, children who need food, seniors that need medicine. He was hired by the people he works for the people meaning taxpayers. The way he is spending we will never get out of debt.

    • Essentially, I agree. I have never been able to determine what proportion of his family’s expenses, if any, a President pays for personally. Whatever it is, the nation still get stuck with a big bill as well, if only for security.

  9. Thought-provoking comments , I loved the points – Does anyone know where my assistant can obtain a fillable OPM SF 3108 form to complete ?

  10. What do you think about Melania living in NYC, costing the tax payers something around 400k a day? What do you think about Trump vacationing every weekend in Florida?

    Where is the “chorus of outrage” from the right now? Where is the 1000 word article on your website about this travesty?

    Why Is Criticism Of The Obama Family Vacations Considered Partisan? Because it was. Thanks!

    • Obama lectured the public on frugality, then took luxury vacations. Hypocrisy. When Trump tells everyone else to avoid traveling, he’ll be in the same territory, and EA will say so.

      What, you want Melania to be forced to live in DC and raise her son there? She has no obligation, legal, ethical or otherwise, to do so.


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