Here We Go Again!
WACO, Tex., Aug. 2 -- President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of -- nearly five weeks away from the office, loaded with vacation time.
The president departed Tuesday for his longest stretch yet away from the White House, arriving at his Crawford ranch in the evening to clear brush, visit with family and friends, and tend to some outside-the-Beltway politics. By historical standards, it is the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years.
The August getaway is Bush's 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and Tuesday was the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford -- roughly 20 percent of his presidency to date, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS Radio reporter known for keeping better records of the president's travel than the White House itself. Weekends and holidays at Camp David or at his parents' compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, bump up the proportion of Bush's time away from Washington even further.
Bush's long vacations are more than a curiosity: They play into diametrically opposite arguments about this leadership style. To critics and late-night comics, they symbolize a lackadaisical approach to the world's most important day job, an impression bolstered by Bush's periodic two-hour midday exercise sessions and his disinclination to work nights or weekends. The more vociferous among Bush's foes have noted that he spent a month at the ranch shortly before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when critics assert he should have been more attentive to warning signs.
The Washington Post loves to bring this non-story to light this time every year in what can only be viewed as an attempt to cast a negative light on President Bush. If I were writing it, however, I probably would have researched my source just a tad to make sure he hadn't said something previously that would make my story dead on arrival. They obviously didn't.
When it comes to the president, one phrase the White House hates to use is: "On vacation."
It conjures up an unflattering image of a chief executive with his feet up and the phone off the hook - ignoring the responsibilities of his office.
Of course, it's a myth. American presidents these days can get away from the Oval Office, but not its responsibilities. The burdens of the job follow him wherever he goes - including his ranch in central Texas.
Word of Advice: If you are going to go to all the trouble to cast the President in a negative light, make sure your source doesn't do the same to you.
Others Blogging: Blogs for Bush, GOP Bloggers
Thanks to Mudville Gazette Open Post