Saddened and angered and frightened by the assassinaton of Benazir Bhutto and the precarious state of the world, I was struck this morning by how such events don’t alter Dubya’s vacation schedule. That got me to looking for specifics about the absolutely obscene number of vacation days Bush has taken since he became president.
Here’s some data from the Common Dreams article referenced above: “According to the Washington Post’s tabulations, by August 2003, Mr. Bush had spent 250 days – 21% of his presidency – on vacation (166 of those days ensconced at his Crawford ranch) …
“When it comes to jetting off on extended vacations, George W. is simply following in the contrails of his famous father. President George H. W. Bush spent 543 days relaxing at Camp David or Kennebunkport, Maine, all on the taxpayers’ dime. Even Ronald Reagan (no stranger to clearing brush on the family ranch) didn’t come close to the Bush Family Record. Reagan only spent 335 days at his Santa Barbara ranch during the entire eight years of his presidency.
“For taxpayers interested in getting a good return on their investment, Democrats clearly have the better record as conscientious, time-clock-punching government employees. Workaholic Bill Clinton claimed just 152 days of vacation in the first three years of his presidency. In 2000, Clinton clipped his vacation to a mere three days. Jimmy Carter was the real stuck-in-the-saddle champ. Carter only took 79 days off – all at the family home in Georgia.”
Here are some figures based on a CBS News tally back in 2004. The pattern is clearly well established and unaltered by world events. As of August, 2007, according to one blogger, Bush’s vacation day tally was (at least) 418 days (or about 1 year and 2 months). I have to think that by now it’s reached a year and three months … that’s 15 months … sound familiar?
Juxtapose Bush’s 15 months of R&R with the following, reported by the AP on 4/12/07: “Stretched thin by four years of war, the Army is adding three months to the standard yearlong tour for all active-duty soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, an extraordinary step aimed at maintaining the troop buildup in Baghdad.
The change, announced Wednesday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is the latest blow to an all-volunteer Army that has been given ever-shorter periods of rest and retraining at home between overseas deployments.”
Obscene doesn’t begin to describe it …
However, a number of our comedians have done their part, unmasking the hypocrisy and making Dubya the butt that he deserves to be! Here’s one of many … “President Bush is going on his annual vacation. The White House says he goes to his Texas Ranch to unwind. I’m thinking, when does he wind?” –David Letterman.
My final thought? For the sake of the country (not to mention democracy) wouldn’t it be great if Cheney would pick up a few of Bush’s habits?