President Obama definitely deserved a restful vacation on Martha’s Vineyard at the 28-acre Blue Heron Farm—even if it is owned by a Republican. After all, I myself have just returned from a sojourn on an idyllic island and feel 20 years younger—just don’t ask younger than what!
But while the joy of such islands is their peace and quiet, news does trickle through. And depressing news it was. Just thinking about all the problems the president has and how Congress is totally constipated makes one tired and cranky, even if you are at the beach.
When one reads that Frank Rich of The New York Times says the American people are wondering if they’ve been “punked” by Obama because nothing has really changed for the average guy, it reinforces the question: Why would anyone want to be president? No politician seems to have a chance these days. Of course, most of them don’t deserve one.
All anyone appears to want to do, from the liberal New York Times to the right-wing Fox News, is pick apart the president and his agenda. In this ADD society, the new sport is instantaneous “analysis,” which in most cases seems to be dismemberment. Everyone’s a critic (including, sometimes, moi).
Not that there haven’t been things to criticize. As carefully scripted as the new administration tries to be, something invariably goes awry. White House aides want a great photo of the new Air Force One, so they send it skimming over the New York skyline—terrorizing Manhattanites (and resulting in the offending bureaucrat’s resignation). Obama coolly dispatches a fly during a TV interview—only to have animal-rights advocates criticize him. He speaks out against greedy Wall Street bankers—only to have those same bankers, who were pleading desperation just a few months ago and got $700 billion in government bailout money, reward themselves a reported $32.6 billion in bonuses.
The first lady digs up the White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden—then finds out it can’t be called organic because the soil is contaminated with lead (thanks, reportedly, to the Clintons’ sludge fertilizer). So what are they going to do with the Sludge Garden now? A White House spokeswoman tells me the produce is safe to eat, just not organic because it takes three years to gain organic certification.
Then there was the first family’s European jaunt earlier in the summer. In Paris the Obama daughters went shopping—on a Sunday. So the streets around Bonpoint (one of the priciest children’s clothing stores) were closed, and the store opened just for them, since most French shops are shut on Sundays by law. They then went on to Rome for the G8 Summit. When one opens the newspaper and sees a photo of Sasha Obama’s shoeless feet dangling out of the limo after the family visited the pope, one wonders how dumbed down Americans are going to get. John Baer, a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, also wondered whether families who had to drop their vacation plans because of the recession would take kindly to the Obamas’ renting Blue Heron Farm, which has a pool, golf green and small basketball court. “Those who view Obama as an elitist will have new ammunition,” Baer wrote.
At least the vacation—not to mention the Obamas’ visit to the Grand Canyon—should silence critics of their European trip, who groused that the family should have toured the landmarks of the U.S. of A. instead. They have—so shut up. Still others whine that instead of Bonpoint, couldn’t they have bought more clothes from Crewcuts? And that even the beer Obama drank at the so-called Beer Summit with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge policeman James Crowley wasn’t exactly American—the president had a Bud Light, which is owned by InBev of Belgium.
What does all this add up to? It just goes to show the minutiae the critics will scour to pick, pick, pick. No wonder the president had to escape to an island for a week.
Sure, he might have been bitten by a few buzzing mosquitoes while he was there. But better that than being stung by the critical press. Why don’t they just leave the poor man alone for a while?