Here's a blast from the past. The New York Times, July 9, 2001, reports on George W. Bush's first summer vacation as president:On Friday, as new unemployment figures painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy, Mr. Bush placed himself in the same scenes--golfing and fishing in a New England paradise--that once caused his father electoral grief.Simply amazing.
Here's the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, dated July 6, that "painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy":The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.5 percent, five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the average for 2000.
As Barack Obama embarked on his first summer vacation as president last week--also in a "New England paradise," Martha's Vineyard--the most recent unemployment rate was 9.4%, more than double the summer 2001 figure. Covering the Obama jaunt, the Times offers no hint that there's anything wrong with a president taking a vacation during a time of genuine crisis. Indeed, it offers this justification:Mr. Obama, whom aides described as being amused by all of the gloom-and-doom prognosticating over his health care agenda, did not even consider skipping his vacation. Last year, he talked about the importance of taking a break to avoid "making mistakes."
That makes sense--and in any case, it's not as if the president actually escapes his responsibilities when he goes on "vacation." But the Times's coverage of Obama is a useful contrast to the paper's petty partisan sniping against Bush.
Read the whole column here.