Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bush going for Guinness record

He'll never catch up to the vacation record set by his poppy as a one-term president, but at his current pace of R&R, he'll definitely make the record as a two-term president. (Anyone with more current numbers, please post a comment.)

In January of this year, Les Paynes, writer for the Long Island Newsday (printed in Common Dreams):

The 43rd president put the vacation record out where it poses a serious challenge for his second term. Back in the spring, prior to his August slumber, Bush had spent 40 percent of his time away from the White House, according to The Guardian newspaper, which takes note of such things. Between his inauguration and the 2004 Easter weekend, Bush had reportedly spent 233 days, or almost eight months, in 33 visits to Crawford, Texas, according to CBS News, which conducts a body watch on the president, but at a mandated out-of-sight distance. Tacking on his 78 visits to Camp David and five to the family compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, The Guardian clocked 500 presidential days spent "out of the office while in office."

The Guardian UK (July 29, 2005), on Bush's vacation in Crawford again for four weeks this month:
It will be the president's 50th trip to the ranch since he was elected nearly five years ago.

David Letterman, on Bush's 2003 vacation:
How many of you get a month vacation? Well President Bush will be getting his month-long vacation. The White House is calling it a 'working vacation.' And I am thinking, well that pretty much describes the entire presidency, doesn't it? ... Bush says he is going to be very active, he plans to exercise every day. And he says he exercise every day because it clears his head. Hey, mission accomplished.

Here's a variant on the Letterman joke:
From the president's point of view, the long
Texas stints are the best way to clear his mind.

That should take about two seconds.

Let's turn back the clock to August 2001. The Washington Post observed:
By the time President George W. Bush returns to Washington on Sept. 3 after the longest presidential vacation in 32 years, he will have spent all or part of 54 days since the inauguration at his parched but beloved ranch. That is almost a quarter of his presidency.

Throw in four days last month at his parents' seaside estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, and 38 full or partial days at the presidential retreat at Camp David, and Mr. Bush will have spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route.

Many of those days are weekends, and the Camp David stays have included working visits with foreign leaders. But administration officials, who initially believed that regular trips to the Texas ranch enhanced Mr. Bush's image as a rugged outsider, are acting as if they may be worried about the perception that he is loafing.

How could anyone forget that it was in that summer of 2001, while Junior was out on the back 40 clearing brush, that more important priorities fell to the wayside even as CIA Director George Tenet said "he had his hair on fire" with fear of a pending terrorist attack, complaining that no one in the Bush administration was paying attention to the chatter and intelligence clues. How could anyone forget the infamous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US," which stated Bin Laden's intention to hijack a U.S. commercial airliner, and which noted surveillance of New York buildings.

Doug Griffin recalled in George W.'s performance as president on the eve of 9/11:
According to a recent article by Fred Kaplan, Bush spent about 40% of his first year as president away from the Whitehouse:
It's easy to forget that before the terrorists struck, Bush was widely regarded as an unusually aloof president. Joe Conason has calculated that up until Sept. 11, 2001, Bush had spent 54 days at the ranch, 38 days at Camp David, and four days at the Bush compound in Kennebunkport—a total of 96 days, or about 40 percent of his presidency, outside of Washington.

This president has a lifelong pattern of being AWOL and this time it may have cost 3,000 people their lives. During the Vietnam War, Dubya's birthstation provided him the opportunity to protect the skies of Texas from the wily Viet Cong. Mission Accomplished! Not one slipped through. Texans were able to sleep because we knew we were under the protective eye of the future president. The problem is that there was no real threat then. There was a real threat on August 6, 2001 when President Bush received the PDB entitled Bin Laden Determined to strike inside the U.S. And just like the would-be pilot couldn't be bothered to fulfill his patriotic duty as an Air National Guardsman, the man who became the president couldn't be bothered to do his sworn duty as Commander-in-Chief. He didn't cut his vacation short (remember he hadn't even been in office a year yet) and spring into action like... like... dare I say... Captain America, and maybe try to prevent the impending disaster.

Update (8/17/05): See the updated numbers (and chart) of Geeduhbya's vacation time in a more recent post, "Vacation's all I ever wanted."


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