Thursday, August 11, 2005

Vacation's all I ever wanted

This is a new chart based upon updated numbers printed in a Washington Post article last week.

Junior's five-week vacation at Crawford this month is the longest presidential vacation in at least 36 years:

The August getaway is Bush's 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford -- nearly 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.

Hey folks, did you do the math!!! Check it out: with just four years under his belt, George W. Bush will be just one month shy of a full year spent on vacation by Labor Day.

The only other person who's spent more time on vacation is Junior's pappy. But he was just a one-term president. Junior seems headed to break an even bigger record, set by Ronald Reagan:
According to an Associated Press count, Reagan spent all or part of 335 days in Santa Barbara over his eight-year presidency -- a total that Bush will surpass this month in Crawford with 3 1/2 years left in his second term.

No worries America, said Scott McClellan. This isn't like 2001 when Bush allowed another record-long vacation just 6 months into his presidency to get in the way of protecting America from the 9/11 attacks. McClellan said that getting down to Crawford is an important way for the president to get back in touch with "the American people" (as opposed to the Saudi royal family?):
"Spending time outside of Washington always gives the president a fresh perspective of what's on the minds of the American people," White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters Friday. "It's a time, really, for him to shed the coat and tie and meet with folks out in the heartland and hear what's on their minds."

(cough, cough)...that is, of course, unless you're Cindy Sheehan!

Marc Sandalow for the San Francisco Chronicle, reprinted in Common Dreams:
If given the chance, Sheehan said in a conference call Wednesday with reporters, she has three things she wants to tell the president.

She wants to ask him what "noble cause'' her son died for; she wants to ask him if the cause is so noble, has he encouraged his own daughters to enlist; and she wants to tell him to stop saying the way to honor the troops killed in Iraq is to complete the mission.

"The only way they can honor my son's sacrifice is by bringing the troops home,'' she said.

God bless you Cindy Sheehan. Make that bastard squirm! America stands by you! was until recently listing "Cindy Sheehan" as the number one internet search. The only thing that could possibly be any better is the new search term that's edged Cindy into second place: "Bush Indictment"!

Good thing Bush likes it hot...:
"I just checked in with the house -- it's about 100 degrees," [Bush] told reporters Monday. "But no matter how hot it gets, I enjoy spending time in Texas."

...because he's surely headed straight to hell!


At 8/12/2005 09:10:00 AM, Blogger The Gnat's Trumpet said...

This is silly and intentionally (I can only hope it's intentional, after all it would be even worse if you really believe this) misleading.

As you well know (again, I'm hoping), a President is never on vacation even if he is physically away from the White House, especially so given the modern communications and information technology of today.

What do you think, the President has to be present at the plant in order to do his job. Even in my job, and I don't have anything like the communications or staff to follow me where I go, I don't have to be in the office to be at work and can get plenty done staying home at my house (the less affluent version of Bush's ranch).

I am left to wonder, have you at last reached the bottom of the barrel in your criticisms of the president?

At 8/12/2005 09:35:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

gnat boy!! Nice to hear from you.

Actually gnat boy, it's not at all silly - it's downright pathetic and tragic that a president sees his job as meriting so little of his time and dedication. I mean, we're not talking any Eisenhower here who knows what's what. We're talkin' about an impish little dweeb cheerleader who gets his cojones from a borrowed pair of cowboy boots.

Don't forget the fiasco of missed intelligence in August of 2001 (the August 6th Presidential Daily Briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside U.S." which described Al Qaeda's interest in hijacking airplanes.

Note as well these additional comments found in the Washington Post article I cited:

"Bush will not return to the White House until around Labor Day, but his staff has peppered his schedule with events to dispel any impression that he is not on duty. He will visit at least seven states, mostly with quick day trips, including New Mexico, where he plans to sign energy legislation into law. He gets off to a quick start this week, with a speech Wednesday in nearby Grapevine, Tex., then he plays host to President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia at the ranch Thursday. His schedule is clear Friday through Sunday."

"At some point, Bush told reporters Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will visit for consultations. "I have a busy couple of weeks down there," Bush said."

I just don't see anything in Bush's schedule that gives me the comfort in knowing that he's keeping Americans safe at home, and safe overseas where...what was going on over there? Oh, yeah...a war averaging about two dead Americans and several injured daily.

"At some point" Bush will meet with Condaleeza Rice and have "consultations" with Donald Rumsfeld. How many meetings would he be having with top advisors if he were in the White House? Actually, that's a very good question to ask of a guy who spends two hours a day working out.

The real question to ask yourself gnat boy is, who has something they need to tell the president, perhaps in confidence, or perhaps something whose importance would only be revealed upon telling the only person in the world who ought to have a comprehensive knowledge of everything going on. Who's being left out of the picture because the president of the United States is busy out on the back 40 clearing brush? Notwithstanding modern communication, nothing is as good as face time, and just being where you're supposed to be when vital intelligence comes in, or when an emergency happens.

And no, old gnat boy, in finding new ways to criticize the worst president ever, I have not reached the bottom of the barrel yet, but I'll keep on trying.

At 8/12/2005 03:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, oh! Gnat's back!

Hey Schroeder, don't you remember all the "hard work" Dubya does? He needs his rest, dammit!


At 8/13/2005 05:32:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

"It's haaard. Comin' in on weekends. Ordering in. Readin' doh-cuments."

At 8/15/2005 01:10:00 PM, Blogger The Gnat's Trumpet said...

How would you rate all of the modern presidents starting with Kennedy? Who do you believe to be the best president ever?

At 8/15/2005 03:37:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...


I'm not inclined to respond. What purpose would it serve. I haven't seen that you've responded to the deal I proposed in which you would admit to something you don't like about Bush.

At 8/15/2005 06:13:00 PM, Blogger The Gnat's Trumpet said...

What I don't like about Bush.

I don't like his failings in the domestic arena. By that I mean the big increase in spending during his first term. Now I know he doesn't pass those bills, but he could vetoed at least one of them, but no, keep on spending. It's funny that the Republicans refer to Democratic policies as tax and spend. Well, Bush sure was spending, wasn't he.

I absolutely abhor the policies he follows with respect to the sciences (and the pseudo sciences) and personal issues that the Government has no business getting involved with (for example, abortion and the Schiavo debacle).

I knew what I was getting before he took office, but in my mind he was far superior to the alternative, both times, and especially this last time.

By the way (if you are interested), I would rank the recent presidents in this order. Reagan, Kennedy, Bush II, Nixon, Bush I, Clinton, Johnson and Carter.

At 8/15/2005 06:14:00 PM, Blogger The Gnat's Trumpet said...

I forgot Ford, but then, he is forgetable, isn't he?

At 8/16/2005 09:41:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Actually gnat, what I asked was:

You do some homework and come up with just one reason that I agree with why Bush has worsened animosity toward the United States around the world, and I'll agree to your premise that some of that hatred is unjustified.

Since that was in another post, I can understand why you might not have supplied a foreign policy blunder by the Bush administration that has caused greater resentment overseas.

1) Kennedy - He learned from his mistakes and was willing to admit them. Among his biggest mistakes, too much of a reliance upon hardline national security advisors who thought the United States could do whatever it wanted to and get away with it. The Bay of Pigs invasion proved that to be false. He masterfully handled the Cuban missile crisis, delivering us from the brink of nuclear war. He screwed up Vietnam, true, but he inherited that, and there were some indications that, had he survived, he was ready to pull out. He was slow to push for civil rights for black Americans, but eventually came around. Most of all, he displayed an intellect, an eloquence, and a grace that continues to inspire new generations of Americans. He motivated an entire nation to think beyond their personal interests.

2) Clinton - He was a slow starter, but once he got his stride, he was unstoppable on any domestic or foreign issue. Sure, he carefully waded in one toe at a time, but that's what we should expect from a president who aims to please as broad a constituency as possible. That's called democracy. He handled the economy brilliantly, got the deficit down, and left office with a surplus. Biggest screw up? Rwanda!

3) Carter - The first president to really put human rights at the front and center of his foreign policy. It cost him in 1980, but that's really only because Reagan lied to the American people about what he represented, and what he was going to do. Carter was hurt most of all by a leadership style by committee, by the Iranian Revolution and resulting skyrocketing oil prices, and most of all, by the hostage crisis. The Reagan campaign, however, played a reprehensible dirty trick in negotiating with the Iranians to keep the hostages until after the election, in return for weapons deals down the road (hence, the Iran-Contra affair, playing both sides of the Iran-Iraq war, and supplying Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons - but that's Reagan, not Carter). Most of all, Carter was a decent man, as we now know from his lifelong service to the promotion of justice, democracy, and economic opportunity for all. I doubt any president has done more in his life after the presidency. I'll miss the old geezer when he passes, and if anyone deserves the love and affection of the American people, and a week-long state funeral, it's Jimmy Carter (not Ronald Reagan).

4) Nixon - notwithstanding his personal failings, I recognize that he didn't do anything that the Democrats weren't probably also doing. But he got caught, he had the power of the presidency to back him, and he lied. Impeachment would have been entirely appropriate. I appreciate the bold policies that Nixon implemented - as a right wing Republican. I might be corrected (I'm no presidential historian) but my impression is that he was an old school conservative who respected the fact that the government had a positive role to play in the lives of people, and followed through on that policy to win passage of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, additional set asides for national parks, etc. He got the ABM treaty passed, and entered into a policy of detente with the Soviet Union and China. Did he eff up Vietnam? Oh yeah! And the rest of Southeast Asia (Cambodia in particular). That too is unforgiveable, but I put Nixon up there because of his courage as a leader who did what no one expected him to do.

5) Johnson - On the down side, and it's a big one, he ramped up the Vietnam War. But thanks to his skill as a deal-maker, he followed through on the domestic agenda of Roosevelt and Kennedy. Were it not for the Vietnam War, I think his domestic agenda would have been appropriately funded, and would have been viewed as more of a success (although it certainly shouldn't be considered a failure - the way things were going, we were headed for a revolution against white America).

I refuse to rank any of the three, Reagan, Bush I, or Bush II, and yes, Ford is quite forgettable, especially after he pardoned Nixon. Reagan and both Bushes did nothing for me personally, in fact hurt me more than helped me vis a vis domestic policy matters. In the foreign arena, they all said one thing, then turned around and did something else. The end result being that, because policy choices were not cleansed by the bright light of day, they turned out to be damaging to the United States image abroad. Democracy DEMANDS an open and honest discussion of policy choices. Reagan and both Bushes had/have nothing but contempt for process and for democracy.


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