2006/12/05

Job vs vacation

"Instaputz" whipped up a list of "Instapundit's" many, many erroneous statements and predictions. Reading the list, one has to wonder how Instapundit maintained a career as a law professor. I should think he would have been let go a long time ago. In any event, I followed one of the links, which led me to the following piece:

The Psychology of Bush Hatred
Sunday, November 28, 2004
........

I thought of that insight today when I glanced at Maureen Dowd's column and read this sentence, "Maybe it's because George Bush is relaxing at his ranch down there (again) while Osama is planning a big attack up here (again)."

That is the voice of a petulant child, angry that she has a tummy ache while Daddy is at work or Mommy is visiting a friend, or the voice of a grouchy wife angry that she has a migraine while her husband is out coaching the kids' baseball team. You're upset that you're in pain (we've all been there), so you get mad at someone whose presence wouldn't make the pain any better. No mature student of politics believes the president of the United States goofs off on vacation. It's not the kind of job you escape. George Bush may be completely insane to voluntarily. spend July in Texas--as opposed to Bill Clinton's favored coastal retreats--but Osama bin Laden is no more or less a threat than in Bush were in Washington. But if blaming Bush makes people feel better, safer, or at least able to focus their anger on someone they can hurt, they'll blame Bush. "

It was pretty obvious to progressives like myself at the time, but it's become even clearer since this post was published that Bush has a real problem with extended vacations. His first month-long summer vacation was in 2001. He received a PDB on August 6th that said "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." How do he respond? As far as anybody can tell, he didn't. He had a summer vacation to conduct, after all. Might have helped if the guy had taken a shorter vacation and y'know, had done his job.
The second vacation of note was in 2003. It's doubtful that anything the US could have done in the summer of 2003 would have resulted in victory in Iraq, but there was a window from the fall of Baghdad to about the time the fall season began that Iraq's insurgency could have been weakened and delayed with an energetic and well-funded reconstruction program. Bush wandered off to Crawford, Texas, about the time that the existence of a serious, long-term insurgency became impossible to deny. The US Army needed a full-time Commander-in-Chief who was dedicated to doing the job. The Army didn't get that in 2003.
The third time of note was in 2005, when Bush was hanging around during his final week of vacation. Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Bush consulted by closed-circuit television with Louisiana officials, then went back to his vacation. Bush went to Arizona to celebrate John McCain's birthday,. then to an Arizona resort to discuss Medicare drug benefits. That evening, Governor Blanco said "Mr. President, we need your help. We need everything you’ve got.” [Newsweek]. Thinkprogress: "2PM CDT — PRESIDENT BUSH PLAYS GUITAR WITH COUNTRY SINGER MARK WILLIS [AP] BUSH RETURNS TO CRAWFORD FOR FINAL NIGHT OF VACATION [AP]"
Again, Bush seems to have had a real problem doing his job.
To complain about Bush taking long vacations is hardly "Bush Hatred." It's entirely reasonable to expect the President to do his frickin' job, even if that job interferes with his precious vacation time!!

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