August 21, 2011

I'm Takin' A Vacation!

What to make of Mr. Obama's Martha's Vineyard vacation? Some have suggested that considering the horrendous economic situation for which Mr. Obama bears primary responsibility, it is, as the trendy saying goes: "bad optics." Indeed it is. Others claim that Presidents are due their vacations, which also has the ring of truth. Others bewail the extravagance of the Obama family's choice of vacation spots and of the expense involved. The Obama's will be staying in digs reportedly costing some $50,000 per week, which is more than a great many Americans make in a year. There is indeed a case to be made for unthinking, uncaring extravagance.

All of this is disturbing too because the Martha's Vineyard excursion is hardly an isolated event. Combined with Mr. Obama's plethora of golf outings and his many command performance White House parties starring himself with a supporting cast of various celebrities, to say nothing of jetting on Air Force One on various "date nights," Mr. Obama has succeeded in creating a particularly unfortunate stereotype: The low roller suddenly come into money who lives large and fast and blows it all in an ostentatious display of greed and carelessness.

In Julius Caesar (Act. II, Scene I), Brutus speaks of those who climb the ladder of power too fast, and reaching its upper rungs, forget how they got there and the people they used and tend to abuse power. One might be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Obama didn't learn that lesson from Shakespeare, or the most important lesson: When the mighty allow themselves Hubris—excessive pride--they fall.

Yet this is far from the only evidence of Hubris. Mr. Obama recently went on a "jobs" bus tour of the middle states of flyover country. The two busses specially ordered and manufactured for this transparent campaign junket were painted Darth Vader black, which is as far as I'll go into the symbolism of that odd choice, except to wonder if perhaps some little bit of color, such as an American flag, might not be appropriate for Mr. Obama, who when last I checked was the President of the United States. Symbolism, you know.

What is most interesting is that prior to embarking on a bus tour to reassure America of his serially renewed, laser-like focus on creating American jobs, Mr. Obama chose a Canadian company to build his conveyances. Costing the American taxpayer $1.1 million each, the busses are among the most luxurious manufactured by Prevost of Quebec. Why so much? Armor, various conveniences, and of course the electronic and other support gear required by the Secret Service. The costs of housing, feeding and otherwise maintaining all of the minions of the Obama campaign machine on this trek are not yet available, but surely are not, as Dr. Evil suggested about the details of his life, "quite inconsequential."

Remarkable is that even as Mr. Obama ventures into the lands of those bitter clingers to God and guns who have antipathy for those not like themselves—which presumably includes Mr. Obama (such Olympian bravery!)—he hasn't the faintest notion of a plan to produce that about which he now, yet again, claims to most concern him: jobs. He has, however, announced that after Labor Day, when his Martha's Vineyard labors are done, he will deliver—a speech! Praise be! If I can only hang on until then! This particular speech, it is said, will reveal Mr. Obama's plan to produce jobs and to rescue the economy. It is even rumored that he will propose spending cuts far in excess of anything seen to date. However, considering that to date, nothing at all has actually been cut, two cents might qualify.

And here I have my quandary. I have often criticized Mr. Obama's class warfare and his Socialistic fixation on taking money from the rich and giving it, if not exactly to the poor, to those Mr. Obama feels more worthy such as starving labor unions, waifish community organizers, down on their luck car manufacturers, pitiful Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and similar down on their luck victims of Mr. Obama's policies. Such class warfare is indicative of bad breeding, of envy and of coveting a neighbor's possessions. It is a repudiation of the American values of hard work and industry, of self-reliance and pride. It ignores the fact that the creation and accumulation of wealth in America is not a zero-sum game. A dollar my neighbor makes is not a dollar that I can no longer make—at least not until Mr. Obama completes his dissolution of the economy.

It's rather hard to teach our children to take sincere pleasure in the good fortune and honest accomplishments of others, and to encourage them to engage in the character building and hard work necessary to do the same while supporting those who paint the industrious and prosperous as somehow indecent, heartless and even evil.

So bless his heart, may Mr. Obama and his family enjoy themselves on their vacation and on all the vacations, golf outings, date nights, White House command performances, campaign tours, and other frolics they can afford. The Obamas are apparently paying for their lodging on this particular trip, which is only right and I salute them. If I am to be consistent I must; we all must.

But we are completely justified in our disgust, perhaps even outrage, about $1.1 million dollar busses made in Canada. When last I checked, there were one or two firms in America capable of producing luxurious busses, perhaps for a bit less than $1.1 million. Some of these firms might even employ union employees. Look for the union label—in Canada? Of course I could ask whether it was really necessary to buy the busses at all, but that might make too much sense. No doubt future presidents can conduct their own Star Wars tours when possessed, as Chris Muir's Day By Day cartoon on August 17, 2011 suggested, by the power of the "Debt Side," which fits well when one is traveling in one's own personal "Debt Star."

Our annoyance entitlement also extends to all of the other ostentatious displays of wealth, power and excess in which Mr. Obama seems to revel, particularly since we are footing a substantial portion of the not inconsequential bills for these quaint and frequent gatherings of the self-imagined elite. We are on solid ground as well when we observe that the "optics" of much, if not all, of this seem particularly wretched, for they do make Mr. Obama appear to be a man who considers himself to be superior to the little people with whom he occasionally condescends to mix. At the very least, his leisure choices would seem to indicate a sense of entitlement far beyond what reasonable people would consider justified or wise. True believers would observe that the Scientific Socialists leading the masses on the path to socialist utopia deserve certain perks as a reward for all they have done for those incapable of understanding and appreciating their altruistic revolutionary labors. Fortunately, for the moment, Americans seem of a mind to boot them—and America—off the path.

So we begrudge not Mr. Obama's vacations. He is free to use his wealth as he pleases, for if he is not, one of the foundations of America, one of the cornerstones of good manners and character is illegitimate. But it does not violate the principles of good manners, or even the Ten Commandments, to consider any man's character as revealed by his choices and actions. Americans are rather good at those kinds of considerations, and they tend not to make the same mistakes twice. In 2012, they'll have the chance to rectify a very expensive mistake.

Posted by MikeM at August 21, 2011 09:01 PM

"...bless his heart..." I assume you're taking the Southern meaning here?

"He is free to use his wealth as he pleases..." Yes, he is - unfortunately, he's spending our money instead.

Posted by: alantorm at August 22, 2011 08:20 AM