Skip to comments.Obama Vacations Where the Elite Meet
Posted on 08/23/2009 10:45:06 AM PDT by nickcarraway
As the health care debate rages on, President Barack Obama will begin a week-long vacation Sunday in Marthas Vineyard, an enclave of liberal royalty far from middle America, where his approval numbers are starting to stall.
Already, at least one group on the right is taking a jab at Obama over his beach vacation at a 28-acre farm, said to rent for up to $50,000 a week. Obama has struggled against the perception that he has trouble connecting with average voters, and some are questioning his choice of a getaway spot for the well-to-do. The danger for President Obama is that he seems to be in what is one of the most elite summer resorts in the United States. From an image-making point of view, it would be better to be in the Wisconsin Dells or Put-in-Bay, Ohio, said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. There is the connotation with Marthas Vineyard of East Coast elitism I have a feeling when they decided on Marthas Vineyard they didnt know the health care debate would be this brutal.
The Republican group, Conservatives For Patients Rights, made an ad called Surfs Up, mocking Obamas leisurely beachside vacation.
The beach is nice this time of year but while President Obama vacations, concerns mount about his health care plan, the ad says. Mr. President, when you go back to D.C., drop your government run health care plan. But the White House has been unapologetic about both the need for Obama to take a break from the battle over his health plan, and about his choice of a venue.
I dont think the American people begrudge a president taking some time with his family thats well-earned and well-deserved for a few days to see and spend time with them, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. Gibbs also said the president isnt planning any public events during his vacation but will be in touch with key congressional players.
The politics of presidential vacationing is hardly new. Obamas predecessor steered clear of vacation spots of the rich and famous, but George W. Bush did take heat for spending a month or more at times on his ranch in Crawford, Tex. His father, President George H.W. Bush, also took flak for tooling around the familys compound off Kennebunkport, Maine, in sleek cigarette boats during a recession.
Obamas also has chosen a vacation spot associated with the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who visited twice during his presidency including once in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Sen. Edward Kennedy has a house in nearby Hyannisport, on Cape Cod. There was some speculation that Obama would visit Kennedy who is battling a brain tumor but the two will not meet, according to a Kennedy aide. Initially, presidential vacation watchers speculated that one of the reasons Obama chose Marthas Vineyard was to visit Oak Bluffs, a historically black enclave where director Spike Lee, music executive Sylvia Rhone and Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree have houses, and where generations of blacks have spent summers at the Inkwell, as the beach is nicknamed.
But instead, Obama will be about 12 miles away on a secluded property in Chilmark called the Blue Heron Farm, in the same town as Clinton pal Vernon Jordan, who is known to keep a daily, early morning golf date at the Farm Neck Club in Oak Bluffs.
The sprawling beach-front estate includes a golf tee, an apple orchard, gardens, swimming pool and a small basketball court. The president is paying for his familys portion of the rental out of his own pocket, with the government picking up Secret Service and staff costs.
During the campaign, Obama visited Marthas Vineyard for fundraising, and in summer 2004, there was a kind of coming out party for the soon-to-be junior senator from Illinois. Organized by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who owns a home on the island, the event drew a crowd of about 300 A-listers to the summer rental of Harvard professor Henry Louis Skip Gates, a friend of Obamas who once hosted the Clintons at the home in Oak Bluffs. Obama is expected to see Gates this week as well, friends say just weeks after Gates attended the beer summit at the White House, following Gates arrest on disorderly conduct charges at his home by a white Cambridge, Mass., police officer.
Obama came out strongly in defense of Gates, saying police acted stupidly in arresting the professor. It was the first racial imbroglio of his term, and set off a firestorm that Obama tried to quiet by bringing Gates and the officer to the White House.
Palling around with Gates could re-open a conversation that Obama doesnt want to have, some say.
It would be hard to avoid seeing Skip [Gates] because he is out and about so much . . . but I think it would be a mistake to go over to Skips for a beer, said Melissa Harris Lacewell, a political science professor at Princeton University, who was on the Vineyard last week for an annual conference on race. He doesnt want to encourage the sense that he has an intimate relationship to Skip or that he has any lingering responsibility. He [Obama] has done his part in all of this.
Ogletree, who owns a home in Oak Bluffs, said that there arent any plans for a reception for Obama similar to the one in 2004. People are ready, willing and able to host him in any way, but they want him to get privacy and rest, said Ogletree, a mentor to Michelle Obama who was Gates lawyer after he was arrested. Harris Lacewell said Americans shouldnt be surprised the president wants to go to a nice place for vacation, especially a place like Marthas Vineyard where he has many friends.
If he wants to hang out where other presidents hang out then he can, she said. America is going to have to get over the fact that the guy is an elite. He lives in the White House -- he can vacation in the Vineyard. But Obamas in-box will be stuffed full when he gets back heading into a critical month of September on health care, but also facing big decisions other parts of his legislative agenda such as cap-and-trade energy legislation, as well as an expected request for more troops from his commander in Afghanistan.
Hell also face liberals growing anxious that Obama is prepared to sacrifice some of their key priorities on health care and other issues which would shatter their hopes that Obama would usher in a new progressive era in American politics.
The President needs to use his vacation not just as a well-deserved break to be with his family but as a time of contemplation, to step back and ask why he ran for President, Drew Westen, a political psychologist, wrote on POLITICOs The Arena. He needs to come out in September with an answer.
Well this kinda tells literally what old Teddy's condition is. But he can still write letters. s/
They flew Air Force One to Martha’s Vineyard? How big is the airport there? Why didn’t they fly a smaller jet? Maybe they’ll fly by Manhattan, again, on their way home.
The understatement of the millennium.
The FreeRepublic rally we had in DC October 1998 was FANTASTIC!
I'm curious. Who pays this amount?
I love the Vineyard but can’t stand the Moonbat Leftists who inhabit it.
My husband said he hopes Obama takes a permanent vacation! Just don’t let him back into DC!
Of the $250k, the vast majority was travel and security associated. I have no problem paying for that. Similar costs apply whenever the pres goes anywhere.
But either the government or Obama himself, or some entity is coughing up the funds for the rental of this “farm.” Even if it’s donated by the owners, wouldn’t that be an illegal gift?
You read the article?!!?
This guy has never seen the inside of a check book....
And he and his ilk are going to have to realize that they work for us.
‘’Duffys’ Tavern, where the elite meet to eat, Archie the manager speaking, Duffy ain’t here.’’
“I love the Vineyard but cant stand the Moonbat Leftists who inhabit it.”
I’ll take Nantucket. Obama can have the Vinyard and....
Is that still on the radio?
Sorry. Everyone associated with Zero seem to be pathological liars. I don’t buy it.
He and Michelle just want to lord it over the elites.
“I love the Vineyard but cant stand the Moonbat Leftists who inhabit it.”
They are not all leftist moonbats!! believe it or not there are many conservative people on the Vineyard and a lurking freeper or two!! Alot of the liberals washed ashore in the 60’s
Ramadan vacaton I’ll bet .
Don’t get me wrong, this is moonbat central but there are America loving patriots on MV aswell.
I know, I know — I bucked the system and read the article. I don’t begrudge a sitting president a vacation. What does bother me is the “let them eat cake” attitude. They could have used this as an opportunity to set an example on wise use of taxpayer funds by choosing someplace a little less high dollar and demonstrate how a family of four can get away on a budget when money is tight. But NO, that’s not for the royal Obamas. Instead they spend the equivalent of an average family’s annual income on a week away in status symbol land. The country is not in the mood for a President who flaunts his expensive tastes while the rest of us try to pay for his irresponsible programs.
If I remember correctly Bush usually took vacations at his house in Texas. Once they went to a home that Daddy (I think) owns up there somewhere.
Don’t the Obamas still own their home in Chicago? They should vacation there or Camp David..........period.
Anything else shows their arrogance and elitism.
You are thinking of Kennebunkport, Maine, the summer home of Sen. Prescott Bush (CT) on down, father of 41, g.father 43.
Excellent post! When the Clintons went to Martha's Vineyard they stayed at homes owned by friends, which is far different than spending $50K for a week when most Americans are cutting back.
Marthas Vineyard, by comparison has civilized folk who live by the Boston Globe and NY Times and have voted Kennedy all of their lives (probably some even afterwards). What a change that is everything that they hoped and voted for. Of course, I happened to note this obligatory hit on Bush-41/43 in the WaPo which conveniently does not specify the time frames covered;
Obama is taking only a week off from his day job, far less than some of his predecessors. Former president George H. W. Bush often took several weeks at Kennybunkport, Maine. His son, George W. Bush, spent weeks at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
My personal opinion is that with modern technology and the White House support structure, no President is ever really on vacation, he is just out from under of the regimented White House schedule. I begrudge none of these quasi-vacations of any of them from the world's toughest job.
The president is paying for his familys portion of the rental out of his own pocket, with the government picking up Secret Service and staff costs.