Why Donald Trump is the most impactful president-elect since Abraham Lincoln

December 10, 2016

Okay, sit back down. You’re okay. Breathe. Breathe. You’ll be alright.

I said, “impactful,” okay? “Impactful.” It’s not even a Gates approved word, it underlines red in Microsoft Word. Just relax.

First, lets take a little tour and see some other impactful presidents-elect so you will get a sense of context.

Why Ronald Reagan was a great president-elect

Ronald Reagan made a big impact as a president-elect. He grunted and hummed and winked and whispered and the Iranians released the American hostages even while he was taking the oath of office on inauguration day. He had sent the signals. The Iranians had gotten the message. It didn’t take 8 years. It didn’t even take 8 minutes. Jimmy Carter was still president but we all know why they were released.

Richard Nixon made a big impact as a president-elect. He and Kissinger had agents on the ground in Paris at the peace talks with North Vietnam. Even while LBJ was trying to end the war. Lame duck, President Johnson, could only fume.

Lincoln had to keep Kentucky in the union.

Abraham Lincoln was the most impactful president-elect of all. Lame duck, President James Buchanan was having a 19th century version of a Netflix binge, nobody knew what he was up to, so with the nation being torn apart, Lincoln had to send signals from Springfield, Illinois.

He was trying, among other things, to keep Kentucky in the union and so keep his wife, Mary Todd and her family together. Happy wife, happy life? And happy country too?

Donald Trump best president-elect since Lincoln

Everything Donald Trump has done as president-elect has been impactful and strategic.

His trip to Indiana and involvement with the Carrier Company was hugely symbolic. It said, 1.) I keep my promises, 2.) This administration will be about jobs, 3.) I want it done fast.

Now, I know, the media says that the Carrier Company is only one company and a handful of jobs, he can’t go to every factory. Those jobs are a drop in the bucket.

But a president doesn’t have time to meet with the 2.79 million federal workers in his bureaucracy. They pick up on what he wants by listening to his speeches and by following his actions.

Obama was about giving speeches in the Rose Garden. Trump is about leadership on steroids, showing us by example how to get things done. Before this is over companies will be coming to him with deals that will create more jobs.

Likewise the message to Boeing was clear. You gave a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation and had all of your execs give money to Hillary’s presidential campaign. Now you want government money in return. Well, in the future, companies that want to succeed will do so better by producing products that are of good quality, come in under bid and on time and are actually needed. The day of bribe is over, the new day of supply and demand is back.

Finally, the call from Taiwan shows that everything is on the table. We know what we need from China and what they need from us and the arrangement will have to be more fair.

Changing the rules of history

When Trump delayed in naming his first cabinet officer the media pounced, using a new measurement to judge president-elects. Obama had named his first cabinet officer after three weeks, they said.

But then, lovers of history like yours truly, reminded them that Reagan, Ford, Carter, Clinton, George W. Bush, had all taken six weeks. And when Trump surprised everybody and named off cabinet picks, pop, pop, pop, the media moved the goal posts. The rules had changed. President-elects would henceforth be judged by something else, we will find it, just be patient. It will be something that Trump doesn’t do well.

The fact is, whether he is a good president or not remains to be seen, but like it or not, he is indeed an impactful president-elect. Even a great one. He is sending signals that need to be sent. He is a leader.  And whether he got 40 jobs out of Carrier or 4,000 misses the point. It’s 40 more than any other president-elect has ever gotten before.

Donald Trump has come out of the gate fast.

 

 

 

 


Not so fast: Trump may still need Rubio to win.

March 14, 2016

3-14-2016

Anything may happen but as of this moment Donald Trump is headed to victory in Florida tomorrow night and that will go a long way in clinching his position as the Republican nominee for president. It will crush Senator Marco Rubio who will have been beaten in his own home state.

But not so fast. In a curious way it might make both men more dependent on each other than ever before.

There is a general assumption that what Trump has done to win the nomination has diminished his chances of winning the general election. Obviously, Mr. Trump will have to revisit Women, Hispanics, Blacks and any other alienated constituencies. The general consensus is that Trump will need a woman on the ticket, as his vice presidential nominee, or else a whole lot of potential Trump voters will sit at home. And his choice would most likely be South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley. But there are some compelling reasons behind a Trump-Rubio ticket as well.

Rubio? Who can’t even carry his home state? The reasons are complicated.

In 1960 the Democratic Party found itself in a similar dilemma. They had started the political season with an army of potential nominees.  One by one they were eliminated. The first to drop out was  Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson, the party elder statesman. He had already run twice and lost. The early front runner, Senator Estes Kefauver, of Tennessee was next to go. And then the so called “Happy Warrior” Minnesota Senator, Hubert Humphrey, who lost the West Virginia Primary to young Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Toward the end of the nominating season the numbers had been reduced to three serious contenders. Senator Kennedy, Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri and Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas. Johnson was considered by many as the most experienced and the most likely to win against a Republican in the general election.

Kennedy won the nomination but the party was deeply fractured.

The Johnson campaign workers were especially bitter toward Kennedy, an upstart, son of a millionaire, who was a Catholic. No Catholic had ever been elected president.

Kennedy wisely divined that he needed Lyndon Johnson as his vice presidential running mate. His own supporters were furious. And Johnson’s supporters were apoplectic. In the end it took the strength of will of both men, individually, to pull it off.

Johnson knew that Kennedy  would not win without him. But Johnson humbled himself and accepted the second spot on the ticket and eventually both Kennedy and Johnson became U.S. presidents. Even politics can be a game of inches.

Notwithstanding Marco Rubio’s failure to win his own state of Florida, it is still very possible that Donald Trump will not win a general election without his support. It is less an issue of region and home state as it is demographics.

Trump has offended Hispanics and Rubio is Hispanic.

Trump is a Presbyterian who needs a Catholic on the ticket. Rubio is Catholic.

Trump has been publicly opposed by Mitt Romney, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are key to carrying the Mountain States, including swing states such as New Mexico and Colorado. Rubio grew up as LDS and is a favorite of Romney.

Trump needs Florida to win. Although Trump is likely to beat Rubio in the Florida GOP primary tomorrow night, Rubio is a native of Florida and might make the difference if it comes down to Florida as it did in 2000.

And Trump needs to unite the Republican Party. No one has taken more abuse from Donald Trump than Marco Rubio. If Rubio can forgive Trump, then Cruz, Romney, Ryan and everybody else will have to fall into line.

Finally, if Senator Marco Rubio losses Florida Tuesday, he will need Donald Trump too. His future political career will depend on helping to heal the Republican Party. A successful nationwide campaign as the GOP vice presidential nominee will restore his relevancy.

In 1964 establishment Republicans badmouthed their own nominee, Barry Goldwater and he went down to defeat. But one GOP public figure stayed true and faithfully supported the nominee of his party. That man, Richard Nixon, won the nomination himself four years later and was elected president that same year.

Will Donald Trump make the offer? And would Senator Marco Rubio accept it if he did? That discussion is still months away. And at this moment it is as unlikely as it was for John F. Kennedy to take on Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate.

(See this dated assessment from one year ago. Who knew that Trump would trump both Bush and Rubio?)

 


Chris Christie must now pay the butcher’s bill

February 15, 2014

“I am no bully,” said Governor Chris Christie at his January 9, 2014 press conference.  And then he proceeded to pummel to death his best friends and closest political advisers.  Now some of those advisers are coming back to haunt him.

Christie insisted that he knew nothing about the hardball, political pay back machinations of his own office which led to the shut down of traffic at Fort Lee.  It was allegedly payback to a mayor who had not supported Christie for re-election.  It tied up traffic coming out of New York City for a day.

The governor claimed that his staff was to blame.  They had  lied to him, he said, and what they had done reeked of “abject stupidity.”

Christie said he had immediately fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and was ordering his two time campaign manager, Bill Stepien, to withdraw his nomination to lead the New Jersey Republican Party.

Christie went out of his way to distance himself from another aide who had long been considered a high school friend, David Wildstein.  “David and I were not friends in high school,” Christie lectured the press. “We were not even acquaintances in high school. We didn’t travel in the same circles in high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don’t know what David was doing during that period of time.”

Richard Nixon had lost his presidency by trying to defend the Watergate burglars.  “We have to help them,” he said, even though he had not ordered the break-in at the Democrat National Headquarters.   It was the effort to get money to the burglars families that eventually implicated the White House in the scandal.  And when the cover-up extended to the highest levels and Nixon was forced to fire his top aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, he told that nation, “I feel like I have lost my left and right arms.”  

Said Nixon, “They were two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know.”

Later, when Sir David Frost interviewed Richard Nixon he asked why the president hadn’t blamed his staff for their mistakes and fired them and kept out of the scandal from the beginning.

Nixon quoted the British Prime Minister William Gladstone who said that the first requirement for a prime minister was to be a good butcher.  Nixon answered ruefully, “I was a poor butcher.”

Not Chris Christie.  Promoted by pundits on the Fox News Channel as their new Catholic candidate (ala Rudolph Giuliani in 2008) Christie had no problem immediately excising his arms, legs, hands, or anything else that might come in the way of more power.   And he did so decisively.

Haldeman and Ehrlichman may or may not have been two of the finest public servants in American history but Christie’s appointees were “stupid” and “liars” who needed to be put down immediately.  This was one Watergate lesson Chris Christie had taken to heart.

No one stopped to ask why Christie had surrounded himself with “stupid liars” as his closest aides.  The Fox pundits, unperturbed, insisted that the incident was only a temporary setback for their man.

Anyone with experience working for a president or a governor knows that they are not ignorant of what goes on around them although they carefully nurture this idea to avoid blame for the things they can’t fix.  Former Governor Sarah Palin pointed this out.

Information is currency, it has value.  It is like finding a shoe box with hundred dollar bills that are disappearing before your eyes, you spend them as quickly as you can, while they still have value.  If you have information, any information, you get it to the president or governor immediately.

Picture the young staffer bringing in some requested paperwork.

“So what were they talking about at lunch, kid?” The governor asks.  “Why couldn’t they have the meeting here and what was so hush, hush?”

“You don’t want to know, governor, its some political payback thing and you need deniability.”

The governor smiles.  “Okay, what is it kid?”

And the young staffer coughs it up immediately.

“Huh,” the governor grunts, acting dumb, apparently engrossed in a memo.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And the kid, if he should ever surface, would have to tell the grand jury that he can’t really say if the governor understood or not.

Usually, such a scenario is much too subtle.  Consider Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who talked openly about selling a vacant U.S. Senate seat.  But then, four of the last seven governors of Illinois have been convicted and imprisoned.

Now it turns out that David Wildstein, the Chrsitie appointee who ran the lane closing scandal is talking.  In a letter through his attorney he said that “evidence exists . . . tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the Governor stated publicly.”

Now we will see how Gladstone’s axiom really works.  Can a man cut off his arms and legs and still survive?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  And how are all of those arms and legs supposed to feel about what has happened?  Now, it’s time for Governor Chris Christie to pay the butchers bill.


Barbara Bush wants Hillary Clinton to run for president.

August 27, 2013

Barbara Bush, not the former First Lady, but the daughter of former president, George W. Bush, has said that Hillary Clinton is “unbelievably accomplished” and hopes she will run for president in 2016.  It’s about as close to an endorsement as a Bush could give a Clinton and surely qualifies as news.  Former First Lady and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is a member of the Democrat Party.  Barbara’s father and grandfather were former presidents and both are Republican.  Her uncle, former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, is also a Republican and a possible candidate for president in 2016.

If Ms. Bush eventually endorses Secretary Clinton, it would not be the first time that a son or daughter of a president supported a candidate of the opposing political party.  Ron Reagan, Jr. and his sister Patti Davis, both offspring of Republican president Ronald Reagan, are openly Democrats.  Mr. Reagan addressed the Democrat National Convention in 2004

Democrat president, Franklin Roosevelt, had sons, who supported candidates and causes other than his own.   John Aspinwall Roosevelt, the youngest in the family, complained openly about the New Deal and became a high profile Republican.  He endorsed Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan for president.  In 1954, when FDR, Jr. ran for governor of New York, his brother, John endorsed his Republican opponent.  Meanwhile,  Jimmy Roosevelt, the eldest of FDR’s sons, led “Democrats for Nixon in 1972.”  FDR’s son, Elliott,  worked for FDR’s lifelong enemy, William Randolph Hearst.  When his father announced he would run for an unprecedented third term as president, Elliott told friends it should be unconstitutional.

Political and cultural differences between the generations is nothing new in political dynasties nor should it be surprising to the rest of us.  Each member of a family seeks a separate identity and that is often found in differing political views.  Helen Taft Manning, daughter of conservative, Republican president, William Howard Taft, was one of the most effective leaders of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and openly Democrat on many issues.   Barbara Bush is an advocate of Marriage Equality and other gay issues and has “partnered” with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Michelle Obama’s “let’s Move” campaign.

Children of presidents have often played a role in helping a candidate get elected and govern.  Robert Tyler, son of the tenth president, John Tyler, helped promote the career of Pennsylvania congressman, James Buchanan, who became the fifteenth president.  James Garfield, son and namesake of the twentieth president helped Theodore Roosevelt win the presidency.  His younger brother, Harry Garfield, helped elect Woodrow Wilson.  Both of the Garfield sons became cabinet officers with distinguished careers.  In all three cases the Presidents’ children not only offered a powerful endorsement, they had inside knowledge and experience that was crucial to the success of the candidates.

Help from  a presidents’ son or daughter is not always rewarded.  After he won the White House, James Buchanan shunted aside Robert Tyler whose presence was a reminder of his early political struggles in Pennsylvania.  Tyler moved to Alabama, became a newspaper publisher and passed from the public eye with dignity never complaining about the thankless role he had played and the president’s shabby treatment.

Caroline Kennedy nearly suffered the same fate.  Her endorsement of Illinois Senator Barack Obama came at a crucial time in his race with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.  Kennedy, a political and social icon, gave Obama cache when he needed it most.  But the Obama White House staff chaffed at the idea they owed their election to Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the slain president, and derailed attempts to reward her.  If Barack Obama had not been re-elected in 2012, the Kennedy endorsement would have gone down in history as one of the greatest unpaid political debts in modern campaign history.  But Obama won re-election, some measure of sanity returned to the Obama White House and Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the 35th president was nominated Ambassador to Japan.

It remains to be seen if Barbara Bush will formally endorse Hillary Clinton for president.  Most Bush watchers doubt it will happen until her uncle Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, officially declares his non candidacy.  If not, this statement is probably even better for Clinton, at least from a political standpoint.  It adds to the idea of Clinton’s broadening support without tying her to a president who is unpopular with her base.  It is the ultimate irony.  Having been sunk by one presidential daughter, a Kennedy, she now finds herself buoyed  by another, a Bush.


The Obama Cover-up begins

June 11, 2013

What did the President know and when did he know it?

During Watergate, Senator Howard Baker made that question famous.  It was a different time, a different president and a different second term scandal.  But now, once again, the question is raised and it goes to the heart of the issue.  Was Obama behind the IRS attacks on his political enemies?  Or was it happening on its own, a bureaucratic “planchette,” moving across the political Ouija board with many biased hands guiding it?  And if it was the latter, when did the president finally know about it?

According to the Inspector General, the IRS asked illegal questions of politically targeted groups and organizations.  This included “requests for donor information, positions on issues, and whether officers have run for public office.” One disgusting national news story revealed that IRS agents had asked an organization to report the content of their prayers.

Now comes the shocking news.  The former IRS commissioner, Douglas Shulman, visited the White House 157 times since 2009.    Sarah Hall Ingram, the woman responsible for the IRS division that targeted conservative and constitutional groups, made 165 visits to the White House since 2011.  Incredibly, according to the official White House visitors’ records, none of the visits of the two IRS officials overlapped.

During those 322 visits to the White House, which represents almost every other working day, did they ever encounter the president?  And if so, what did they talk about?  Baseball?  Did they ever talk about work?

Did they feel comfortable about quizzing nonprofit applicants about their prayer language because they knew the president wouldn’t mind?  How could Barack Obama possibly not know what was going on?  When they met with him, did they lie to him?

Ken Walsh – arguably America’s preeminent authority on modern presidents – makes the point in a recent book that President Obama, as other presidents before him, may be isolated from what is happening in his own administration.  (Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America’s Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder – London. )

As Walsh points out, presidents’ aides often give their boss some distance so he has deniability when a scandal erupts.  There is nothing new about this.  History has showed how sovereigns and mafia dons get things done without giving a literal command.  Frustrated over Thomas Becket, King Henry II supposedly bellowed, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”  Aides figured out what Henry wanted and butchered Becket.

Having worked in a White House I personally experienced this first hand.  A good staffer knows when the president should not be bothered by something, when his fingerprints should not be on the paper.  But can one meet with the president hundreds of times and not talk about ones work?  Isn’t the president too busy to talk about life?  Or to quiz an IRS official about personal gossip at the agency?  Wouldn’t a chief executive want to know what she is doing and how she is doing it?  And would she really make hundreds of visits without the details of her work ever coming up?  What would be the purpose of the visits?

As Kenneth T. Walsh shows in Prisoners of the White House and I was to experience firsthand, isolation happens to all presidents.  But then so does hubris.

Even if one accepts the most generous account of President Obama’s innocence it does not explain how he continues to relentlessly reward and punish his enemies after the fact.

Sarah Hall Ingram, the administrator of the IRS division that targeted conservative groups, the one who made 165 visits to the White House and supposedly never uttered a word about what she was doing, was given a $100,000 bonus and promoted to run the enforcement of ObamaCare.

What is that?  Coincidence?  A payoff?

The president can claim he didn’t know when it happened, which seems far fetched, but he surely knows now.  And like Richard Nixon before him, he is paying off the Watergate Burglars.


It’s official: Rick Perry to replace Eddie Murphy as host of the Oscars

November 11, 2011

Okay, I’m kidding, seriously. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not had a non closeted Republican onstage since Bob Hope. By the way, I had dinner with Mr. Hope a number of times and I can tell you that he was only a bi-Republican. But yes, the Rick Perry campaign imploded before our eyes Wednesday night in the GOP debate when he forgot his lines. What happens now? Here are three things to consider.

1.) Rick Perry got into the presidential race late. You can’t really do that. No matter how big your base or how much money you have. In 1998 I was warning George W. Bush that his delay in getting into the race for 2000 was making things tough. But he had to wait for his re-election as governor of Texas, wisely concluding that the size of that vote would do more to help his presidential chances than a straw poll in Alabama. Even so he was in angst about it. He knew how dangerous it was to get in late.

It takes time to run for president. I have compared it to building a mall. Let’s say you have all the franchises lined up, all the financing, all the political power, the zoning boards, the mayor, the public and officials standing by with the signed permits in their hands. Let’s say you have so much money that you have two crews working day and night, 24-7, with the work site lit up at night. Even so, with all the money, with everything approved, it still takes time to build a mall.

And running for president takes time. That’s why presidents usually have to run several times before the make it. You can be sure that all of the other candidates had moments of brain freeze, out there on the campaign trail where nobody noticed. They learned their lines well. Rick Perry was hopelessly late for this show. This was bound to happen.

2.) Rick Perry’s presidential aspirations may not have ended. This may just make him mad. We have seen these moments before. Richard Nixon’s famous last press conference comes to mind. “You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.” Little did we know, the kicking hadn’t even begun. Nixon was elected president eight years later.

Bill Clinton’s political career was buried in 1988, after his disastrous, marathon speech before the Democrat National Convention. The audience went to sleep and only awakened to cheer him when he uttered the words, “in conclusion.” Four years later he was president. In fact, the boring is still ongoing. Nowadays, The Harry Walker Agency will charge you $200,000 for the privilege of being bored by Bill Clinton.

So don’t feel badly for Perry. He is not likely to go away. Last night’s slipup may be the defining moment in a longer career yet to come. Now he may actually get serious about this presidential thing and decide to do it right next time.

3.) And finally, Rick Perry is still a factor, I mean now, in this election. Why? Because he is second in fundraising, just behind Mitt Romney. He has money.

Oh, I know, I know, the pundits are already saying that Newt Gingrich is on the rise but there is a problem. National polls do not impress the good people of Iowa. Ask president Giuliani. It is good organization and money that will make a difference and Gingrich has neither one. Yes, there will be a Fox News Channel push now for Gingrich. It will amount to a priceless infomercial. But it is too late. We are only days away.

I want you to picture this scene. It is January 3, 2012. There is snow outside. The family has gathered around the dinner table in Des Moines to eat turkey, stuffing, green beans, all reheated in the microwave. There are some big football games on television. And somebody says, “Hey, isn’t this the day of the Caucus? Should we go vote?”

“Yeah, we probably should. But there will be a crowd out there. And I’m not sure who I want to vote for anyway.”

“Well, I’m leaning to Newt Gingrich now.”

“Oh yeah? Me too. All though I like what I’ve been seeing in Rick Perry’s TV ads lately.”

“Well, they say that Mitt Romney is going to win it anyway.”

“Oh yeah? That’s what they said last time. I thought he had decided not to participate?”

“No, that was the Straw Poll.”

But none of it will really matter because Newt Gingrich has no organization. And his rise has come too late to find the people who are moving to him. And there will be no Get-Out-The-Vote. And Rick Perry’s flood of television commercials will only be enough to dilute Bachman and Gingrich. And Romney will only get the votes of people who can’t think of anyone else.

There is one candidate who won’t have those problems. Ron Paul. While everybody else eats leftovers and watches the football game, his people, including the old people who have lost their hard earned savings from the past and the legions of young college students who have lost their futures will be waiting patiently in the snow to cast their vote of protest.


Presidents’ Vacations

July 19, 2010

Presidents’ vacations.

There is an uproar over President Obama’s vacation.  And once again the charge is hypocrisy.   He is a president who champions public schools for the masses, while sending his own daughters to private schools.  And in this case, a president who urges us to visit the beaches of the devastated Gulf while he slips away to Maine.  But all the uproar over Obama’s summer vacation should be seen in context.  Presidents have always taken time off.  And most observers think they should.

In 2000, when the Supreme Court finally declared that George W. Bush was the president-elect and he made his historic flight back to Washington on Air Force One, a friend of mine was onboard.  He said that the plane was practically empty.   No family members, only a couple of staffers and my friend, who was a journalist.   Bush quickly turned the tables on the journalist and asked him the first question.

“How many days did Ronald Reagan spend on his ranch in California?”

Bush was already groaning under the pressure and he had not yet been inaugurated for spent a single day in office. He would pass Reagan’s days off but by no means set the record for a modern president.

The record, if it can be called that, belongs to Lyndon B. Johnson who served 5.5 years in office and spent well over one of those years at his Texas ranch.  484 days to be exact. And the record for the fewest days off belongs to Jimmy Carter, who took off only 79 days.

President Kennedy loved his time off and the Kennedy family had all kinds of retreats.  There was the family compound with multiple homes at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, the home in Palm Beach, Florida, and of course the President had Camp David and just in case they needed it, another home in the Virginia fox country, an hour outside of Washington, D. C.

Eisenhower wanted to get rid of Camp David.  It reminded him of Franklin D. Roosevelt who had purchased the place.  Only his wife Mamie, who liked it, and the fact that he was able to successfully rename it after his grandson, David Eisenhower, made him finally decide to keep it.  Not that Eisenhower didn’t like to take time off.  He was an avid, year round, golfer.
The work of a president is making decisions.  And that work never stops.  Even when they sleep.  Woodrow Wilson was scandalized by the pace.  It had been the family tradition for him to spend his evening with his wife and daughters reading together but after a few frustrating evenings he confessed that he was exasperated.  He said he was being forced to make decisions without any reflection.  “I can’t even take a walk to think it through.”

In earlier times, when it took three months to get a pair of scissors from Europe, decisions were more deliberate and less predictable.  James Madison once took a four month long vacation.  The business of the nation could simply wait.

No president would likely find fault with Barack Obama, for going where he wants to go or even when.  Nixon strongly urged his successors to take time off to reflect, to walk the beach.  This crisis will pass and the nation will survive.  One may disagree with Obama on the direction of the country.  The direction of his family vacation this summer, should be his own.