Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Presidential Vacations

Peeps, yesterday I spent 14 hours a the polls, and while there had a chance to look at this week's TIME magazine, including a short article about how our President is going to take a little vacay to Martha's Vineyard and how presidents in recent times have taken more "working vacations" than actual straight-up, turn-off-the-phone-leave-the-computer-at-home-and-go-relax vacations.

So, assuming that all the presidents we are going to consider have taken or are taking, these working vacations, and just calling that good, like if you are POTUS, you take working vacays, sorry, let's take a look at some of these presidents' vacation times in terms of vacation like We the People for the most part know vacation: you get a couple weeks off a year (those weeks being 5-day work weeks.) Maybe you get more if you have been on the job longer, or if you are a teacher, or whatever, but you get what I am saying.

Here's a breakdown of two presidents mentioned in the article: George W Bush and Jimmy Carter.

I took the number of vacation days Bush took over his 8 year tenure as President (533) and cut them up into 5-day vacation weeks. Then I divided those weeks by the years in office. What I came up with for Mr. Bush was a total of 13 1/3 weeks of vacation a year, which is a little more than a week a month, which when one figures there are 4 weeks in a month, or 52 in a year, means that W spent one quarter of his time as Prez on vacay. Yup.

Doing the same for Mr. Carter, I figured that his 79 days in 4 years equated to just shy of 4 weeks a year, or about a week every quarter.

Now, there has been some grousing by some Republican friends of mine about Mr. Obama's preference for golf and how much time he has taken off during his tenure as President thus far. As of July 10, after a CNN story in which it was noted that Obama had taken 65 vacation days during his time in office thus far, we can figure now that over 18 months, that is 13 weeks, or 8 2/3 weeks per year, more than twice as many as Mr. Carter and about two-thirds those of Mr. Bush. Of course, we have to take into account that this particular presidency is still in its infancy, relative to the other two, and that the number of weeks may increase or decrease over the length of the term.

But why stop here? All that said, here is a comparison of a bunch of recent presidents' vacation days taken during their first year in office, a letter to the editor of the Tennessee Opinion. (Thanks, Sarah Webster, for doing this little bit of research so I don't have to; I am out straight with other things I should be doing, but this little topic is reeling me in.)

Math ends debate over President Obama vacations

Aug. 11, 2010, Letter to the Editor

A few facts and a basic under­stand­ing of “more” and “less” will clear up the sub­ject of pres­i­dents’ vaca­tion days.

Dur­ing his first year in office, Barack Obama took 26 vaca­tion days. Dur­ing their first years in office, George W. Bush took 69, Bill Clin­ton 21, George H.W. Bush 40, Ronald Rea­gan 42 and Jimmy Carter 21.

Trips to Camp David, which were not included as vaca­tion days, were: Obama 27 days, George W. Bush, 78 days.

I leave the reader to deter­mine more and less.

Sarah Web­ster, Franklin 37064

I guess the next question would be whether those first years set precedents? Yesterday the Democrat and Republican sitting at the table with me were very interested in this subject and thought it would be good to go back as far as JFK to determine how much time recent presidents have spent on vacation. Please, if you have information to add to this little investigation, regale us with it. Your participation is welcome.

Thanks. Back to the grind.

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