Normally Obama's vacation critics are wrong. This time, they're right.

With the crises piling up, the president would have been wise to stay at home

Obama vacation
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin))

President Barack Obama left town last week for the traditional presidential summer vacation, which gave a green light to the equally traditional carping about presidential vacations. Critics of Obama toted up his vacation time, his weekend rounds of golf, and his ever-increasing hours on the fundraising trail to paint him as disconnected and disinterested in his job. Defenders of the president noted, correctly, that most of the people on Capitol Hill — Republicans and Democrats alike — have already left for their home districts. Most will do some campaigning and fundraising, while many will also spend time with their families in an attempt to escape the pressure cooker of Washington, D.C. The critics and the shruggers usually switch roles when the partisan affiliation of the commander in chief changes.

Normally, I'd count myself among the shruggers. Presidents have taken August vacations for decades, if not longer. Most congregate far from the hoi polloi when they do. George H.W. Bush spent his vacation time at the family retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, while his son and his predecessor Ronald Reagan relaxed at their respective ranches. Jimmy Carter had the peanut farm. FDR had Campobello and the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia — even during World War II, where he died of a cerebral hemorrhage while trying to regain his health.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.