Keep in mind that the Obama Administration has already set the bar here: It says it can’t afford to continue White House tours, blaming the sequestration budget cuts. ABC estimates those tours cost about $18,000 a week.But now there are media reports that the president is gearing up (or down) for yet another elaborate presidential vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, where the leader of the free world and first family will get to frolic with his fellow beautiful people. This is not a cheap date. The last time he went there, Paul Bedard estimated that it would cost taxpayers millions of dollars because "the dozens of U.S. Secret Service agents, communications officials, top aides, drivers, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel with him will be covered by taxpayers as with every other presidential vacation.
His 11-day stay will require the Coast Guard to keep ships floating near Obama's farm, a presidential helicopter and jet at the ready and security agents on 24-hour duty. Armored SUVs dubbed "war wagons" have been flown in to carry the presidential family around the island.
Until now, Obama has more or less gotten a pass from the MSM about the cost and symbolism of his expensive and frequent outings during times of economic distress, but some media types are starting the raise eyebrows about the optics of the latest junket.As Erika Johnsen notes:
After the White House announced they were cancelling tours, they had to know they were practically inviting criticism of their own spending habits, and Rep. Louie Gohmert almost immediately came up with an amendment that would shave off the president’s golf outings until such a time as the White House can manage to afford the tours again.
For Mr. Obama, the months ahead will be tricky. Few people object to a president taking some time to relax — to work out, play basketball, sit on a beach, go to dinner. And like all presidents before him, Mr. Obama does all those things with the costly machinery of government orbiting around him. But the budget cuts known as sequestration are going to have an outsize effect on government workers who, like Mr. Obama, get their paycheck from the federal treasury. Some will be furloughed as often as once a week. Others will lose overtime, forcing them to cancel vacations or trim household expenses. So the president’s White House advisers are going to have to confront the question of how, or whether, to adjust his family’s activities. Should they go to Martha’s Vineyard? Will Michelle Obama and the couple’s daughters avoid trips like the ski vacation they took to Aspen last month? And what about the golf that Mr. Obama frequently plays at the nearby Joint Base Andrews?