Husband did some pretty funny shtick the other day on the imperial presidency's bus tour, featuring Obama as the Marquis St. Evrémonde, idly inquiring about the origin of that annoying bump under the wheels of the royal bus as it careened through bitter-clinger land. Unfortunately, I can't recreate it for you here, so you'll have to settle for Mark Steyn, writing on "the increasingly and revoltingly unrepublican lifestyle of the American president":
Why exactly does the president need a 40-car escort to drive past his subjects in Dead Moose Junction? It doesn't communicate strength, but only waste, and decadence. [. . .]If only. Wouldn't it be something to have a president who, along with his spouse, eschewed the royal perks, restrained himself on travel (for which, apparently, presidents are given a blank check), including out-of-town date nights, traffic-crippling fund-raisers, ridiculous twenty-four vehicle motorcade lunches, and rich-and-famous vacations that require the support of millions of taxpayer dollars for security and transportation?
I wish Gov. Perry well in his stated goal of banishing Washington to the periphery of Americans' lives. One way he could set the tone is by foregoing much of the waste and excess that attends the imperial presidency.
Is there a candidate out there who is willing to view the presidency as something akin to military service, or even to the Peace Corps, as an obligation that will require personal sacrifice, to the point of [gasp] giving up dinners out? How many chefs would be enough to induce the first couple to stay home and let others live in peace? Who are they, really, to shut down cities and beaches to gratify their own personal desires? We need to grab our pitchforks (for the deliberately obtuse, that's a metaphor) and start complaining about this. Security is one thing; decadence and abuse of office is quite another. I quoted a less than gruntled Colbert King last week on the luxurious digs and perks we've bestowed upon our presidents:
Without leaving the White House grounds, they have access to five full-time chefs, a tennis court, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, a jogging trail, a putting green and a movie theater that shows first-run films on demand. That’s hardly roughing it.But it's not enough. Of course we've done this to ourselves, allowing our "representatives" to vote themselves all manner of luxuries, to a level of excess which, as Steyn points out, out-royals the royals.
And if the president ever feels the need to get away, let’s say to seek a little solitude and tranquility beyond the confines of hot and humid Washington, the American taxpayers have thoughtfully provided a secluded country residence for the first family’s exclusive use in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain Park. It’s called Camp David. A hardship post it is not.
Camp David comes equipped with 24-hour guard service, including fighter jets, to keep gawkers and riff-raff out of sight. For presidential enjoyment, Camp David’s wooded mountaintop has a swimming pool, a sauna, tennis courts, a bowling alley, a trout stream and movie facilities, again with first-run features on demand.
So how about it? Is there a candidate out there willing to take a "no conga-line" pledge?
Meanwhile, back at the Vineyard:
That's our money they're spending. But they don't see it that way. More from Mark Steyn:
When you're the presiding genius of the Brokest Nation in History, enjoying the lifestyle of the super-rich while allegedly in "public service" sends a strikingly Latin American message.And Jim Picht, writing in the Washington Times, picks up the same kind of vibe:
In our racial climate it would be so much easier to state the obvious if Obama were white: This administration looks more and more like one of those African cesspools run by a self-obsessed tribal leader. It runs more like a cozy group of cronies than an open and honest administration, and it's increasingly divorced from American reality. Even Maxine Waters has noticed.Victor Davis Hanson offered the Obamas a similar vacation tip but that's not their style. These are people who wear $500 sneakers to the food bank and $200 T-shirts to paint a wall on "service day." I hope and pray we can do better next time.
It's one thing to take some down time at Camp David, quite another to run off at every opportunity to luxurious hotels and estates with a retinue of hundreds. This is an administration that enjoys the perks of the American Presidency in an imperial fashion at a time when it's in bad taste, just as leaders of African cesspools don't let the misery of the masses get in the way of their fun. It doesn't take governance seriously, treating policy more like performance art than like a sacred trust.
If the President and his family need down time, let them enjoy the excellent theatre in the house we've provided them. Let them invite friends over to grill at Camp David. Let them visit some of the vast expanse of this nation that lies between New England and California. And let the President treat his job as the sacred trust that it is, and not as an endless string of perks.
Many thanks to Mark Steyn who has linked to us in a Corner post which you must read.
Linked by Larwyn -- many thanks!
Also linked by Betsy -- thanks very much!
Most recent posts here. Twitter feed here. Amazon store here.