Fun Facts: US Spending Edition

I figured this is the kind of holiday story that would warm the hearts of readers of this blog.

By now everyone realizes that the President is off dipping his toes in the sand of Hawaiian beaches and hitting up some of the Aloha State’s finest golf courses. In addition to renting out the three homes for Obama to vacation, paying for the cross-country flight for the First Family & their entourage, and all associated expenses, we’re also paying residents of Hawaii to kick it up in top hotels in Waikiki.

It’s a small world, and my Christmas Eve conversation with my grandmother turned up some interesting tidbits. It turns out that her yard man also does the maintenance in the area where Obama is staying. Part of his compensation includes housing in a modest apartment there on site. However, the Secret Service doesn’t want these staffers anywhere near the President. So they take over their homes & pay for them to stay in upscale hotels in Waikiki.

Boo-freakin’-hoo, right? Eh, not so much if you’ve ever spent much time in Hawaii.

While I’m sure the accommodations inside the hotel are nice, imagine being uprooted at the holidays from your home and put squarely in the middle of the hottest tourist destination of your state during the prime tourist season. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like quite as much fun, does it? (Also, for those of you not terribly familiar with the geography of Oahu, Waikiki is no where near Kailua.)

My grandmother swears that she’s sure everyone was okay with the visit and happy to leave their homes in support of the president, but she also says that as an Obama supporter who lives just west of Diamond Head – far away from the motorcades & insanity.

7 thoughts on “Fun Facts: US Spending Edition”

  1. It’s always much easier to take in the madness when you’re far removed from it. If it were my home, they would have dragged me out of there kicking and screaming. If Obama wanted fun in the sun, he should have run for governor of Hawaii.

  2. Also the no fly zone in effect around the island is having a huge effect on flying sightseeing businesses who make most of their profit around the holidays.

  3. Granny’s an Obama supporter, huh? It’s funny how a generation that came up thinking FDR was God never could figure out that today’s Democrats bear little resemblance to those of the 50s and early 60s. I know I never could talk my folks out of supporting the socialists.

  4. Assuming this isn’t wanted by the homeowner, doesn’t being uprooted in such a way violate the 3rd and 4th Amendments?

    While they aren’t soldiers, there is SCotUS case law (Griswold v. Connecticut) which more broadly interprets the 3rd Amendment as a belief that one’s home should be protected from intrusion against agents of the state (citation:

    And, on 4th Amendment grounds it could also be argued that these actions are a seizure of property.

  5. Oh please!
    Anytime ANY president vacations anywhere, the Secret Service pretty much owns everything within a substantial radius.
    Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, on and on and on.
    NOW you raise a stink? Jesus Christ!
    Of course, it has nothing to do with him being the BLACK one, with far more death threats than previous presidents ever saw. Oh no, no slack allowed for that little truth.

  6. Well Scott, let’s look at your complaint by specific presidents.

    Reagan – I was born during his administration. You’ll have to forgive me for being more concerned about diapers, My Little Pony, and Barbie than following his vacation schedule. Also, blogs didn’t exist and no one I knew even had a home computer.

    Bush I – Still lacking on the blogs and home computer bit, also a bit wrapped up with things like Jonathan Brandis, boys at school, and slumber parties with friends. It seems to disappoint you that at the ripe old age of 9, I was not closely following presidential comings and goings. This is a flaw I will admit to freely.

    Clinton – I just started becoming politically aware. Given that my birthday is right after Inauguration, I remember being upset that he won and would be president for my 12th birthday. Since I was new to this politics thing, I don’t remember specifics of his vacation schedule. I was trying to focus on the big things like tax issues, welfare reform, the health care debate, an impeachment, and Hillary’s early terrible fashion sense.

    W – He vacationed at his ranch. There were no people to kick out of their homes, nor were they shutting down airspace that’s a prime tourist industry during the hottest part of the tourist season. (Another point I meant to make in another post, though JJ beat me to it here.) If he did regularly vacation somewhere else, I would have likely said something since I did start blogging at the beginning of his administration – though my political coverage did tend to focus on the far left.

    So as you can see, the coverage is what we call reasonable given the circumstances – unless you have a young daughter and you’re forcing her to read pool reports instead of children’s books.

    I personally believe that presidents should give up such frivolous trips like this unless they can minimize the negative impact on a community. With a ranch, that’s possible. In a major city on an island, it’s not. I believe when you take on the responsibilities of the job, you do lose some access to “fun” in life. Just like I think the date nights are inappropriate as a taxpayer expense given that we already fund a chef and full-time staff in the White House that could make all such accommodations.

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