Obama vacation on Martha’s Vineyard criticized for …gasp!… road closures

Everyone gets a vacation, right? The Supreme Court gets the entire summer; Congress is taking five weeks off from the rigors of not passing bills. But the president? Fuhgeddaboudit!


Obama playing golf, of course, in 2010. (Steven Senne/AP)

The latest edition of Vacation Wars comes from Martha’s Vineyard, where the Obama family is scheduled to begin an eight-day holiday Saturday. Three previous years on the upscale Massachusetts island have been relatively incident-free — aside from the annual partisan grumbling about elitism, extravagance, and expenses. But the fair citizens of Martha’s Vineyard are ticked off this year because of … wait for it… road closures.

Laugh, all of you who’ve sat through endless motorcade delays, but the Vineyard locals just realized that living with the president can be a traffic nightmare. Instead of short delays while he goes golfing or to the beach, an entire main artery (South Road) will be blocked off for the duration of his vacation because his new rental home sits just a short distance away.

“We’ve had the president come to our town three times and it’s been very cordial and there’s been very little disruption and we love to have him,” said selectman Warren Doty at a town meeting Tuesday night, reports the Vineyard Gazette. “This would change that approach … and be very disruptive.” Doty correctly noted  getting around the island “is going to be a hassle” and was clearly annoyed: “It’s not as if they asked us what we thought.”


Father-daughter (Malia) bike-ride in 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Wasn’t so much of an issue during Obama’s previous visits: In 2009, 2010, and 2011 (he was busy campaigning in 2012), the Obamas rented Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, a compound safety tucked at the end of a long, dirt road in the richest town on the island. But the farm sold in December 2011 and the first family had to go hunting for new rental digs. The picked a $7 million, 5,000 square-foot home, owned by Chicago financial guru/donor, David Schulte, which is located on almost 10 acres (also in Chilmark), reports the Business Insider. Modern design, private master suite, and even a basketball court.

Prepare for critics to howl about everything about the president’s eight-day break, just as they’ve howled about every past president who goes on vacation. By now, it’s a well-honed game of political ping-pong: Your guy is a wasteful slacker who should have been working at the White House; our guy deserves a few days of down time to refresh and never really gets a day off.


President Obama leaves “Bunch of Grapes bookstore” with his daughters Sasha (C) and Malia (R) in 2010. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Oh, and to the Vineyard critics: The town sent an e-mail Wednesday to the local listserv saying “anyone aggrieved by this closing should email or call the White House.”

Earlier:

Do presidents get vacations? The annual debate heats up as Obamas head to the Vineyard (2011)

Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard snooze-fest; Clinton lights up the Hamptons (2010)

More Reliable Source: Paula Deen; Dustin Hoffman; The Property Brothers; Michelle Obama; George W. Bush; Usher; Lindsay Lohan

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Michael Livingston · August 7, 2013