Bush By The Numbers...
September 4, 2002 12:40 AM   Subscribe

Bush By The Numbers... "Bush has spent a whopping total of 250 days of his presidency at Camp David (123 days), Kennebunkport (12) and his Texas ranch (115). That means Bush has spent 42 percent of his term so far at one of his three leisure destinations." More fun numbers about "43" in the story...
posted by owillis (48 comments total)
 
Yes, sure, he's watching daytime-TV almost half of his presidency. You don't believe that, oliver, and neither does any other user on Mefi. So why try to give that impression? Lame.
posted by dagny at 1:15 AM on September 4, 2002


No, he's furiously working to ferret out corporate crime, make the world a more peaceful place, and bring Americans the things they really need: clean air, clean water, clean food, and a safe environment.

You don't believe that, and neither does any other user on Mefi. Lame.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:29 AM on September 4, 2002


Ah, Trolls
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:33 AM on September 4, 2002


I think George is more likely to watch Crossing Over, or The View. I just thought it was an interesting story - I'm sure if someone counted the amount of minutes Clinton was in "deep consultation with interns" it would be high too. Just don't report me to TIPS.
posted by owillis at 1:36 AM on September 4, 2002


In those days spent at Crawford, Bush travelled to appearances elsewhere frequently -- 15 cities during the most recent working 25 day stay at the ranch, plus the economic summit at Baylor University. He's also had official visitors there - the Saudi ambassador and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Vincente Fox, Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair, among others. Blair has also met with Bush at Camp David, as did Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. The article neatly ignores all of that, attempting to spin Bush's 250 days away from the White House as nothing but down time. It would be too much work to portray those days more accurately, I suppose.
posted by Dreama at 1:59 AM on September 4, 2002


Both the article and resulting thread (Dreama and dagney's defense aside) are worthless. Shame.
posted by Witty at 2:03 AM on September 4, 2002


If a President is going to goof off, he (or she, eventually) is going to do it, whether at a "leisure destination" or in the Oval Office. The converse is necessarily true as well.

Do those of you who work from home, even when you have an office in town, goof off more than your cubicle-bound comrades? Or are you genuinely more efficient away from the office environment?

Regardless of whether you think President Bush using his time wisely or wastefully, this does raise an interesting question:

Does physically being in Washington, DC make one a better President?
posted by TheFarSeid at 2:10 AM on September 4, 2002


Why is it a shame witty (very self-effacing). Trolling, indeed, I can't say I agree. The only word I would have a problem with in the FPP is 'leisure', as Dreama very clearly pointed out this is a misrepresentation, and possibly the emotive 'whopping'. I see it as fair comment, it seems raising a dissenting voice on metafilter is passe.
posted by johnnyboy at 3:08 AM on September 4, 2002


Does physically being in Washington, DC make one a better President?
posted by TheFarSeid at 2:10 AM PST on September 4


No it doesn't. But it does give the appearance that someone is on the job.
posted by whirlwind29 at 3:34 AM on September 4, 2002


I do not see this post as a troll, but rather an insight on how we view the presidency. TheFarSeid believes that you can administer the government from any point in the world, while owillis [& others] have some doubt about the current administration's use of time.

Just for fun, let's compare BushCo to past presidencies. Abraham Lincoln [President March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865] did not take a full day off before or during the Civil War. Not one day off and working 20-hour days, Lincoln administered the country during times of strife. Now during our current time of "strife", the president is more often than not away from washington on his ranch. The apparent lack of leadership during the self-proclaimed time of war is distressing personally, when BushCo is so eager to ask us to make sacrifices, and he is playing cowboy on his ranch. My feelings are, if he really thought we were at war, he would be in Washington working 24/7 to resolve it. But he is not. QED.
posted by plemeljr at 3:47 AM on September 4, 2002


Does physically being in Washington, DC make one a better President?

Does physically being in New York (or London) make one a better stockbroker? Does physically being in Los Angeles make one a better filmmaker? The relationship's not causal, but elements of proximity are advantageous when it comes to getting something done. Similarly, being President isn't a freelance telecommute. While people can come to you, you can also use the distance to get away from everyone asking tough questions.

So, my reading of this is sort of even-handed: I think the Washington pundits resent the fact that Dubya hates DC, just as you could see the Westminster correspondents physically wince at being dragged the 200 miles up to Blair's northern constituency yesterday. So, they're whinging. But I also think being away from the White House makes it easier for the spin doctors to shield Bush from questioning, to keep the media off-guard, to avoid press conferences. Hasn't he basically done about three solo q&a sessions since taking office?

So it's a bit sneaky to pass off the Crawford summers as 'out of bounds holiday time' for the press, when it's basically a chance to avoid scrutiny. At least Tony has his stipulated couple of weeks at the height of the silly season when he's genuinely not working, and all the hacks get to report on John Prescott and his inability to do sentences.

There's also the incongruity: Bush may like playing cowboy in Crawford, but last time Blair visited, the whole 'down on the ranch' thing went off like a lead balloon, since Tony was in his Dead Queen Mum suit, while Bush had his denim on.
posted by riviera at 4:34 AM on September 4, 2002


Don't you think that ole Abe would have traveled more if he could have done it in something other than a wagon? To believe that the president is doing nothing but playing cowboy at the ranch is pretty naive. I mean if the man could walk out of the White House on any given day, stroll down the street for a cup of joe, I might hear your point, but he can't... and I don't. He works (any president for that matter) far longer every day than most people work in two (damn near).
posted by Witty at 4:34 AM on September 4, 2002


I don't have a source for numbers, but I recall that Papa Bush also seemed to be always off fishing or golfing, or at Camp David or Kennebunkport, and spent a lot of his time away from the White House.

Look how well his 4 years turned out.
posted by crunchland at 5:30 AM on September 4, 2002


It seems to me that Bush aides would have him spend so much time on his ranch in order to distance him from Washington. Its the whole reasonhe purchased the thing, he needs to maintain a "common man" appearance. So where as many here see this as vacation (I don't, I see it as pandering), I'm sure a larger part of the nation sees it as "Bush staying close to his roots."

But the greater point is, as president you need to remain accessible, keep your ass in Washington where you belong. We the people did not hire you to hide from the press/congress.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 5:44 AM on September 4, 2002


Maybe he's scared of terrorists?
posted by niceness at 6:03 AM on September 4, 2002


Isn't this all missing the point that Bush doesn't have much to do with running the country anyway - I thought that was what those old men were there for.
posted by dodgygeezer at 6:11 AM on September 4, 2002


I think its kind of insulting that he takes so much time off. He seems determined to have a memorable and lasting presidency, but doesn't seem to see that it takes hard work.
Yes, there are older men surrounding him, but shouldn't he, in time of war, at least stay somewhere where cell phones work?
It's ridiculous to say that 'any president' works harder than anyone here does in two days. I think that if I were the president I would work harder than I ever have, but I don't think that this current president works very hard at all. When he was governor he worked from 7:30 to 5:30 and took a three hour lunch to play video games and go jogging. He never worked on Sundays. The amount of work that he is doing now might seem like a lot to him, but the rest of us schlep away with 70 hour work weeks and 2 weeks of vacation. He prides himself in not reading memos and in asking his advisors for all of the answers.
posted by goneill at 6:24 AM on September 4, 2002


If you consider how amateurish and weak White House security apparently is (well, it certainly was on 9-11, at least), well you can't blame him if he wants to stay away
posted by matteo at 6:30 AM on September 4, 2002


The man who promised to run the country like a hands-off CEO is running the country like a hands-off CEO. You can't help but admire the consistency.
posted by Ljubljana at 6:52 AM on September 4, 2002


Yes, sure, he's watching daytime-TV almost half of his presidency

Believe me, Dagny. I'd sleep much better if I thought he was just spending his time watching daytime-TV.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:05 AM on September 4, 2002


Any president can be the ultimate telecommuter. Air Force One alone is a better equipped office than most of us have at our full-time place of work.
posted by MediaMan at 7:25 AM on September 4, 2002


The "leisure" statement is from the article. (Nobody reads anymore)
posted by owillis at 7:34 AM on September 4, 2002


Dreama: How many of those 15 "working days" were on invite-only appearances, fund raisers, and the like? And I'm not sure we can count the Waco photo op, where our CEO president didn't sit for longer than 20 minutes in a single meeting, as "working."

The Washington Post made it pretty clear, as quoted here in the IHT.
posted by chino at 7:48 AM on September 4, 2002


Any president can be the ultimate telecommuter. Air Force One alone is a better equipped office than most of us have at our full-time place of work.

I think you missed my point: it's not about the technology, but the accessibility, or lack of it.
posted by riviera at 7:54 AM on September 4, 2002


"I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive."
posted by Dean King at 7:56 AM on September 4, 2002


"That government is best which governs least." -Jefferson
posted by UncleFes at 8:03 AM on September 4, 2002


Bush has raised $114.8 million this year at 48 GOP events, surpassing Clinton's record of $105 million in 2000 from 203 events. The Bush White House has challenged his tally only once, and Knoller countered with voluminous evidence.

Apparently, if he hasn't been working, he has been working the room.
posted by ElvisJesus at 8:16 AM on September 4, 2002


"That government is best which governs least." -Jefferson

The size of the federal government has increased under GWB. He's a tax-n-spend conservative.
posted by owillis at 8:19 AM on September 4, 2002


Yes, but this one thinks least.
posted by websavvy at 8:20 AM on September 4, 2002


The size of the federal government has increased under GWB. He's a tax-n-spend conservative.

except for the tax part. "Let's increase spending and decrease revenue. That can't be a bad thing, right?"
posted by andrewraff at 8:30 AM on September 4, 2002


I can't even fathom why anyone here would compare the work style of your own job to that of the POTUS. I don't care how efficient or inefficient any given place of work is. When you're fighting a "War or Terrorism", your national economy is in the shitter, and you're about to invade another nation, you stay in Washington and project the image of a strong leader in control of his deputies.
posted by mkultra at 9:02 AM on September 4, 2002


No it doesn't. But it does give the appearance that someone is on the job. I thought that was cheneys job? Presidents of past have spent why longer away from Washington. A unique thing about the president is that his private home is considered the white house for working purposes. (when he is there of course) Heck, we even got an expression for this.

"everything is Old Kinderhook"

( O.K. was used for comparison purposes only, not meant to convey current presidents situation)
posted by clavdivs at 9:22 AM on September 4, 2002


Air Force One alone is a better equipped office than most of us have at our full-time place of work.

And just how much does it cost to run that thing? Fuel costs, staffing, security. Get a webcam and sit in your office and quite complaining you are the leader of the free world and don't get to have any fun.

This is a job I've always wondered why a lot of people strive for. In school they told us, "you could be president someday." Yes. So I can work 20 hours a day, and be blamed for every problem on Earth, whether I can control it or not. Well, looks like Bush got both. He deflects the blame, is constantly away from the office, and is having a ball.
posted by benjh at 9:43 AM on September 4, 2002


"When I was a child I was told that *anyone* could become President. Now I'm beginning to believe it..."
posted by illusionaire at 9:49 AM on September 4, 2002


I wish I had three "leisure" locations that I could spend much of my "work" time at...
posted by MsVader at 9:52 AM on September 4, 2002


Would any of you lefties feel different about Bush if he had spent all of his time at the White House? I doubt it.
posted by Durwood at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2002


anyone have the stats on how much time previous presidents spend at leisure spots?

perhaps its the norm, Norm.
posted by Satapher at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2002


and god damnitt....

Bush doesnt run the country :

YOU. DO.
posted by Satapher at 10:11 AM on September 4, 2002


I think there is something to a President that doesn't telecommute from his family's upper-upper class resort fourth home vacation spot.

I've seen more pictures of Bush in jeans on his ranch than anywhere else. Now, if he's not overseas visiting world leaders/going to world environmental conferences and the like, and he's not travelling about the States to find out what the people of the land need and want (and doing a little fund-raising), then he should be in D.C., with Congress, working out the issues that affect us day to day.

He shouldn't be entertaining world leaders at his vacation spots, but be making sure they see the office of the President. He looks like a corrupt official taking advantage of all the perks the job offers by being so laid back. It's something we used to criticize leaders of third world countries for.

How serious and in-depth are you taking things if you spend the day horse-back riding or golfing?
posted by rich at 10:17 AM on September 4, 2002


I run the country? How did this war get started then?
posted by agregoli at 10:30 AM on September 4, 2002


Bush doesnt run the country :

YOU. DO.


Do I look like a corporation to you?
posted by Dirjy at 10:55 AM on September 4, 2002


Bush doesnt run the country :

YOU. DO.


Fine; I'm sending a pink slip to Ashcroft as we speak. And I'm gonna fire Ridge's sorry ass as well. And George better get his shit outa the White House 'cause I'm moving in. (Seeing a problem with simple statements that don't reflect the facts yet?)
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:03 AM on September 4, 2002


Bush has always maintained an air of not being part of that
Washington crowd and these numbers bear that out. Plus, he uses Camp David and the ranch in Crawford extensively for meetings and work. What made my head spin was the sniping that went on when Bush took off during August. August is the time when everyone leaves Washington. No one was telling congress to get back into town.

Besides that Bush watches Baseball Tonight on ESPN.
posted by beatnik808 at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2002


Personally, I find these numbers to be comforting. Considering all the shadiness and incompetence surrounding his run as Commander in Chief, as well as his previous exploits and antics....I'm quite glad to see him as far away from the Oval Office as possible.

Take another vacation GW!!!!

We'll thank you later.
posted by fake_plastic_trees at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2002


maybe he's scared of the white house's pretzels...
posted by ultradian at 11:56 AM on September 4, 2002


I think this is pretty shameful considering Americans don't get as much vacation time compared to the rest of the industrialized world. Being born into a rich and powerful family does fix that little problem.

I love some of the rationalizations behind this. The White House is quick to point out that Bush isn't vacationing he's out there promoting his GOP buddies. So will my boss give me my 2 weeks or less plus a month in the peace corps without a second thought? I don't think part of the executive branch's job description is getting fellow party members into office. Bush isn't working in the traditional sense, he's promoting.
posted by skallas at 1:53 PM on September 4, 2002


I just thought of something, maybe he's jet seting around the US to make himself a harder target for the next set of planes that people crash into buildings. After all, the plane that went down here in PA. was supposedly heading to the White House.
posted by whirlwind29 at 4:11 PM on September 4, 2002


We talked about this last year when Bush went on vacation, and my comment then still applies: Bush's August vacations are the longest Presidential absences from the White House since Nixon. I still find that incredible.

I just hope some competent liberal candidate is collecting all these numbers. (All right, I'll settle for some competent liberal candidate. Or even just a competent candidate. Or...)
posted by precipice at 6:41 PM on September 4, 2002


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