So, though the public understands that Obama is entitled to some time off, the problem is in perception, Walsh said.
“During hardship times, maybe a vacation should be restricted to show you’re not insensitive to the country,” he said. “A lot of Americans can’t take a vacation and can’t afford one. . . . Going to Martha’s Vineyard, he might have a problem in the optics, the playground of celebrities, being in a rich person’s home, even if he has the money to pay for it. It can look quite insensitive at this time. Maybe it would be better all around if he went someplace different, less expensive and exclusive.”
Obama is not the first president to catch grief for appearing insensitive to the country’s plight while engaged in recreational pursuits. Harry Truman was regularly mocked for wearing Hawaiian-style flowered shirts on his many jaunts to Key West, Fla., during the post-World War II era. Dwight Eisenhower spent 365 days at his farm in Gettysburg, Pa., over six years, prompting the Democratic National Committee chairman to label him a “part-time president.”