- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2011

President Obama is chilling out at the beach while the country’s economic engine is headed for a deep freeze. Those lucky enough to have a job will slug it out at work Monday while Mr. Obama parties with the rich and powerful.

This is the third year the Obama family has escaped to the liberal, upper-crust enclave of Martha’s Vineyard. They are staying “up-island” in the town of Chilmark, far away from the troubled cities and towns of America’s heartland. The commander in chief will relax at Blue Heron Farm, a $20 million mansion he rented for its sprawling 28 acres of property complete with swimming pool, basketball court and putting green.

The elite island is the kind of place where Mr. Obama feels right at home. When he took his daughters Sasha and Malia to a bookstore on Friday, he was met with shouts of “2012,” “four more years” and “Yes we can.”

The New England locale’s frequent visitors include the likes of Bill Gates, Spike Lee, Diane Sawyer, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Meg Ryan, Woody Harrelson, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ted Danson.

Within 24 hours of his arrival, the duffer in chief hit the links at the private Vineyard Golf Club, where he played his 77th round as president on greens that have won awards for being “all organic.” That’s likely to be just the start. During his trip last August, he played golf five times, and four times on the island in his first year in office.

That kind of lackadaisical work schedule makes even European leaders appear industrious.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said au revoir to the Riviera when his country’s stock market plummeted and the nation’s credit rating was put at risk. British Prime Minister David Cameron bid farewell to Tuscany to deal with the riots in London. Mr. Cameron’s chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, rode the Jurassic Park log flume at Universal Studios and hit Disneyland until he had to say an early ta-ta to California to deal with his nation’s economic crisis. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said ciao to his regular Sardinia holiday to work through August to deal with his nation’s debt crisis.

When the Italians make Americans look lazy, we’re really in a mess.

The White House tries to defend against criticism of all the Obamas’ vacations by saying the president needs family time, and that he is working even if he’s not in Washington.

“The president of the United States is the president of the United States wherever he goes,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on the flight to Massachusetts on Thursday. “At the same time, he’s also a husband and a father, and I don’t think that the American people begrudge the president spending a little time with his wife and daughters at the end of the summer before his daughters head back to school.”

Of course, the president can just as easily take the kids to the Washington zoo and grab ice cream in Georgetown after putting in some elbow grease in the Oval Office.

The fact is this guy is simply detached from normal Americans. Even when he wants to give the appearance of being with the common man in the hard-hit Midwest, the bus he took was a $1.1 million ultra-luxury model custom-built at taxpayer expense. Now he’s jetting off to take advantage of the kind of glamorous lifestyle otherwise only open to A-list celebrities and billionaires.

Mr. Obama is holding off giving a big jobs speech until after his return. If he were serious about his own job, he’d return to the White House and give his TV address instead of sipping Prosecco in the sand with his pampered buddies.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.