- - Sunday, August 31, 2014

The debate focusing on presidential vacations — how many, how long and the appropriate activities undertaken — is missing a key factor. We generally elect a president for four years when the person is in at least their mid-40s and able to prove to the electorate they are in excellent health. Presidents campaign around the clock to show us they are up to the task.

Once in office their government perks make life very comfortable, geared toward reducing daily stress; they have housing, chefs, maids and chauffeurs. Whether they serve one or two terms, they receive a pension for life and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime government perks, and leave office with the opportunity to make millions for writing and speaking. All for at most eight years of work.

Anyone who has been in a position of leadership has in some four-year period given up multiple vacation periods. Some get perks for their sacrifices, but most Americans don’t. Is it too much to ask our presidents to give up a vacation or two (or three) to focus on major crises if such crises arise during a vacation period? If the job is so taxing that the president can’t miss a vacation we need to debate whether anyone in their late 60s has enough stamina to do the job these days. Surely stamina must be addressed for a second term.

PETE SHAW

Callawassie Island, S.C.