Which brings us to Barack Obama. Reports are that Obama and family will achieve their R&R at their Chicago home, deep in the heart of Chicago's South Side. In fact, Obama will be the first modern president to have his primary "vacation" home in a large urban area which will cause challenges for the U.S. Secret Service as well as for the First Family's neighbors. According to the AP: "For security reasons, the Obamas' urban oasis already has changed. Their large red brick house doesn't have the benefit of being surrounded by acres of land like other presidential retreats, so the city streets near it look like a military zone with blocks-long metal and concrete barriers. Secret Service agents and police patrol the area." As someone who has driven through Chicago many times and dealt with the frustration of gridlocked interstates and even more gridlocked city streets, I feel for the residents of Obama's neighborhood. However, he and his family have earned the right to return to their real home as often as they wish; I'm guessing most of his neighbors will understand.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
No Western White House for Obama
Modern presidents often have a secluded place to vacation away from the White House. Although all presidents have the benefit of a short helicopter trip to Camp David to go to, most of our modern presidents choose to go to their personal residences or summer homes for as much of a vacation as they can get. In fact, George W. Bush, the current president, has spent a record number of days on vacation: almost 900, most of them on his ranch in the very secluded Crawford, Texas. I would argue, however, that presidents are never on vacation and that because of modern technology and communications, where they are located is relatively irrelevant. George H.W. Bush would often spend his down time at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. Ronald Reagan vacationed often at his California ranch. Bill Clinton is the only president in the last 30 years not to vacation at his family estate--because he didn't own one having moved right from the Arkansas governor's mansion to the White House.