President Obama is packing his bags for a 17-day, taxpayer-funded Christmas vacation to Hawaii, The Washington Times reported. The vacation begins on Friday, December 20.
The first family will reportedly be shacking up at a palatial oceanfront home that rents for $24,500 a week. When you toss in the shaved ice, greens fees, and gas for Air Force One, the American taxpayers could be on the hook for one mighty expensive Hawaiian holiday.
The Hawaii Reporter ran the numbers on last year's trip and found that it cost taxpayers more than $4 million. That's some pricy poi.
And while the first family enjoys pampering in paradise, it'll be anything but a vacation for folks who live close by, according to Hawaii News Now. Residents will be subjected to roadblocks and security checks. A popular canal will be closed and patrolled by Navy Seals and military blockades have reportedly been erected on the beach.
"One time they stopped me – they opened up my gas cap to look into the lawn mower," resident Norman Asing told the newspaper.
And as much as the locals enjoy the attention, some say the inconvenience has worn thin.
"I understand he's the president and so he needs his security, but I'd like for him to pick next year another spot," one resident told the newspaper. 'At first it was exciting, but now it's no longer exciting. It's maddening."
I still don't understand why the president can't let his hair down somewhere within the continental United States. Why not Branson, Missouri or Pigeon Forge, Tenn.?
Branson's annual festival of lights is breathtaking and the "3 Redneck Tenors" are a holiday hoot! And who doesn't love Dollywood at Christmas? As Amy Grant once sang, there's nothing quite like a tender Tennessee Christmas (not to mention the pancakes at Cracker Barrel).
But those closest to the president argue that an above-average president can't vacation like an average American.
The editor of Newsweek once declared that President Obama is "sort of God" and MSNBC's Chris Matthews was nearly brought to tears when he was granted an audience with The One.
"He came to us today," Matthews declared. "He came amongst us."
Robert Gibbs, the president's former press secretary told The Washington Post that Hawaii is where he goes to recharge "both physically and emotionally."
"The schedule is one that's relaxing," he said. "The climate is warm like he likes it. It's the perfect elixir for having had a long and busy year in national politics."
Gibbs does have a point. The president has had such a grueling life in the nation's capitol – with a countless stream of parties to attend, weekend golf outings and basketball games, and lavish trips on Air Force One. And lest we forget, President Obama has been forced to live in the squalor of public housing – where his every need is attended to by butlers and maids and chefs and gardeners.
Oh, how I pity the president. Indeed, he is truly worthy of a vacation fit for a king.
I'm surprised the White House Travel Office hasn't used the Priceline Negotiator. Utilizing William Shatner's services is a sure-fire way to save the taxpayers a few dollars.
I was able to get online and found President Obama some great accommodations at the Best Western Hotel in Honolulu.
"Maid service was great, staff was friendly, the room most importantly was very clean and adequate," wrote one guest.
For just $90 a night, the first family could get free Wi-Fi, a continental breakfast, an in-room safe to store the nuclear launch codes plus a rollaway bed for Valerie Jarrett.
Oh well. As they say in the islands, Mele Kalikimaka, America.