Okay, here we go again! This is really getting sad. I am so sick and tired of enduring the stupidity of these constant suggestions that President Obama is not entitled to any and every benefit, advantage and perk of the office of the President of the United States that every other president before him has had... including using Air Force One during his campaign for re-election.
So now, Reince Priebus (ugh, that name), who is Chairman of the Republican National Committee has filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office saying that President Obama has "crossed the line" by campaigning for re-election on Air Force One and that he may escalate his complaint to the Federal Election Commission. Really?
This kind of silliness should be knocked down where it stands and any responsible media person would and should. The benefit that the RNC gets is that even if they know their complaint won't go anywhere, just having the media discussing it non-stop on national TV gets the idea in the minds of some voters that there is some kind of Obama taxpayer mischief going on... and that's all they need and want -- and before you know it, voila, the media has unwittingly done their job for them! Bravo RNC!
I truly don't recall hearing this much ruckus about how much it cost for George W. Bush to fly to Crawford, Texas every other month during his presidency but for some reason, people have decided to count nickels and dimes every time the current president even looks at Air Force One.
And this has been an ongoing diatribe. First we had the "Obama shouldn't be going on vacations" tantrums. Then, there were the "First Lady and her daughters shouldn't be going on vacations" tantrums. Then we had the "Obama shouldn't be playing golf" tantrums. Recently, there were the "Presidents shouldn't be going on talk shows" tantrums. Now, we have come to our favorite part of the show, the "Obama shouldn't be using Air Force One to campaign for re-election" tantrums.
And to my dismay even some in the so called mainstream media have picked up the right-wing mantra and started talking about how much it costs for President Obama to fly on Air Force One. I guess Nixon, Reagan, George Bush, Sr. and George Bush, Jr. all fundraised and campaigned for re-election on Southwest Airlines!
This kind of discussion has taken us from silly season to dumb dailies! What these small minded people are missing in their childish rants is that the president is ALWAYS the president, whether he is traveling to a summit in Japan, or going on vacation or flying to a campaign event... he's still the president! He does not stop being president just because he is campaigning for re-election (again, as all other presidents have done before him). He still needs to be in touch with world leaders, he still needs access to his military personnel, he still needs to stay connected to crucial cabinet members (i.e. Secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, etc.) This is not new, this is not a surprise, it's one of the benefits of the job. Air Force One is the President of the United States' only mode of airplane transportation. Use of the plane is built into the presidential budget like his meals, rent and utilities, which by the way is my guess for the next RNC target: Should the president really live in the White House while he's campaigning? Wait for it... it's coming!
Re-election campaigning is something that has been going on through generations of presidents... but for some reason, we want to constantly scrutinize President Obama for doing things every other President of the United States has done. Every other president has taken vacations, every other president has played golf (almost every) and every other president has traveled on Air Force One while fundraising and campaigning for re-election, but it's somehow wrong for Barack Obama... why?
Barack Obama is the first president to run for re-election in the age of Citizens United and as such he may in fact travel a bit more for campaign/fundraising trips because he has a whole lot more to fight against than past presidents. But the fact is that there are plenty of legitimate topics to discuss during this election season, (i.e. jobs, unemployment, economy, Afghanistan, Middle East, Iran, North Korea, health care, gas prices, education, Congress, environment, immigration, crime, etc). I would hope that the media would concentrate on these topics and not allow itself to be used to make a mini scandal out of this, and other non-issues, during such an important election. We already know that the RNC and right-wingers will use any and every tactic in the book to try to throw a lay-up against president Obama, I just hope the media doesn't give them the assist!
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