As you are surely aware, Blowie and fam are vacationing in Hawaii. The president has managed to squeeze in two rounds of golf since landing on Saturday.
Of note was his playing partner during the first round - Sam Kass, White House Chef, and personal cook to the Obamas. Apparently, he is a chef and golfer.
I have seen several different presentations of the fact that past presidents (notably both Bushes) chose to stay close to D.C. for the holidays, allowing staff time to be with their families. These chain emails and blog posts draw the conclusion that the Obamas are selfish and greedy, forcing so many staff members, aides, and members of the press to be so far from home at Christmas.
I spent Christmas in Hawaii a few years back, and while there was plenty to bitch about (traveling with relatives), the location, scenery, and temperature weren't among the complaints. But, that was a special occasion that was planned for months and required a modified decorating, celebrating,and gifting schedule. I don't think I would like to do that every year. Granted, if I had a cadre of taxpayer funded staff to schlep my gifts, cook and clean, and herd my kids, it might not be such a daunting challenge. Still, it is nice to go 'home' for Christmas.
I can't get past the crass materialism that the annual presidential Christmas trip exhibits. What percentage of Americans will never have the means to travel - much less to Hawaii - for a vacation or holiday? I wish the Obamas would step off the plane and thumb their noses at the press corps - at least there is some honesty in that.