Former President Barack Obama took a private jet from Hawaii last week to Bali, Indonesia, where he and his family are staying in a $2,500-a-night suite for a week, and making time for whitewater rafting.
Good for him.
Some people are criticizing the former president for his lavish vacations, and it's true that there is something more than a little galling about his living the high life after his malign eight years governing the rest of us. But we'd actually like Obama to take even more vacations — indeed, a complete and unceasing absence from the political stage.
Whether he deserves a break is less important than the fact that America desperately deserves a break from him. We urge him to spend more time with his family, and to set aside completely his tiring, tiresome, indecorous and arrogant efforts to hang around as a political scold.
With disregard for precedent and disdain for decorum, Obama has refused to bow out of the political fray after leaving office. Again and again, he has deliberately acted to make government more difficult and success more unlikely for President Trump. This has included buddy-buddy visits and high-fives with foreign leaders who gave Trump a cold shoulder. It was his sad impression of the Dixie Chicks, traveling overseas to preen and signal that he was better than the man his country chose as his successor.
This week, despite all the charms of Hawaii, Indonesia, Michelle and his daughters, Obama took time out to pen a long essay on the healthcare bill being considered by the Senate. Perhaps his four years in the Senate and eight years in the White House left him with little confidence in Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Perhaps he thought MSNBC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Atlantic, NPR, CNN and every other liberal outlet lacked the intellectual firepower to take on Sens. Mitch McConnell and John Barrasso.
Whatever the cause, the former president posted nearly 1,000 words on Facebook criticizing the GOP bill. Despite that length, Obama found no space for substantive argument, and instead filled his missive with the trite ("We did these things together ..."), the economically illiterate ("contraceptive care and preventive care are now free,") and the hypocritical (calls for "compromise between Democrats and Republicans").
It was simply a hack partisan attack by the former president who does not know when he has arrived at a good time to be quiet, and who should have been windsurfing or chatting up Elon Musk.
The man clearly needs a rest. Not only was he president for eight years, over a government whose reach grew immensely under his reign, but once the country reacted to Obamacare by throwing his party out of power on Capitol Hill, Obama's job expanded even more. He took on — grabbed — the added burden of being the legislature as well, creating laws and appropriating funds all by himself. Talk about double duty.
Has any outgoing president ever had such a heavy lift in campaign season as Obama did, trying to make Hillary Clinton palatable to the country?
In his role as lead Democratic campaigner, Obama's job got bigger as the number of Democrats in elected office dropped steadily. No more Democratic speaker of the House. Gone are 20 Democratic governors. Erased are 12 Democratic Senate seats. Evaporated is the party's bench. This amazing shrinking party left Obama with less party support than his predecessors.
This is all the more reason for him to take his rest and recreation more seriously. There's a well-known Bob Mankoff cartoon in which a besuited guy is talking on the phone and says, "No, Thursday's out. How about never — is never good for you?"
Mr. President, looking at the calendar and assessing when it would be right for you to speak up, we've come to the conclusion that never would be good — is never good for you? We wish you a quiet retirement. A silent one, even. And we wish you'd understand that that's the appropriate thing for you to do.