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Bobing Along

 

By BOB BILLETER

The President's Job Is Tough, Isn't It?


Most people, I believe, feel that the job of being President of the United States is a very difficult one. I've heard many people express this opinion over the years. But are they right? I'm not so sure they are.
Just last week the newscasts reported that the President had made three different fundraising trips on three different days. Just today I heard on the news that Obama is preparing for another vacation. He is going to Martha's Vineyard for 10 days or two weeks.
And there are the White House parties. There are a lot of them. Celebrities from across the nation and from other countries are guests at these gala events. The President gets to attend many dinners and he plays quite a lot of golf. He leads quite an exciting life, I would say.
But, his defenders say, he has to make a lot of very difficult decisions. But he has a huge staff of people who are experts in many fields. Every decision he has to make he gets extremely qualified advice from his staff.
One of the early presidents, I believe it was James Madison, took a vacation that lasted for three or four months. I haven't had a vacation in 17 years. When our presidents go on vacation they often end up staying in the mansion or summer retreat of a billionaire supporter. Yet many of the presidents who do this appear to believe that having huge wealth is almost a sin.
Many, many Americans don't go on vacation. Some don't have the money for one. Many have a small business and have nobody capable of running the place so they work every week of the year.
What I am saying is that the presidents have it pretty darn nice. They have advantages that most of us don't come close to having any time in our lives. The presidents and their families live like royalty during the time they occupy the White House.
And when the president leaves office, he writes books and makes speeches and makes gobs of money doing this. The Clintons, as we know, have made more than $100 million since Bill was in the White House. That's not chicken feed, as we say here in the hills.
But defenders of the presidents will say, sure but they have a tough life in the White House. They have to make those difficult decisions. Don't we all make difficult decisions in life? A poor man who has to decide how much to spend weekly on food for his dog has just as difficult a decision to make as a president who has to decide if he should send 200 troops to Iraq to protect American citizens and embassy personnel in a crisis.
Maybe I'm too tough on our chief executives. If you think so, let me say this: I live in a state that has hundreds of thousands of people who are poor. Many of them will go to bed hungry tonight and the Obamas may be hosting a big shindig at the White House in which gourmet food will be served, expensive wine will flow and an orchestra whose members will be dressed in formal attire will play. The cost may be hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is just that there is something uncomfortable to me about these two contrasts.
You know, we hillbillies do have a strange way of looking at things. We are weird. We still believe in such foolishness as patriotism and many of us value freedom above wealth. So is it any wonder that the idea of imperial presidencies makes some of us a bit uncomfortable? Huh? Huh?

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