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VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: A Vineyard Too Far – National Review Online

August 30, 2011

A Vineyard Too Far

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

AUGUST 30, 2011 4:00 A.M.

People who rail against “fat cats” shouldn’t vacation with them.By Sunday afternoon, the Gallup tracking poll showed a 17-point spread in the president’s approval rating — 38 percent approval to 55 percent disapproval. Such polls are fickle and can go up and down quickly, often depending on unwarranted and unfair perceptions and media hype, hinging on everything from hurricanes to killing bin Laden. That said, these recent abysmal numbers might suggest that for the first time, a considerable number of Americans are starting to be turned off not just by Barack Obama’s economic policies, but by Barack Obama himself. But why now?

The president’s latest Martha’s Vineyard vacation was a public-relations disaster, wholly unnecessary, and in part responsible for Obama’s most recent slide in the polls. Part of the problem was purely coincidental and no one’s fault: Who could have expected that while the president of the United States was resting on an exclusive private beach on a tony island on a calm August day, millions of Eastern Seaboarders around him would be engaged in a media-driven frenzy of emergency preparation and evacuation?

Yet most of the negative perception was the president’s own doing. For nearly three years, there has been something strange about the First Family’s ritzy getaway tastes. The annual Martha’s Vineyard rentals were bookended by First Family junkets to Vail, Costa del Sol, and Hawaii. The choice of venues spawned at least three problems for the president that have nothing to do with the First Family’s right, and indeed duty, to enjoy a little well-earned vacation time — or with the fact that other presidents have vacationed in nice places.

First, Obama’s fiery rhetoric “fat-cat bankers,” “corporate jets,” “millionaires and billionaires,” “redistributive change,” “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” etc. has demonized the better off. Many successful liberal presidents do that, but they finesse the necessary fundraising and schmoozing with Wall Street zillionaires with tact and discretion. Bill Clinton was a past master at gluing a populist veneer atop his deep fascination with old money and hip celebrity. The Obamas are far clumsier in both their class-warfare boilerplate and their overt elite tastes, whose contradictions they apparently either miss or don’t much care about.

via A Vineyard Too Far – Victor Davis Hanson – National Review Online.

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