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Just one day after the Iraqi government received failing marks in President Bush's surge interim progress report, Americans learned that the Iraqi parliament is proceeding with its plans to take off the month of August.  But while the American people may be up in arms, President Bush's amen corner is predictably silent.  After all, given Bush's own record-setting penchant for vacationing during crises here at home, Republicans are understandably reticent to criticize the absentee government in Baghdad.

Judging by the numbers, the Bush presidency at times resembles one extended holiday. As of this Easter, Bush had traveled to his Crawford ranch 63 times, spending all or part of 405 days there.  By August 2005, Bush set the two-term record for most presidential days off, easily eclipsing Ronald Reagan's previous eight-year tally of 335.

While Bush has been AWOL from the White House even more than from the Texas Air National Guard, it's what he missed during his time at play that is more disturbing still.  In August 2001, the Crawford-based Bush brushed off what he deemed a "cover your ass" memo, the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) ominously titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."  Four years later, Bush strummed an acoustic guitar as New Orleans was submerged by Hurricane Katrina.  The following July, Bush relaxed again, as the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict exploded in Lebanon. And just weeks ago, Bush hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the family compound in Kennebunkport.  While Bush was apparently once again looking into Putin's soul, the budding Kremlin autocrat was moving ahead with his plan to withdraw from the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty.

It's no wonder White House press secretary Tony Snow got a little testy on Friday when he was grilled by the press corps about the soon-to-be missing in action Iraqi legislature:

Q: Is the Iraqi government and the Iraqi parliament taking the month of August off?

SNOW: Probably, yes. Just not -

Q: They're taking the entire month of August off, before the September deadline?

SNOW: It looks like they may, yes. Just like the U.S. Congress is.

Q: Have you tried to talk them out of that?

SNOW: You know, it's 130 degrees in Baghdad in August, I'll pass on your recommendation.

Q: Well, Tony, Tony, I'm sorry, that's - you know - I mean, there are a lot of things that happen by September and it's 130 degrees for the U.S. military also on the ground -

SNOW: You know, that's a good point. And it's 130 degrees for the Iraqi military.

While Snow got bitch-slapped by the press for his arrogance, he didn't need to worry about Bush's Republican allies on the hill.  As ThinkProgress noted Saturday, House Republicans, who in May called on Vice President Cheney to pressure the Iraqis to change, have little to say now.

Given the dismal progress report last Thursday, the White House and the Republican Party understandably want to avoid drawing attention to the vacationing Iraqi parliamentarians.  Almost as much as they want to avoid shining a spotlight on our ever-vacationing President.

** Crossposted at Perrspectives **

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Sun Jul 15, 2007 at 07:53 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Maybe Bush and the Iraqi government (4+ / 0-)

    Can take a nice vacation together.

    I hear The Hague is nice this time of year.

    qui tacet consentire

    by quaoar on Sun Jul 15, 2007 at 07:51:12 AM PDT

  •  Just caught some Face the Nation where BOb S. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, mango, worried dem, phoenixdreamz

    just asked Hadley about the Iraqis taking the month off which Hadley completely dodged bigtime.
    If it wasn't so sad-it would almost be funny the extreme ways GOPers play the avoidance game of defining any actual strategy in Iraq.

  •  Remember: "We're Making Progress" (3+ / 0-)

    For Bush, one thing never changes in Iraq:
    "We're Making Progress."

  •  hadley was interesting this morning (4+ / 0-)

    when pressed by bob schieffer on the Iraqi vacation. shieffer pressed him on it but he simply wouldn't talk about it. He changed the subject immediately to a sort of bottom up Iraqi government (that doesn't really exist).  It was almost painful watching him refuse to talk about the vacation. schieffer, of course, wouldn't press him hard enough by asking questions specifically intent on getting him to talk about it, but that's par for the course for our "liberal" media.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Sun Jul 15, 2007 at 08:23:55 AM PDT

  •  Its a tradition going (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bouwerie Boy, phoenixdreamz

    way back. Before air conditioning, cities were completely unlivable in August so the aristocrats always took the month off. That has translated into European and American governments, thinking of themselves as Aristocrats, doing the same. Of course through all this time, from Rome to the present, the plebeians, the working class, us poor gets who don't know no better, get to hang in there and keep working for that loaf of bread. Back when the horse was the primary mover, the heat of August would dry out the dung in the streets and the breezes that might otherwise provide some relief turned into "shit storms". New York and Washington were famous for them. So while the Congress and the Iraqi Parliament take it easy in the country, be comforted by the fact that you and I are actually a little more like the troops sweating out in the 130° heat that so impresses Tony Snow.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Sun Jul 15, 2007 at 08:25:12 AM PDT

  •  White House West (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phoenixdreamz, Empower Ink

    Is it a vacation if you put up a podium with the sign White House West...Crawford?  I always found that sort of weird...I mean call it a vacation with a good communication package and millions of extra dollars to move the entourage and security out of DC.  Someone at the Bureau of Labor Statistics should shed some lite on how much this process costs.

  •  Actually, no matter where he may have been (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mango, phoenixdreamz

    physically, I have the impression that Bush has been 'on vacation' at least three out of four days since his appointmen annointment election.

    Now lets see... ppl are angry because the Iraqis Parliament is on vacation, and there is a war going on.  At the same time, everyone agrees that this war is the single issue of greatest concern to everyone in the US... except maybe for the President and the Congress, who are... on vacation?

    Is there something not exactly right, here, even outside of Iraq?

    Just wondering.  Cheers:)

    Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

    by wgard on Sun Jul 15, 2007 at 08:55:32 AM PDT

  •  Let's Give W & Shooter Permanent Vacations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm only too willing to send W off to Crawford or Paraguay for the rest of his miserable life. Likewise, Dick can go off to his bunker at an undisclosed location. Put them both on the Impeachment Express.

    OTOH, The Hague is the perfect spot for both of them. W wants a legacy? Let's give it to him.  

  •  I was waiting (0+ / 0-)

    for someone to being up Bush's vacation habits. Of course, it's only metaphorically 130 degrees in DC.

    It is not the business of the state to help its citizens get into heaven, nor to save them from hell.

    by DanK Is Back on Sun Jul 15, 2007 at 09:13:38 AM PDT

  •  Iraqi govt failing Bush, standing for free Iraq (0+ / 0-)

    They don't want us there, most Iraqis are standing up for that. Our soldiers are dying for that failed policy.

    End the occupation of Iraq, protect the constitution and the middle class.

    by Opinionated Ed on Sun Jul 15, 2007 at 09:49:32 AM PDT

  •  Perfect! (0+ / 0-)

    Let's see if Gen Betrayus issues a general order for the troops to go on vacation for the same period. It would be a good test of the eventual withdrawal plan. Maybe they could even STAY on vacation when the September deadline for progress of the engorgement surge passes unmarked by Congress or the MSM here at home.

    Dems polling is going to go even lower.... and lower. Eventually, the Cindy Sheehan method of getting them to wake up to the issues WE care about may come into general fashion.

    My Country - Right or Worng... We're working on fixing that "Wrong" part now.

    by daddybunny on Sun Jul 15, 2007 at 10:27:11 AM PDT

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