The Obama Date Nights

So what is the big flap about Michelle and Barack going out on dates?  My husband and I do it.  Maybe not flying to New York or to Paris but we try to go to concerts or for a walk at one of the local parks at least once a week.  It is fun and we try to make it stress free.  It gives one a new perspective on the relationship and on everything else going on in our lives and in the world.

The best take on the Obamas I’ve seen so far is Maureen Dowd’s Column today in the New York Times, “Can the One Have Fun?”

The fun police are patrolling Pennsylvania Avenue.

Given the serious times, the chatter goes, should Barack Obama be allowed to enjoy date night with Michelle in New York, sightseeing in Paris, golf outings in D.C., not to mention doing a promotion for Conan O’Brien and a video cameo for Stephen Colbert’s first comedy show from Iraq?

With two wars and G.M. in bankruptcy proceedings, shouldn’t the president be glued to the grindstone, emulating W.’s gravity when he sacrificed golf in 2003 as the Iraq insurgency spread?

So begins Dowd.

As a taxpayer, I am most happy to contribute to domestic and international date nights. As Arthur Schlesinger noted in his diaries, the White House tends to drive its occupants nuts. So some respite from the pressure is clearly a healthy thing. Not as much respite as W. took, bicycling and vacationing through all the disasters that President Obama is now stuck fixing — spending a total of 490 days in the tumbleweed isolation of Crawford and rarely deigning to sightsee as he traveled the world.

I agree.  Too much work is bad – and too much mindless brush cutting signaled inattention to the mess that was being created.  The Obamas are curious people and like to meet all kinds of people.  This can only be a good thing.

Interestingly, Dr. No, Dick Cheney, declined to tut-tut with other Republicans, saying “I don’t know why not,” when he was asked about the propriety of the president’s getaway to Broadway. A far more mature response than Senator Chuck Grassley’s nit-twit tweets grumbling about the president urging progress on health care “while u sightseeing in Paris.”

I loved the “Pretty Woman” romance of the New York tableau, the president, who had not lived an entitled life where he could afford such lavish gestures, throwing off his tie and whisking his wife, in a flirty black cocktail dress, to sip martinis in Manhattan, as Sasha hung over a White House balcony and called out goodbye.

When the president and first lady walked to their seats in the Belasco for “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” the theater-goers went nuts. And why not?

What a relief to have an urbane, cultivated, curious president who’s out and about, engaged in the world. Not dangerously detached, as W. was, or darkly stewing like Cheney. Not hanging with the Rat Pack like J.F.K. or getting bored and up to mischief like Bill Clinton.

What a relief change is.

Michelle and Barack Obama

The Obamas leaving for their date in New York.

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