Sometime around Election Day 2008, I heard the Corrigan Brothers singing “There is no one more Irish than Barack Obama.”
I remember thinking: “Oh, that explains it.”
For someone like myself, who looks at politics in a fairly cold and calculating sort of way, the fascinating fact about 2008 was that just four years earlier President Obama was a back-bencher in the Illinois State Senate.
The odds against anyone of the 7,382 people who began 2004 serving in one of our 50 state legislative bodies ending up being elected President of the United States in 2008 was infinitesimal.
Yet, Barack Obama did it. So, when I heard the reports that this son of Kansas and Hawaii had some Irish in the background, I thought it must be “The Luck of the Irish.”
Being Irish, I always took it that that phrase was based on past positive results and the like. Historians of the West, for example, do report that the Irish were luckier than others in the gold and silver fields. That’s why the Irish leprechaun with gold coins is found in many a casino.
Anyone who knows Irish history, with its potato famines and subjugation by their good British neighbors, knows that we’ve twisted the “Luck of the Irish” from its original Old Country meaning.
Which brings me around to the President’s “vacation” on Martha’s Vineyard. Watching the television news, first about the earthquake, and this weekend about Hurricane Irene, the thought that crossed my mind was: “Boy, this guy’s luck has really run out.”
When you have a decent-sized earthquake and major hurricane following you to a vacation venue for people who do not want to get their hair out of place, you are not only having bad luck, you are bad luck.
Had the First Family gone to the West Coast, a big earthquake could be expected, just as it is at any time. The still-recovering Gulf Coast would have been an excellent choice, but the hurricane season there must always be taken seriously.
Most people do not know it, but our major national parks have premier housing that is available for the President’s use for a private, secured vacation at practically no cost to the First Family. They can set it up with one phone call to the Secretary of the Interior.
The Secret Service would much prefer these venues. Entire areas can be closed off to the general public to ensure the First Family’s privacy, and the park police are there to provide backup and traffic control.
A presidential stay would be a great advertisement for the entire National Park System, which is among the nation’s true gems.
Park rangers also know how to do everything safely. They’d make sure the President was safe even if he wanted to grill out with a few turkey burgers.
So, ordinarily, I would like to have President Obama taking advantage of all the Department of the Interior can provide and stay just up the road from me.
But now I’d prefer he stay really far, far away.
I do not want to wake up and see Rocky Mountain National Park on fire.