MICHAEL REAGAN: Fuss over Obama's travels pointless

cagle cartoon syndicate Published:

Come on guys, let's start focusing on the important stuff like ObamaCare, Ukraine and winning the Senate.

All this outrage in the conservative media about how much money it's costing for Barack Obama's trip to Belgium and for Michelle Obama's travels to China is just a waste of time.

Yes, the cost of their trips, whether they're measured in millions of dollars or thousands of hotel-room nights, is outrageous.

But what POTUS (the president of the United States) and FLOTUS (the first lady of the United States) are doing on their travels is nothing new or abnormal.

Obama's official overseas trips and family vacations seem extravagant and more expensive than they should be, but they're not significantly higher in number than George W. Bush's were.

According to a National Taxpayer Foundation study reported by Breitbart.com, so far Obama has taken 31 trips and spent 119 days abroad. That compares to George W. Bush's 28 trips and 116 days overseas in his first five years and Bill Clinton's 27 trips and 113 days.

Let's get real. Presidents and "protectees" like the first lady and the Obama kids travel differently than any other persons in the human race, except maybe Donald Trump.

I know because for the eight years my father was president I was a protectee -- and so were each of my two kids.

Whether I was alone, with my family or with my father, I had a three-person Secret Service protection detail --24/7. So did each of my kids, Cameron and Ashley.

In the 1980s the media made a fuss about how much money was being spent on me when I traveled to Europe w ith my wife and kids.

I admit it was embarrassing. But I had no choice when it came to security. I was on the president's protected list and the president gets to decide who's on it.

Traveling with all that security was crazy, complicated and costly to taxpayers. Advance teams went ahead of us to Europe to contact local police.

Once when I flew into Genoa, Italy, I noticed the airport was surrounded by soldiers armed with Uzis. I said to my Secret Service agent, "My God, what's happening here?" He said, "You're happening here. They're all here for you."

All that protection made sense then and still does: No foreign country wants to risk having a member of the family of the American president -- or any visiting G- 7 official -- kidnapped or killed.

At home in Los Angeles, it was the same deal. There were three agents per shift with me, three with Cameron and three with Ashley -- again, 24/7.

We all had codenames. Mine was "Riddler."

Yes, the cost of the Obamas' travels is off the charts. Yes, it seems like they are traveling while Washington burns. But should Michelle Obama not be allowed to take her kids and mom to China? Should I have not been allowed to travel because my father was president?

So let's get over it.

Protecting the president and his family is more expensive than ever, but it's something we have to do. Conservatives need to get out of the weeds, focus on what's important and stop complaining about things they don't know anything about.

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Copyright ©2014 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

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  • How about outrage over booze bill?

    ~~"
    Trying to think of a time when it would be appropriate for government to buy booze. Certainly doesn’t seem like a necessary function.
     Check it out:

    Move over, “Animal House,” Hollywood’s got nothing on the federal government when it comes to buying booze.

    Federal spending records show the government spends seven-figures a year stocking its cabinets with wine, beer and liquor.

    In fiscal 2013, the last year for which there are complete records, the government spent almost $1.3 million on alcohol, more than quadruple the $315,000 spent in 2005. The spending on liquor has increased over the years toward the $1 million mark, with 2013’s tab growing more than $400,000 over 2012."

    Read more at http://conservativebyte.com/2014/03/feds-ran-1-3-million-booze-tab-last-year/#d1xzSZOF8kHGKIuT.99