Obama’s Hawaiian Vacation

President Obama likes to go back to his Hawaii home town and live like a regular guy for a few days.

An interesting fluff piece by AP:  “Obama craves familiarity on Hawaiian vacation.”

There are those who crave adventure and spontaneity during their vacations. Then, there’s President Barack Obama.

More than a week into his Hawaiian holiday, Obama is proving to be a creature of habit, seeking refuge in the comfort and consistency of a familiar routine.

The president’s itinerary during his annual trip to Oahu, the island where he was born and mostly raised, is downright predictable. He is almost certain to spend his mornings working out at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. A leisurely dinner with friends and family at Alan Wong’s Restaurant, an award-winning eatery in the neighborhood where Obama grew up, is a yearly tradition. And a guaranteed place to spot the president is at Island Snow, a shop near his rented oceanfront home, where he treats daughters, Malia and Sasha, to shave ice, the Hawaiian version of the snow cone.

So, doesn’t the president ever want to mix things up a bit, maybe go somewhere new?

Not really, says White House spokesman Bill Burton, who is with the president in Hawaii.  “Like most Americans, the president knows what he likes in his own hometown,” Burton said. “He’s been going to a lot of these places since he was a very young child and they hold an important place in his life.”

Some of us like to go off to places like Aruba on our vacations, doing something very different from our normal routines.  But presidents don’t exactly have “normal routines.”   Which is why most of ours go off to do things most of us would think an odd way to spend a vacation — chopping wood at a ranch, for example.   If Obama just wants to go back to his home town and be a more-or-less regular guy for a few days, that’s fine by me.

Bill Clinton was the outlier among recent presidents.  Like Ronald Reagan, he seemed to revel in the job rather than getting beat down by it.  But, whereas Reagan would go and play cowboy on his California ranch, Clinton would go off to Martha’s Vineyard to rub elbows with movie stars and other rich and famous people.  Then again, Reagan had been a star for decades by the time he became president, whereas becoming president made Clinton a star.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Clovis says:

    Plus, Chicago’s cold.