I hate to go all Grinchy the day after Christmas, but can anyone tell me why is it okay for Barack Obama to spend Christmas during the worst economic downturn in decades in the course of which thousands of Americans face losing their homes in Hawaii in a 9 million dollar house body surfing and playing golf when it is not okay for the leader of the free world who has been presiding over two wars for several years to clear brush at the rather modest ranch he owns in Texas during hurricane season?

Or, along the same lines, why is it so terrible for harried executives to save time–and quite frankly in the grand scheme of things not spend that much money compared to what we really face–by travelling by private aviation when the man elected to preside over this mess frolics in the lap of luxury?

Now I know that Mr. Obama hails from Hawaii and no one blames him for going home for the holidays.  But does he have to revel in such such a luxurious rented mansion and be photographed participating in such elitist sports?  Was there no lesser house on offer? 

I suppose that his apologists will now argue that it’s not Mr. Obama’s fault that he now needs to travel with security and support staff that make a more modest dwelling impractical, but when did these same commenters, wearing their critic’s hats, ever extend such understanding to President Bush?

I have to wonder, when even Paul Krugman is raising a bushy eyebrow and scolding that “symbolism matters,” just how in touch this future President is with the terrible financial challenges that will bedevil our nation next year?