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At least W can’t screw it up when he’s on vacation…

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As we approach our 200th weekly man-hour on this Wednesday afternoon at YES!, tirelessly answering telephones and deadlines as we eke out slivers of time to maintain at least a semblance of our personal lives, we are not quite sure what to think about President Bush’s five-week vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

On the one hand it’s nice to know that our leader, our commander in chief, the man at the helm of the bobsled, so to speak, is healthy and rested.

He’s always seen the wisdom of regular, lengthy vacations ‘— this is his 49th sojourn to his Texas ranch since he took charge in January 2000, trips that have by some estimates accounted for nearly 20 percent of his days in office. His attitude towards time off work could almost be considered European ‘— if, that is, the Europeans weren’t such wussies.

And he’s taking good care of himself. Everyone knows he quit the bottle and the whiff years ago, and it’s becoming common knowledge that the president now takes weekends and evenings off, enjoys regular afternoon naps and adheres to a daily two-hour midday exercise regimen, the bulk of which is spent astride his $3,000 Trek Fuel mountain bike.

Exercise, says the president, is ‘“part of living a disciplined life’…. What it takes is organization and discipline and setting some priorities.’”

To the American president, his own health and well being is a high priority. At his most recent physical he was placed in the top 1 percent in terms of overall health for men aged 55 to 59. Remarkable, especially considering that, at 59 years of age, George Bush has got a few years on most of the men with whom he’s being compared.

Which brings us to the other hand’….

WTF, as our friends on the internet might put it. Here we are huddled in our offices, slamming lunch at our desks, slogging it out on tough assignments and generally busting our asses and this guy gets himself a nap every afternoon, a two-hour bike ride every day and regular vacations at his friggin’ ranch? The guy’s the point man for a growingly unpopular war; the price of a gallon of gas is roughly triple what it was when he took office; his approval rating is sinking faster than Tom Cruise’s, and yet the guy has the standing heart rate of a 20-year-old lacrosse player and an aw-shucks mindset the likes of which we as Americans haven’t witnessed since they cancelled ‘“Leave it to Beaver.’” How is this possible?

The answer is organization, my friends. And setting priorities.

‘“The people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy,’” the president has said. ‘“And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I’m mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I’m also mindful that I’ve got a life to live, and will do so.’”

You hear that? Guy’s got a life to lead, people’… he’s got trails to ride and couches to break in, ballgames to watch and’… other stuff. There’s lots of other stuff, we’re sure.

Meanwhile we Americans, most of us anyway, can take pride in the fact that we put in more hours on the job per week than our president. And when it comes time to make those ‘“good, crisp decisions,’” we know he’ll be tanned, rested and ready.

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