Republicans delight in depicting President Obama as hopelessly out of touch with average Americans, but the decision by the Republican National Committee to hold its winter meeting at a tropical resort is turning the accusation on its head.
As the president gave his first State of the Union address Wednesday against the backdrop of the nation’s wheezing economy, the opposition party marked the event by convening a conference here – on an “island paradise.”
“Imagine lush tropical gardens, waterfalls, exotic wildlife and priceless artwork,” boasts the website of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa. “This one-of-a-kind Honolulu Hawaii hotel resort is the only true resort property in Waikiki.”
Which is to say that it’s a long way from Baltimore, where the House GOP will have its retreat later this month in a pointed effort to demonstrate their sensitivity to the tough economic times.
Yet at a moment when millions are out of work and millions more struggling to get by, the party’s governing board will plot its comeback on the island of Oahu, sipping drinks poolside, catching rays on the beach that abuts the villa and raising questions about whether they’re as politically tone-deaf as they accuse the president of being.
Oh, but it's not all sunshine and pina coladas by the pool. No, no, no. RNC Chairman Michael Steele, resplendent in his Hawaiian shirt and lei, assures us this is no vacation.
"Relax," Steele said while sporting a Hawaiian shirt and a flower lei. "We're working hard here, trust me. This is not a vacation."
Steele said the the meetings will "expose Hawaii to the rest of America." He told KHON, a local TV station, that it was important for the RNC, "as a party," to be in Hawaii, the home state of President Obama.
You know, I hear a lot of people claim Obama is playing three-dimensional chess to the RNC's checkers, but in this particular case, I'm not even sure that the RNC isn't stuck playing Chutes & Ladders instead.