Obama's original statement was silly. Nobody can work without some downtime, especially in jobs where there is high pressure and mental acuity is important. In fact, counterintuitive as it may seem, mentally taxing work requires a lot of downtime because the brain doesn't "spin down" instantly and a good night's sleep won't necessarily help someone who has been doing taxing mental work as much as it would help someone doing taxing physical work.
I find the notion that a President shouldn't be able to go play a round of golf or a game of basketball, to run or ride his bicycle, and to take some time to unwind to be stupid. The President is a human being, like the rest of us. He's not invested with superpowers making him immune to stress and fatigue.
Add to that that the President is never really on vacation anyways, since the office basically travels with and surrounds him at all times, and I don't think much about whether Obama is in the Oval Office, on Air Force 1, in Chicago, Hawaii, or Martha's Vineyard. Same with Bush II before him, and Clinton before that, etc.
But it can certainly look bad, and Obama (like Bush) is looking bad because he does these things at inopportune times and without regard for appearances. I find that weird from an otherwise talented and polished politician.
Beyond that, I see little to outrage me here, except the expense to taxpayers.
I'm not sure anyone is suggesting he shouldn't take vacations.
I several problems with the kinds of vacations he and his wife have taken:
1. If we were in the "worst recession since the Great Depression," as he repeatedly said, then he should have led by example and taken less expensive vacations. Having his wife fly to foreign countries and mainland resorts at taxpayer expense, for example, showed pretty poor judgment. Traveling to Hawaii in separate planes, just because he can, showed poor judgment. If he's footing, no problem. But I don't like paying for that crap.
2. He took advantage of perks of the job, in the middle of this great recession. He never came to Hawaii and stayed in a beachfront house worth in excess of $10 million, on one of the nicest beaches on the planet, before becoming president. He's from Chicago. He should have taken his butt to Chicago or had a staycation in DC, like many families do when they are tightening belts during tough economic times.
3. Think about this: if a large company is deeply in debt, laying off employees, cutting salaries, and just having a very difficult time, should the CEO be flaunting numerous golf trips, foreign vacations, Hawaii trips at company expense, etc.? That kind of CEO would probably get fired by the Board.
4. I honestly don't think he works hard enough to take numerous vacations during the year. People (or I should say probably just Soul Crusher lol) have posted articles about the president not attending daily briefings, including intelligence briefings, and overall just not working very hard. Even some liberals say he has checked out.
So overall, no problem by me with him taking vacations, but I definitely have a problem with how he went about it.