Barack Obama Endorses Vacation Rentals
By William May
Published: 11/24/08 Topics: Comments: -
The next President of the United States has effectively endorsed the entire concept of Vacation Rentals by renting a private home in Kailua on the North Shore of Oahu, a Hawaiian Island. He is staying there for a week with his wife Michelle and two daughters.
He is staying at a secluded beach rental, obscured from the road by a long driveway and trees, about an hour’s drive from Honolulu. He plans to body surf, has already been on the golf course, visited a childhood favorite drive-in restaurant and visited his grandmother in her Oahu apartment building.
He said he might stop by Zippy’s, an Hawaiian chain restaurant known for its chili, or the Rainbow Drive-In for a Hawaiian "plate lunch," a mix of rice, macaroni salad and meat.
"I am going to go get some shave ice," he said. "I am going to go bodysurfing at an undisclosed location. I am going to see my Tutu, my grandma. And I am going to watch my girls play on the beach, and maybe once in awhile I will go in the water. But mostly I am going to sit there and watch them."
(In Hawaii the term Tutu is reserved for beloved grandmothers.)
In short Obama is doing what millions of Americans and others around the world have learned - staying in a private beach home is more comfortable, saves money and allows visitors to fit into the neighborhood rather than being relegated to tourist ghettos like the high-rise hotels and noisy diesel buses of Waikiki.
Republicans, still hoping to smear him as an elitist for frequenting such a high end vacation area, need to remember that Obama was born and raised in Honolulu. Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle who tows the party line should know better. In fact, Obama lived in Hawaii well before Lingle arrived on its shores.
Although he graduated from the prestigious Punahou School on Oahu in 1979 he did so on a financial need and academic scholarship afforded to those with great merit. At this point, it would be difficult to call the school's decision anything but prophetic.
The Maui news quoted local residents in the Windward Oahu beach community who have said they are excited to have Obama as their neighbor for a week and hope to catch a glimpse of him.
''Maybe we'll go back down to the beach and see if we could see him. That would be real cool - our future president down at our beach,'' said surfer Anthony Burris.
Like cranky xenophobes everywhere, these may be the same neighbors who yelp loudly at county officials saying only full-time residents should be allowed to stay in homes in areas such as Kailua.
But Obama's residency underscores that everyone, guests as well as residents, have a right to stay and enjoy the quiet lifestyle of a wonderful beach community.
Obama is just another American who endorses vacation rentals for what the comfort job and family atmosphere they offer. If vacation rentals are good for the next president of the United States they should be allowed for all visitors.