You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

editorial

Kerry on vacation, and on call

There are legitimate reasons to criticize a secretary of state’s oversight of foreign relations. Spending a few days on vacation shouldn’t be one of them.

Some Republicans were quick to condemn Secretary of State John Kerry’s decision to enjoy the long Fourth of July weekend on Nantucket as Egypt was being rocked by political turmoil. When pictures of Kerry boarding his yacht made the rounds soon after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the Egyptian military, critics pounced. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, for example, tweeted an image of the yacht along with the message: “Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry hard at, um, work while Egypt explodes.”

Continue reading below

The State Department did Kerry no favors by categorically denying that he had been on the water, only to reverse itself once the photos appeared. But it shouldn’t have been an issue to begin with. Sniping at government leaders for taking time away from the office is the sort of pettiness that makes partisan politics so unappetizing. Millions of Americans remain digitally tethered to their jobs 24/7, even while vacationing. Does anyone imagine that isn’t the case for the nation’s top diplomat? No senior administration official can simply unplug from the world by going to Nantucket — or to Nairobi or Nicosia. The department’s spokeswoman underscored the point on Friday by releasing the list of foreign ministers Kerry had called on July 4 and 5.

In 1984, responding to critics who said he spent too much time on his ranch in California, Ronald Reagan remarked that “presidents don’t take vacations — they just get a change of scenery.” The same is true for secretaries of state.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.