Obama Should Go to Disneyland

And seven other things the president should do right now.

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With an aggressive Texas Gov. Rick Perry closing fast in his rearview mirror, an intransigent Congress as his legislative dance partner for the duration and approval ratings dipping below 40 percent for the first time ever, it's clear that President Barack Obama needs to switch things up if he wants to find himself back in the public's good graces.

And the sooner the better.

So for the third year in a row, I'm urging Obama to forgo the annual trip to Martha's Vineyard.

Two summers ago, I suggested that Obama take a "staycation" to show folks that he was willing to work overtime through the dog days of summer, and last year I recommended that the Obamas spend their vacation time "munching cotton candy and playing the slots at popular Gulf resorts like Biloxi or Panama City" to help bring tourists back after the BP oil spill. This year, no matter how much he needs a break, Obama simply can't afford to be seen lounging by the seaside while we slog through another hot, unemployed summer.

Although it's as nice a place as any for a family getaway, the Vineyard -- and all that it implies -- represents everything wrong with Obama's image.

Martha's Vineyard, of course, is the vacation destination for the African-American elite. So elite, in fact, that the nation's only black president -- brought up in Honolulu by a globetrotting single mom -- barely qualifies. The island, with its roster of A-list summer residents -- from The Root's editor-in-chief, Henry Louis Gates Jr., to Vernon Jordan, Bill Clinton's black consigliere -- is a logical place for the Obamas to spend a late-summer holiday.

But the Vineyard's golf courses and cloistered estates are the last place Obama needs to be if he wants to reconnect with the American electorate. If he loses his bid for re-election, he'll have all the downtime he wants to stroll the sidewalks of Oak Bluffs and Chilmark. Right now, however, he ought to think about taking the first lady and the kids somewhere they can play miniature golf and that serves funnel cake and domestic beer.

Here are eight things, including a new vacation destination, that Obama should consider doing now:

Go to Disneyland

The Obamas should go to Disneyland -- or any amusement park. People want to see their president having fun -- just not more fun than they can ever have themselves. The Obama girls have a lifetime of semesters abroad to look forward to, but for the next two summers, they should be at a waterslide park while Dad plays blackjack with tourists at an Indian reservation.