Obama vacation: What flavor shave ice will he order?

President Obama joined his family in Hawaii late Wednesday, anticipating an 11-day vacation. Forget tax-cut deals and nuclear weapons treaties. The Obama vacation is all about shave ice.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
US President Barack Obama has a lei around his neck as he talks with US Senator Daniel Akaka and Rep. Mazie Hirono upon his arrival in Hawaii for a vacation Wednesday.

President Obama has made it to Hawaii to join his wife, daughters, and dog on vacation. He arrived just before midnight Wednesday, local time, after winging in on Air Force One from Washington following a press conference. In his first official act of relaxation, he donned a green lei after he stepped off the plane.

Now all the US political world is holding its breath as it awaits the results of an important policy decision the president is likely to make at some point during his projected 11 days in an island paradise.

The question facing Obama is this: What flavor of shave ice will he pick at Island Snow?

Ronald Reagan cleared brush at his California ranch during his breaks, and George H.W. Bush terrified the Maine sea life by roaring about in a sleek power boat. Bill Clinton played golf and talked while on vacation, and George W. Bush rode his bike on his Texas acres. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, takes his girls out for a frozen dessert-like substance. It’s a tradition.

We’re not talking snow cones served in soggy paper here. Not at all. Island Snow is a local landmark near Kailua Beach that bills itself as representing “the heart and soul of the progressive, active lifystyle in Hawaii.” Hmm.... They use the word “progressive.” Perhaps Obama will be trying to rebuild links with liberals angered by the tax cut-unemployment benefits compromise package he pushed through Congress in the waning days of the lame-duck session.

Anyway, Island Snow serves a product made of ice delicately trimmed from a large block of the same and served with a dash of fragrant syrups of exotic flavors. These flavors include Cotton Candy, Banzai Banana, Choo Choo Cherry, Ono Orange, and Godzilla Grape. You’re starting to feel progressive and active just reading that list, aren’t you?

In the past, Obama has ordered a lemon, cherry, and passion guava cones. He typically does not order sweet azuki red bean topping. That’s extra – maybe he can’t afford it on a government salary.

Washington experts suggest that if Obama returns to these past favorites it could be reflective of a return to the partisanship that characterized the relationship between Democratic and Republican lawmakers for much of the past Congress. If he opts for a new, more conservative flavor, however – such as Sour Lemonade – it could presage his new role as a mediator between remaining Dems and newly empowered GOP members.

Hey, that makes as much sense as the stuff on cable news shout shows, doesn’t it?

As to other activities, Obama will probably visit with his half-sister, who lives in Hawaii, as well as other relatives and friends. He might play golf and go to the beach. He’ll probably read.

“I anticipate that ... he’ll read a good amount of stuff. He’ll have, obviously, his daily intelligence briefing, as well as probably a novel or two,” said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs at a Wednesday briefing.

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