Obama Vacations As The World Burns

Hey, don’t blame me for the headline: blame either Dana Milbank or a Washington Post editor for it, as Milbank notes that the optics of Obama playing golf and vacationing are not particularly good

(Washington Post) President Obama must really be teed off.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, his once-loyal secretary of state and his likeliest successor, has gone rogue, criticizing his foreign policy as too timid.

Obama responded with not one but two rounds of golf.

Clinton, in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg published by the Atlantic over the weekend, offered a withering comment on the Obama doctrine, described in shorthand by White House officials as “don’t do stupid s—.” Said Clinton: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

As the criticism became public, Obama was doggedly sticking with his plans to go on vacation – a decision that, if not in the category of stupid stuff, could fit under the heading of “tone deafness.”

Yes, yes, presidents always take vacations. And they do it as Big Things Happen. But, Obama takes this to new levels. He was on the golf course within an hour of arriving at Martha’s Vineyard after his brief, and late, TV appearance Saturday. He gave a brief, and, again, late, statement on Monday, and then took off for a fundraiser. He rarely lets himself be photographed while golfing, but, this time he did. As Milbank notes, the optics are bad. It shows him as detached. Here’s the thing: Obama has never cared what other people think, except in terms of getting himself elected. Since his re-election, he’s been freed from worrying about that, and he will do whatever he wants, regardless.

Yes, presidents take vacations. And a few hours off. Presidents will have their advisers and materials to make decisions. They are never really “off”. One has to wonder about Obama, though, and whether he is really engaged. It so often seems like he’s a squirrel, which has a remarkably short attention span. Or, a teenager, which also has an incredibly bad attention span. “Oh, look, a nut, I’ll do something with it” and then move on. There never seems to be any detailed planning or focus. Just a quick response, then move on. But, hey, what’s this? (via Ace and Weasel Zippers)

You have to understand that if you seek that office, then you have to be prepared to give your life to it. Essentially, the bargain that I think every President strikes with the American people is, ‘you give me this office, then in turn my fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure, is gone. I am giving myself to you.’

And the American people should have no patience through whatever’s going through your head [i.e., the President’s head] because you’ve got a job to do.

And so how I think about it is, that you don’t make that decision unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice.

Huh. But, times change, and the semi-retired president is entirely unconcerned about the optics.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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