Dana Milbank nails it, I think:
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.”
Obama stood on the South Lawn on Saturday updating Americans on the new bombing campaign in Iraq — and then he boarded Marine One for atwo-week trip to Martha’s Vineyard. There, half an hour after arriving at his vacation home, he was already on his way to a golf course. He played again Sunday, then had a beach outing Monday followed by a political fundraiser.
Even presidents need down time, and Obama can handle his commander-in-chief duties wherever he is. But his decision to proceed with his getaway just 36 hours after announcing the military action in Iraq risks fueling the impression that he is detached as the world burns.
The highly visible wartime vacation (Obama allowed himself to be photographed on a putting green Saturday with NBA star Ray Allen and retired pro-football player Ahmad Rashad) was not looking any better Monday as Iraq’s political crisis worsened, NATO’s chief declared a “high probability” of Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Gaza remained on a knife edge.
By Monday afternoon, the crises had forced Obama to revise his schedule. The White House announced that the president, after returning from the beach, would make an unscheduled statement about Iraq. He freshened up at his 8,100-square-foot vacation home, then stepped outside, in a blue blazer and open collar; his aides wisely chose a wooded backdrop rather than one with the infinity pool and the sweeping water views. Obama finished his four-minute statement and then hopped in his motorcade for the ride to a Democratic fundraiser.
Such visuals probably won’t help Obama with the 60 percent of Americans who disapprove of his handling of foreign policy. Even his former secretary of state is registering her disapproval.
One other, almost incidental reason for her disapproval is because she now has to somehow distance herself from Obama and his shortcomings in the run-up to her own bid for the Oval Office in 2016. But we’ll get to that later.
The bigger point here is that Obama has become so utterly detached that he’s sometimes now being referred to as the “semi-retired President” and is taking lame duck status to a whole new level. Real, consequential things are happening in the world around us, and strong moral leadership is desperately needed. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort can be found in the current administration. They don’t act much when they need to, and whenever they do feel the need to act, they generally screw it up. Oh, and by the way, even the most rose-colored glasses can’t hide the dismal results of the worst economic “recovery” since WWII.
In honor of the President’s clearly preferred method of handling crisis after crisis, here’s a great montage for you:
Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States, not resting on anything substantial. Except when he is.
Nero fiddled. Obama golfs. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. The burning continues either way.
There’s my two cents.