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August 26, 2011
Some Gave All, Obama Shot Par
Without question, President Obama seems to have long ago perfected the art of evading responsibility, better perhaps than even most teenagers, and whoever coined the phrase "working vacation."
Obama's favored modus oper-voidance continues to be the game of golf -- a sport for which many, including me, share a great affection -- even if Obama still seems unaware golf is a game best played in less perilous times. Say, retirement -- around 2013.
Obama has played at least four rounds of golf -- in between dribbling, biking, and socializing with major fundraisers -- since beginning his 10-day family vacation on Martha's Vineyard, which comes as no surprise. Honestly, I tire of even discussing his juvenile preoccupation with public recreation at this juncture in the fundamental transformation, but the image of an obtuse Obama on the course this time around strikes a particularly heart wrenching nerve.
On his first full day of vacation, August 19th, as Obama golfed one of Martha Vineyard's private courses, at least five of our most elite - some of the 30 victims of the deadly Taliban attack on their Chinook helicopter August 6th -- were laid to rest. Even Obama's ambitious 77 rounds of golf in as little as 31 months failed to numb to the image.
The timing of events at the most inopportune moments -- natural disasters, economic turmoil, and chaos at home and overseas -- has stung other Presidents. It is, to a large degree, humanly impossible to avoid every such image. But frankly, no one in history has seemed so at ease, so lacking in humility -- so, can't you see I'm on vacation -- even in the midst of great fear, insecurity, tragedy, or unforeseen terrorism, than Barack Obama.
Clearly, the odds are significantly higher that Obama should experience these seemingly unforeseen events in the most conspicuous of indulgent moments, considering his rather adolescent need for, well, indulgent moments, particularly from the back nine. And yet, for all the practice, Obama seems incapable, as other leaders are so compelled, to lead in the midst of great tragedy, even inspiringly so. George W. Bush didn't hit the links on 9/12. Governor Chris Christie isn't exactly sitting around awaiting help from the federal government as Irene barrels toward his state.
No one believes Obama could have logistically attended the funerals of the thirty fallen, particularly with his busy fundraising schedule. And in all fairness, Obama did change his schedule to meet the flag-draped coffins returning to the U.S. on August 9th -- at which time he posed for a photo, distributed to news outlets and posted on the White House website as the Photo of The Day -- regardless of the request from at least nineteen of the bereaved families not to do so. But nine days later he was throwing humility to the wind and hitting the links, which seems to be par for the course on Obama's lavish romp through public service. Still, watching our most revered soldiers laid to rest as their Commander-in-Chief putts, seems to prove once and for all the job isn't just outside his comfort zone, it's above Obama's pay grade.
It's obvious that still unbeknownst to Obama, the Office of the President really does follow him wherever he goes, as does the honor and dignity of every soldier. It comes as no surprise that our Commander-in-Chief golfs, bikes, and hobknobs as the men he is charged with sending into harm's way are laid to rest. And it comes as no surprise that the soldiers he forsakes make a mockery, even quite inadvertently, of Obama's incompetence by their very exceptionalism.
I have far too much respect for the families of our fallen to presume to know their profound heartbreak, let alone suggest how they should mourn. I can't imagine welcoming the inevitable circus were Obama to choose to attend even one memorial, even if only for the photo-op.
On the other hand, were that soldier my child -- revered, expertly trained, selfless in sacrifice, faith, and love of country -- and his Commander-in-Chief was on the golf course, knowingly, on the very day his soldier was laid to rest, I would know that Obama leads not only from behind, but in the shadow of my son.
Some golf. Some lead. Some give all.
Today, the Commander-in-Chief golfs.
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