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The administration’s European vacation

The administration’s European vacation

More than just a metaphor

While the Ukrainians continue the fight to hold their nation together against Russian aggression in the Crimean region, President Obama and Vice President Biden are on vacation.

No, I don’t mean that as metaphor attempting to illustrate their passive mismanagement of the situation from the outset.

I mean they’re both literally on vacation in the midst of a crisis with potentially enormous international consequences.

The White House says Obama squeezed in another round of golf Sunday on one of the courses at the exclusive Ocean Reef Club on Key Largo, where the family was staying.

The foursome included sportscaster and former NFL wide receiver Ahmad Rashad, former NBA player Alonzo Mourning and Cyrus Walker, a cousin of senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. Obama teed off with the same group on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Vice President Biden was enjoying his own southern sun, taking a weekend retreat with his wife to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Perhaps the President sees this as an opportunity to show Putin that his acts of aggression aren’t going to make him sweat. Or perhaps, Obama really doesn’t see Putin’s moves as consequential in the grand scheme of things. Whatever his intentions, vacationing at this juncture can, at best, only convey utter apathy toward the increasingly volatile situation.

Of course, there are those who will ask, “what can the President really do at this point?”

Marc Thiessen at the Washington Post came up with a list, just for starters:

The president’s defenders say he has limited options to counter Russian aggression. Please. The United States is still a superpower — and there is plenty Obama can do to raise the pressure on Putin short of sending in the Marines. He can announce that he is directing the military to begin immediate humanitarian relief flights to Kiev, just as we did in Tbilisi in 2008. Putin is less likely to threaten Kiev if there are U.S. troops conducting humanitarian operations on the ground. He can add that he has approved Ukrainian requests for military aid and intelligence cooperation so that the government can defend itself against aggression.

He can declare that he is calling an emergency NATO meeting and that the alliance will conduct military exercises in Poland, the Baltic states and Romania to reassure our allies that NATO will stand by its commitment to protect them from Russian aggression. He can say that the United States will push for another round of NATO expansion, to bring Montenegro and Georgia — and eventually Ukraine — into the alliance. This would make clear that Putin’s actions in Ukraine have backfired and will accelerate, not slow, the integration of Central Europe into Western institutions. He can further announce that he is halting the planned drawdown of U.S. forces in Europe and restoring plans to build robust missile defenses in Eastern Europe. Those plans, he can say, were canceled in an effort to “reset” relations with Russia — a policy that Moscow has now rejected with its actions in Ukraine.

And the list goes on.

Regardless of whether you think Obama can do these things while vacationing with his family, he should have enough tact to understand the image of apathy these ill-timed vacations convey.

The President needs to do his job in a manner that demonstrates the esteem of the office to which he’s now twice been elected. If for nothing else, he ought to do it out of respect for the Ukrainian people.

Simply put, the President needs to show the American people — and the world — that he’s working.

As Thiessen notes in his column, however, “[h]e can’t do it from Key Largo.”

(Featured Image Source: YouTube)

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Comments

Shhh! He’s putting. We don’t want to break his concentration.

He’s multi-tasking. He’s focused on foreign policy while wasting away his foreign policy options in Margaritaville.

Bitterlyclinging | March 10, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Remember Churchill’s and Stalin’s collusion agreeing on which countries would up in whose sphere of influence after the war was over. Churchill referred to it as “The dirty little secret” They tried to keep it from Roosevelt for as long as possible because they both knew FDR would be pissed. Barry’s saying one thing, but his and Joe’s actions together are deliberately telling Vlad something entirely different.
“Dmitri, tell Vladimir to wait until after the election. I can be more flexible then”
I’d worry that Obama might have already made a Benedict Arnold style agreement with the Russians to surrender the United States economically, politically, and militarily to Russia and its allies in return for a lucrative position afterwards.
How’s president for life Barack Hussein Obama of the People’s Socialist States of America sound?

    Sunlight78 in reply to Bitterlyclinging. | March 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Sorry I was trying to do thumbs up but it did not work so well by cell phone. You scary option I had not considered but whether he is doing on purpose or just through incompatency, Obama is destroying the country.

      Sanddog in reply to Sunlight78. | March 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      He’s just not that smart. Like most progressives, his decisions are based in the here and now. History has no lessons to teach the most brilliant man in the world.

In 2006, Obama was critical of presidential vacations

http://patterico.com/2014/03/08/a-surprising-critic-of-presidential-vacations/

… Essentially the bargain that any president, I think, strikes with the American people is: “you give me this office and 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 for whatever is going through your 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, that trade off, that bargain and I think that what’s difficult and important for somebody like myself who has a wonderful forbearing wife and two gorgeous young children is that they end up having to make some of those sacrifices with you,” he continued. “And that is a profound decision that you don’t make lightly.

As much as I agree with the thesis of this post, “What does it matter at this point?”

Personally, I prefer Obama on vacation during a crisis. He would manage to muck it up even if he had Kissenger in charge of the teleprompters and working him like a puppet.

inspectorudy | March 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm

For Obama to understand the image he is sending to the world and especially to the beleaguered people of Ukraine he would have to have class. He and his angry wife have none. To see yourself through the eyes of others is a talent that has left the Obama’s behind. The old word was “Nouveau Riche”.

i see st valerie has her bbd smoozing with the sub human mongrel.

“…he should have enough tact to understand the image of apathy these ill-timed vacations convey.”

Ill-timed?

The man’s been on a relatively constant stream of vacations since taking office. If this one wasn’t “ill-timed,” next week’s would be.

Obama’s thought process probably revolves around how all these “ill-timed” crises are interrupting his leisure time.

Honestly, I prefer him resting.

I believe Obama has already set all-time records for number of vacations in office, days spent on vacation, and rounds of golf played in office.

I don’t know about White House parties without a state visit, but I suspect he’s got that record, too.

Which is another reason why making it super-easy to register and vote without giving any thought to what you are doing was a terrible idea.

Democrats don’t even know the Earth revolves around the Sun. They think both revolve around Obama.

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