On another site the other day, I posted my concern about how horrible it looked for President Obama to give the press conference on James Foley and then immediately go out golfing and be photographed laughing and having what appeared to be a great, carefree day. My concerns were not shared, to say the least. But the NY Times appears to have caught up with what I had noticed in many papers, including the NY Daily News, which is friendly to Obama:
But as soon as the cameras went off, Mr. Obama headed to his favorite golf course on Martha’s Vineyard, where he is on vacation, seemingly able to put the savagery out of his mind. He spent the rest of the afternoon on the links even as a firestorm of criticism erupted over what many saw as a callous indifference to the slaughter he had just condemned. – NY Times
I am not criticizing President Obama for taking a much-needed vacation or playing golf, which he obviously loves. I am actually not criticizing him at all. What I am surprised at is his inability to understand, or worry about, the optics of his press conference juxtaposed with his immediate golf game. And other Democrats are worried and uncomfortable, also:
But the criticism went beyond the usual political opponents. Privately, many Democrats shook their heads at what they considered a judgment error. Ezra Klein, editor in chief of the online news site Vox, who is normally sympathetic to Mr. Obama, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that “golfing today is in bad taste.” …
“As a general rule, I think that he’s right that you can’t be held hostage to the news cycle — the man deserves a bit of downtime,” said Jim Manley, a longtime Democratic strategist. “But in this particular instance, I think a lot of Democrats flinched a little bit.”
Great Britain’s PM David Cameron didn’t help matters when he cancelled his vacation because of the British accent of the killer. His action made him appear concerned and back to work, determining who did this terrible thing.
I think that as a rule, Democrats are more sensitive to this type of issue, and don’t make as many PR mistakes as Republicans. I also think Obama’s PR team has been pretty good at their jobs. But that the President ignored the firestorm and hit the golf course again Thursday signals to me that he just doesn’t care much what anyone thinks at this point, which worries me about the rest of his presidency. Perhaps I am reading too much into this; I hope that I am.