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  • Commander In Embarrassment

    Posted by Dan from Madison on May 18th, 2013 (All posts by )

    This photo has been making the rounds lately; the leader of the free world in (yet another) awkward moment.

    I first saw this when watching the news with my wife, and I blurted out – “did they really need to have the Marine hold that umbrella? How insulting to the Corps. It doesn’t look like it is even raining very hard.” My wife laughed and said (wisely) “why on earth would you expect anything different from Captain Zero?”.

    And what in blazes is the President doing touching that Marine? If he wants the umbrella adjusted, couldn’t he just ask him to raise it a bit higher?

    I also noted to my wife at the time that it is likely against uniform code for the Marine to hold the umbrella, and that was proven to be correct (no males in any US armed services are allowed to hold an umbrella while in uniform). However, I am sure that following orders (especially from the CIC) outweigh that detail, and the Marine did what he was told. As always.

    But, you know, sigh.

    This last five years have been absolutely brutal for Obama and his handlers in all sorts of public situations, over and over and over. The President’s handlers either are just a bunch of idiots, or Obama is simply not listening to them. They have no understanding of what the cameras will capture, how things will look ahead of time, or what protocol even is. Someone in that office should have seen the forecast and mentioned to the President that if it rains, would he perhaps like a STAFFER to hold an umbrella for him, or does he simply want to be tough and soak up a raindrop or two, or (insert many non embarrassing options here).

    But no. Again, we get another breakdown and millions of people get to point and laugh or shake their heads in disgust at the President and his staff for being insensitive, and just downright lazy and dumb.

    It makes me worry that the whole damned administration is run like this. Amateur hour at the White House, as a friend of mine recently said.

     

    39 Responses to “Commander In Embarrassment”

    1. snopercod Says:

      The red Muslim crescent in the background adds to the symbolism, too.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      There was a comparable incident in which the Clintons used military aides as waiters.

      Obama is competent at two things only: getting elected and amassing power. Unfortunately, that is enough.

    3. PenGun Says:

      He is just being funny. Come on folks it’s a joke.

      I think you may have your heads a little too far …

    4. Jonathan Says:

      Could be a joke. If so it’s disrespectful to the Marine who is being used as a prop.

      Joke or not, Obama’s behavior in the picture reflects poorly on him.

    5. pst314 Says:

      “There was a comparable incident in which the Clintons used military aides as waiters.”

      And luggage-carriers. They even pulled that sort of stuff on the officer detailed to carry the nuclear football.

      One difference, though: The Clintons and Gores made no effort to hide their hatred and contempt for military personnel. Obama does pretend to have some respect for them (although his actions show that it’s all pretense.)

      But come to think of it, wasn’t it Hillary who demanded that White House staff not say ‘good morning’–speak only when spoken to?

    6. Lexington Green Says:

      People on the political Left don’t consort with military people, don’t have friends or relatives in the military and generally have a poor idea of what the typical American thinks about the military, or the respect to be accorded to people in uniform.

      Someone once said that the Marine Corps is to blue collar America what the Ivy League is to white collar America. That is roughly captures it. The president, for his own good, should have a better concept of the protocol with the military, how he looks, how he carries himself, how he treats those in uniform. He is the commander in chief, and he should act like he knows it. They owe him unflinching obedience, and it is his job to order his uniformed subordinates to kill and to die or come home maimed for life. Acting with the appropriate gravity is the least we can ask for and we aren’t getting it. And as Dan points out, this should be a routine thing, yet no one in his entourage seems to know what to do or who to ask.

    7. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I know there is an aphorism that says “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

      In this case, I think malice is more likely, or at least the desire to push everyone else’s face in the muck. The White House has an office of protocol, usually staffed by Amy Vanderbilt types. In this case the office is run by a Hillary staffer.

      After receiving her Juris Doctorate, Marshall worked for the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, 1992 as Special Assistant to Hillary Rodham Clinton.[1] In 1993, she served on the East Wing staff of then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as Special Assistant to the First Lady.[1] In October 1997, at the age of 32, Marshall was appointed Deputy Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary.[1][5] After President Clinton’s term ended in January 2001, Marshall continued working with the former President as a Senior Advisor, helping to advance his work in policy, politics, and community initiatives.[1] In 2001, she began working as a consultant to a number of nonprofit and private sector organizations. In 2006, Marshall joined the re-election efforts for Senator Hillary Clinton, and subsequently joined the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, 2008.

      Could she be sabotaging Obama ? Nobody could be that stupid. It’s an odd situation.

      A Clinton staffer refused to be introduced to General Barry McCaffrey.

      General McCaffrey, special assistant to Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was visiting the White House on business shortly after Mr. Clinton was inaugurated when he said good day to a woman he presumed to be a Clinton aide. He said she responded: “I don’t speak to people in uniform.”

      Word that one of the nation’s military heroes had been slighted swept through the media and the military establishment like a brush fire.

      The story had such resonance because it confirmed the worst fears of military families: that the president, who avoided military service, and his administration were actively hostile to the military.

      When asked about such stories, Mr. Clinton has bristled visibly. And last Thursday in Annapolis, Mr. Clinton termed the story involving General McCaffrey an “abject lie,” that was “made up out of whole cloth.”

      This was not true, as the White House press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, had already confirmed.

      A chip off the old blockhead.

    8. T.K. Tortch Says:

      It’s casual contempt for the offices of power – or power’s badges, signs and customs – that causes the behavior you describe. This administration takes its power for granted as deserved, not as something held in trust, certainly not solemn trust. It’s a warning flag for a lack of restraint. They don’t clearly sense where there are boundary lines.

      I think the umbrella episode’s a sign of this failing, though I also think Pengun’s correct about the humor. The problem is it never crossed either the President or his staff’s mind that it might be in any way improper to deploy his Marine that way.

      A couple or few years ago Obama was addressing a audience of Marines. On two or three occasions he referred to individual Marines – Corpsmen – as “Corpse-men”. The Marines in the audience didn’t bat an eye, though it must have grated.

      I can see, leashed to a teleprompter, how you might say that once. The prompter may have even broken it up into two words. But after the first time – didn’t he hear that it sounded wrong?* Was he so entirely unfamiliar with the subject of the Marine Corps that he never distinguished between the word as written and spoken? He must have read it and heard it spoken, surely.

      I do not believe he was indulging in a little grim irony at the expense of a captive audience who he happens to command as Chief (well, I hope not). I just think he didn’t have the slightest idea. Seeing how he does command them, and can send them to fight and die, you would hope that he knew how to call them by their name.

      *I don’t know nor care whether he wrote his books, but “corpse-man” alone can convince me that he’s not a serious reader, in depth or breadth. He’s got a tin ear. It [i]sounded[/i] wrong, outside the context of the Marine audience. It’s like when you’re a kid and you encounter an unfamiliar word, and even though you pronounce it as written, you know that can’t be the way it’s said. He ran right over that bump like it wasn’t there.

    9. tyouth Says:

      A poseur has to be bright and well-read to constantly act in ways that are not natural to his true character and nature. He’s just not that bright and so the f aux-pas are many. I’d suggest that the pressure of the acting job (fail) in unscripted situations makes him particularly cranky.

    10. Jezzy Says:

      Speaking with some authority on the subject of Marines, to wear that uniform is to hold yourself to a higher standard, even when your Commander in chief cannot do the same.

    11. Joe Wooten Says:

      “Amateur hour at the White House, as a friend of mine recently said.”

      Amateur, incompetent and corrupt, the absolute worst conjunction typical of Chicago politics now on our national stage for 5 years and for another 3 years. It will take us years to recover from the last 8, if we can.

    12. Michael Kennedy Says:

      “A couple or few years ago Obama was addressing a audience of Marines. On two or three occasions he referred to individual Marines – Corpsmen – as “Corpse-men”. The Marines in the audience didn’t bat an eye, though it must have grated.”

      Not to pick nits but Corpsmen with Marines are Navy. Marines are riflemen. All medics, corpsmen and doctors, are Navy.

      Craig Venter, one of the .most brilliant guys in biology, was a Navy corpsman in Vietnam. He decided to go to medical school after seeing all the Marine casualties and went to college when he came back. Eventually, he was convinced to stay in molecular biology by a UCSD professor who liked him. He is now a billionaire. Nice guy, too.

    13. Cris Says:

      They are all just ignorant. They’ve never learned anything they weren’t told to know.

    14. Dan from Madison Says:

      TK Torch mentioned that the zero likely did not have the slightest idea that he was acting the fool, and/or how he was insulting the Marine. I suppose this could be true. What I cannot figure out is if his staff just does not give a damn, or if he just blows them all off and thinks he looks great all the time, and that screwing around with Marines and/or the military is funny/OK. Either way, it is ridiculous.

    15. VXXC Says:

      OTOH another freebie for the good guys.

    16. James the lesser Says:

      A different take from Donald Sensing. He’s far from being an Obama fan (as the rest of his site clearly illustrates), but explains that this was the right thing to do.

    17. Bill Brandt Says:

      I was going to say that at least in the US military and many others, officers do not carry umbrellas.

    18. Dan from Madison Says:

      James the Lesser – what Donald Sensing fails to grasp is the fact that in this situation, the camera angles and Obama’s ad libbing of ordering around Marines makes him look foolish. It is clear that he and his staffers were not prepared for this light shower, and that they had no clue how to react to it in a dignified manner. As usual. These events should be absolute slam dunks for the President 100 percent of the time, yet we see repeated failures and gaffes.

      The comparison to a service member holding an umbrella for Mrs. Reagan ather husband’s funeral is ridiculous and tells me that Sensing either did not know where that photo was taken, or is just dumb.

      I don’t want to call this umbrellagate, but do want to show it as yet another in a long string of public appearance gaffes by the President. The low quality of work likely translates into low quality work that is accepted elsewhere in the administration.

      A bit off topic, I actually had an email conversation with the guy who is seen in that photo with Mrs. Reagan who is leading her by the arm. He did a fantastic job at the ceremonies all that week.

    19. grey eagle Says:

      President Obama, Atty Gen Holder, Head of the IRS Miller, and every Dem are using the Nuremberg defense. When the NAZIs were accused of war crimes at Nuremberg every Nazi testified that he knew nothing, saw nothing, ordered nothing, and that Jews were killed by low level subordinates acting against orders. In the 50s, every German had a bad memory.

      Here is a short clip fearuring Sgt Shultz from Hogan’s Heroes giving the Holder defense.

      href: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34ag4nkSh7Q

    20. Jonathan Says:

      Dunno. Sensing makes a reasonable case that having the Marines hold umbrellas was the best thing to do in the circumstances. OTOH, Obama’s demeanor and the photo above convey what T.K. Tortch called “casual contempt for the offices of power – or power’s badges, signs and customs”.

    21. T.K. Tortch Says:

      Not to pick nits but Corpsmen with Marines are Navy. Marines are riflemen. All medics, corpsmen and doctors, are Navy.

      D’oh!! I even knew better than that. Before I was born my father was a Navy doctor assigned to the 3rd Marine air wing when it was based at El Toro.

    22. Michael Kennedy Says:

      “D’oh!! I even knew better than that. Before I was born my father was a Navy doctor ”

      I don’t doubt it but not everyone is as well informed as you are. I doubt Obama knows it.

      Navy medical units were sometimes assigned to work with Army units. A guy I know was a Navy doctor in Korea. They were assigned to the 1st Cavalry. One morning, they woke up, or at least the sun came up, and revealed that the army had pulled out during the night. There was no one between them and the Chinese army. The Army hadn’t bothered to let them know. After that, and other similar events, there was a song. “The pitter patter of little feet. It’s the old first cav in full retreat.”

    23. Bill Brandt Says:

      I don’t think the Marines have their own medical unit – they are always Navy. And when a Navy Corpsman gets orders to go with a Marine unit they say they are “going green”.

      The Marines love their Navy Corpsmen.

    24. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I have long suspected that Obama and the Mrs. do not pay the least little bit of mind to the White House protocol office; if they did, some of the horrible gaffes (like the inappropriate gifts to the British PM early on. But then again, maybe that particular gaffe was deliberate.

      Following a suggestion in the comment thread of another blog (and I can’t remember which one), there might be another explaination: deliberate sabotage. The current chief of protocol appears to be a long-time Hilary Clinton associate and staffer. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/128208.htm

      Hmmm … what if Ms Marshall is the grudge-holding type?

    25. T.K. Tortch Says:

      And when a Navy Corpsman gets orders to go with a Marine unit they say they are “going green”.

      Heh!! Other than his summer and winter Navy uniforms, the only remnants of military garb Dad retained were Marine-wear – tough, green cotton shirts with green plastic buttons. He used them for years when he did yard work and the like.

    26. Bill Brandt Says:

      T.K. – a wonderful book on a Navy Corpsman was “Flags of Our Fathers” – one of the “flag raisers” at Iwo Jima was a Navy Corpsman, and the book is written by his son.

    27. Bill Brandt Says:

      Sgt – speaking of horrible gaffes, can you imagine giving Queen Elizabeth an ipod filled with your speeches?

      I am sure had the Queen not had protocol and good manners in her DNA the Zero would have heard some good British dry humor.

    28. Gerry from Valpo Says:

      I’d keep playing…I don’t think the heavy stuff is gonna come down for quite a while.

      http://youtu.be/r95a3p8Os-w

    29. Jezzy Says:

      we love our Corpsman because do you really want one of us to be operating on you…that would be like using a baseball bat for neurosurgery, messy and not the least bit effective. Marines are trained in the basic first aid, CPR, combat first aid(which in my experience involved duct tape and tampons…its a long story and I don’t drink anymore).

    30. Smock Puppet, "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

      }}} It makes me worry that the whole damned administration is run like this. Amateur hour at the White House, as a friend of mine recently said.

      “Wonder”? I stopped wondering about that the first time he bowed to multiple heads of state… or when he gave the UK PM a DVD collection (that was NTSC and wasn’t PAL, making it unusable in the UK) “in return” for a unique desk set carved from a sister ship to the desk Queen Victoria gave (?)Benjamin Harrison(?) and still in the WH.

      This, combined with the various scandals over abuse of administrative power to intimidate political opposition shows how the current administration puts the “UG!” in “Thugocracy”.

    31. Smock Puppet, "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

      }}} Obama is competent at two things only: getting elected and amassing power.

      No, signs are that he’s spectacularly good at abusing power, too…

      That and throwing people under the bus.

      Methinks one can find many more similar things than those four which he’s Real Good At.

    32. Smock Puppet, "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

      }}} Could she be sabotaging Obama ? Nobody could be that stupid. It’s an odd situation.

      I’m sure the protocol people know exactly what they are doing. It’s the O’s who are ignoring them and setting their own idiot homers on the tasks. Why pay attention to some stupid white chick when you can set one of the bros to the task?

    33. Smock Puppet, "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

      }}} to wear that uniform is to hold yourself to a higher standard, even when your Commander in chief cannot do the same.

      Jezzy, I’m sure he holds Marines to a higher standard.

      Much, much higher than the meager standard he holds himself to…

      (yes, I know what you meant)

      ;oD

    34. Bill Brandt Says:

      Jezzy – to this day – 40 years – well, 41, I can remember my instructions on first aid for a sucking chest wound – take the cellophane from a pack of cigarettes and apply – but I don’t smoke ;-)

      To me Army Medics and Marine (Navy) Corpsmen are unsung heroes – going into danger when the others are taking cover – all to save someone.

      In WW2 they learned to take the red cross off their helmets because the Japanese would deliberately seek them out and shoot them.

    35. Jezzy Says:

      Bill you too….I still occasionally have lapses and will talk about my life in the military and various misadventures with my normal friends and I realize I’ve talked about a something that makes them go kinda green in the face.

    36. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Why don’t military personnel use umbrellas? Might be worthwhile for Champobama to find out.

    37. Anonymous Says:

      Mrs Davis – my father, a retired Army major – made that observation – I don’t know if that is a hard & fast rule these days but I have never seen an officer carry an umbrella – if they are in the rain you will an overcoat and a plastic protector on their cap (cover, Jezzy ;-) )

    38. Smock Puppet, "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

      }}} Why don’t military personnel use umbrellas? Might be worthwhile for Champobama to find out.

      Simple: Don’t need ’em. No Wicked Witch of the West blood allowed….

    39. ZilWerks Says:

      Not true on UCMJ on umbrellas, unless that changed it in the last decade or so. It is best summed up by a cartoon my USAF desk had. It depicted the outside of the Pentagon in pouring rain. Three generals and one Admiral were in a line. The Admiral and Air Force General were looking at each other, grinning as they were dry under their umbrellas. The Army General and Marine General glared at each other drenched in the DC downpour. The caption:

      “The Army will not authorize the carry and use of umbrellas by male personnel until the Marines do first.”

      ZilWerks

      “Helped win the Cold War, and you elected Obama. Sigh”