The Bo Deplaning Background: A Picture Not Quite Worth 1000 Words

I reluctantly replaced the background photo of Justin Carter (who is still, by the way, awaiting trial for the crime of making a sarcastic comment on Facebook that post-Sandy Hook hysterics decided to treat as a terrorist threat) and put up the iconic photo of Bo, the Presidential dog, being solemnly escorted out of an Osprey to join the First Family in another spectacularly ill-timed vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, together with a photo of the National Debt clock. I hoped the background picture would save me the proverbial thousand words, because I think it speaks eloquently to several issues. But I have already received some squeals of protest, so I’m going to have to use up some of those words after all.

I generally have no problem with any President taking vacations, since the job is impossible and it travels with him, no matter how much he might wish otherwise. I have a problem with Presidents spending excessive amounts of the nation’s time in partisan fundraising, but that’s another issue. As one of the President’s supervisors, I have serious concerns about this President taking so many vacations, because, frankly, I don’t know what he does all day. He appears to have no foreign policy, other than making speeches, waffling, and dithering. He says he is making the economy his full time priority, but I see little indication of that. We know he doesn’t dirty his hands with engaging in politics and forging compromises with the opposition, and based on his statements and stunned surprise when incompetence or misconduct appears, he seems not to know what is going on in his own departments. We know he doesn’t trouble himself with oversight or management—even #1 fan Chris Matthews admits that.

Obama said on The Tonight Show (he has time to appear on The Tonight Show) that the U.S. has no domestic spying program. Today we learn that the NSA has habitually violated privacy restrictions on its spying, meaning that we don’t have a domestic spying program, just a spying program that repeatedly engages in domestic spying. Call me a stickler, but I think a few of those down days on vacation should have been spent instead actually learning what was the real situation before he told the nation things that weren’t true. Or was he lying? If you prefer that explanation, fine. That is another ethical issue.

Obama’s vacations, unlike most of those of his predecessor (since any accusation of less-than-deal conduct by this President immediately triggers the response beginning, “But Bush…,”) have not been enjoyed on a home ranch but in a succession of resorts and luxury spots. Also unlike his successor, they have occurred during a drawn-out recession that has robbed a large number of Americans—including me, by the way—of the time, security and resources to take our own, more modest, vacations, within our budgets, naturally. They have occurred in defiance of a national debt that is relentlessly growing to an unsustainable size far faster than it was growing during the Bush years. And they have occurred, and I really can’t understand this—Is it a blind spot? Is it defiance? Is it playing to Obama’s uber-loyal base, pleasing them because he’s “living large”?-–in a particularly offensive “in your face” manner, as if the President knows that such opulence seems insensitive and hypocritical when he has called on middle class families to  give up “that trip to Vegas” and engaged in class warfare, condemning the selfishness of the rich, and he  just doesn’t care. I really have no idea why he has done this, and continues to do it. It looks terrible.

I don’t like playing the “if he  were a Republican” card, but there is no place better to play it: the media, Democrats and the Left would be frothing at the mouth if a GOP President and his family took such vacations while the rest of the country was suffering. “He doesn’t care about the average American!” would be the refrain. So because Obama says he cares, his conduct and—the results of his policies—don’t matter? Apparently.

The disconnect periodically rubs one of his supporting media and pundit brigade the wrong way. Here’s reliably liberal Washington Post editor Jackson Diehl on Obama’s response to the Egypt crisis:

“…this president’s extraordinary passivity in the face of crisis may have achieved its apotheosis this week. On Wednesday, as Egyptian security forces gunned down hundreds of civilians in the streets of Cairo, an unperturbed Obama shot another round of golf at Martha’s Vineyard. His deputy press secretary was left to explain to reporters that the administration remained firmly committed to not deciding whether what had happened in Egypt was a coup.”

In this context, I find the photo of Bo deplaning from what was designed as an elite combat vehicle disturbing, offensive, and symbolic. Some conservative publications wrote that the Osprey was chartered just to bring Bo to join his masters, meaning that the doggie trip cost the taxpayers many thousands of dollars-—I find that too ridiculous and wasteful to believe.  Still, the photograph  is redolent of similar photographs in the past of shieks and dictators making underlings toady to their pets. Some feel that reducing military personnel to canine escorts while using a billion-dollar tool of combat as a pet carrier was a calculated insult to the armed services. I think that’s unlikely too, but there is no arguing the fact that it looks terrible. It looks terrible. A large aspect of effective leadership is symbolic, and the symbolism of Bo’s arrival says arrogant, imperial, incompetent presidential leadership to me….in part because I think that is what we have.

Okay, it turns out that the picture was only worth 44 words.

________________________

Sources: Washington Post, ABC, Washington Times, Townhall

26 thoughts on “The Bo Deplaning Background: A Picture Not Quite Worth 1000 Words

  1. (shaking head listlessly and muttering, “Why? Why? Why?” over and over)

    I just don’t know if I can take much more disillusionment.

    (searching desperately for bottle of Lexapro…)

  2. For 5 years I’ve been livid at his abuses of presidential privilege and power, now It’s just another in a list of thousands. To put it bluntly he simply cannot help himself. He has no desire to be president, only to look like a president and get the goodies. His presidency is the current nadir in American shame. I have no idea how much lower it can go, but, I’ll bet we’ll find out in the next 3 years and beyond.
    I weep for my grandchildren.

    • I, too, weep. I have believed for most of my life that I’m incredibly lucky to have been born in the greatest country in the world. Even as late as 10 years ago I would bristle when told that our best days were behind us. Today, I follow what’s going on with sadness verging on depression. What have we allowed

  3. Bo’s a beautiful dog and there’s no doubt in my mind this wonderful specimen of a Portuguese Water Dog was selected because of his unique blackness and the little token white feet he walks on daily. (Its unusual for a purebred to have the white feet and bib). I’m sure some will say that’s a racist comment but it’s the way I feel and probably one of the key reasons the dog was selected. But I responded exactly the same way you did when I saw him marching down the stairs (the photo I saw had him superimposed on a “red carpet” marching down the stairs) with our precious best-of-the best, highly trained military standing at the bottom waiting for his regal departure. I wondered at the time if maybe they were thinking they wished they joined the Coast Guard.

    A friend stopped by to visit this morning and, as usual, conversation turned to politics and the lack of leadership and incompetence in our government ~ all of our government. Where’s the check and balance? There is none. Even Krauthammer acknowledged in his column today that Obama is making up the rules, and even changing them, as he goes along. My question: Everyone I talk to feels the same way, so why isn’t anyone doing anything about it? It’s exhausting.

    I love your writing. I recently wrotethat the reason I post articles in support of conservatism and against this president’s blatant liberal socialist agenda, isn’t to try and change other people’s minds, it’s to let people know there are others out there who feel the same way they do. And that’s why I’m thankful for your website. Political correctness be damned.

  4. Some conservative publications wrote that the Osprey was chartered just to bring Bo to join his masters, meaning that the doggie trip cost the taxpayers many thousands of dollars-—I find that too ridiculous and wasteful to believe.

    Really? You put such a massive waste and flaunting of his power as a thing that is beyond him?

    Really?

    I think we need to work on your cynicism, sir – I fear that it has somehow atrophied…

  5. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/bo.asp

    The rumor that a plane was chartered to bring Bo to the Obamas is rated as false, and apparently from a long tradition of such rumors about various presidents.

    Obama’s vacations, unlike most of those of his predecessor (since any accusation of less-than-deal conduct by this President immediately triggers the response beginning, “But Bush…,”) have not been enjoyed on a home ranch but in a succession of resorts and luxury spots.

    So now we are offended by the idea that the Obamas don’t come from family wealth sufficient enough to buy out of the way enormous estates, and therefore must rent? Given security concerns, they can’t go to some small quaint cottage somewhere after all.

    • Lame. Do you see a single reference to the 2013 vacation in that link? I don’t. And the question does not address the issue at hand….and cannot.

      Does it look terrible? Yes, it looks terrible, and that’s not a “myth.”

      • Yes, they do talk about 2013 in the link. In the end, it’s hard to be moved by the fact that Bo is hitching a ride along with all the rest of the extra staff that come along on such vacations.

        But I don’t see a reason why the Obamas should forgo vacations merely because they don’t have family money, and haven’t bought some huge estate. It seems excessively envious to want them to “hang out” merely because not everyone else can go on vacation. Like “I’m miserable, so the should be miserable too.” People work better when they have had a chance to get away and come back refreshed. Letting him steep in the Beltway bubble doesn’t do anyone any favors.

        • “I don’t see why the Obamas should forgo (sic) vacations …….”

          Well then you, my dear, should be happy as a clam, because one thing the Obamas definitely don’t do, is forgo vacations. And I’m really confused as to what he has to get away from. He hasn’t done anything.

          • one thing the Obamas definitely don’t do, is forgo vacations. And I’m really confused as to what he has to get away from. He hasn’t done anything.
            ***************
            You got that right!!!

        • In the end, it’s hard to be moved by the fact that Bo is hitching a ride along with all the rest of the extra staff that come along on such vacations.

          If you can’t fit your fucking staff on what is essentially a 747, then your staff is too fucking big. Let the Reporters get their own fucking flight to whatever “Costs-more-than-I-will-ever-make-in-a-year” destination you have selected for this month’s vacation, and maybe tell the gaggle of friends to find their own way there too, or spring for their ticket commercial.

          AirForce 1 should be able to handle every member of staff you need to run a country with MOUNTIANS of room left for a fucking dog.

          People work better when they have had a chance to get away and come back refreshed. Letting him steep in the Beltway bubble doesn’t do anyone any favors.

          And FYI, “the bubble” is the group that works around the President, not Washington itself. You are aware of that, right? How the fuck can he get outside “the bubble” when he apparently takes half of the fucking metro population with him?

          • “If you can’t fit your fucking staff on what is essentially a 747, then your staff is too fucking big.”

            Or, in this case, then your airport is too fucking small.

            I am no fan of this president and find his extravagances every bit as galling as you do, ABMS. The airfields closest to Martha’s Vineyard (longest runway: 5500′) large enough for the 747s generally designated as Air Force One are the Otis Air National Guard base (marginally capable of handling a plane that large), Boston’s Logan Airport, the old Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, NH, and Kennedy Airport in New York City.

            You might be able to land a 747 200B on Martha’s Vineyard in a pinch. You’d have a helluva time getting it into the air again.

                • Why, yes, I believe Ike used to go there when he needed a break, or perhaps his farm in Gettysburg, which could be driven to from DC. And, you know, he wasn’t even as rich as Obama, who only has a few million bucks.

                    • Why are you fighting the obvious?

                      The net worth listed for Ike and most of the Presidents (that’s a great link, by the way) is based on post-Presidential wealth—most ex-POTUS’s pick up a lot of money with books and speaking engagements after leaving office. If there is a definitive source showing Ike’s wealth when he was President, I can’t find it. He had been in the military and President of Columbia before such salaries were rich ones. He had one well-selling book about the war, but it didn’t make him millions, and he had no family wealth. He wasn’t making much while he was President. Mamie came from a wealthy family, so it is possible that she was responsible for the bulk of Ike’s wealth…I very much doubt that Ike himself accumulated 8 million dollars during his Presidency. Since the WSJ piece doesn’t at what point in life its estimates represent and on what (Current value of the farm? Present day equivalent value?) and on what basis, I can only call the data interesting but not particularly helpful.

                      According to the history of the Eisenhower farm, he bought it in run-down condition from a friend in 1950 for $40,000–it was not worth any 2 million dollars during his lifetime.

                      The Obamas could certainly afford a vacation home near to Washington, if they wanted to eschew ridiculous hotel rental costs. Whether or not this would be more or less of a burden on them than than it was on the Eisenhowers, I can’t determine. But thanks for that link.

                    • You’re a moron. Eisenhower’s farm was bought for peanuts when he was president of Columbia University in 1950.. How much has your home — or anyone else’s — increased in value the intervening 60 years?

                      I don’t care about Obama’s net worth: he’s never DONE anything, so how in the world could he amass any money? He lives off of others, and off of us.

                      Just be grateful that Ike was Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. Obama — never in the military anyway — would have us all speaking German today.

                      THINK! THINK!

        • “In September 2011, the original rumor regarding Bo and the Obamas’ vacation in Maine was recirculated with ‘Maine’ changed to ‘Massachusetts’ to reflect the President’s August 2011 vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, and similar claims were trotted out again during the First Family’s vacation at Martha’s Vineyard in August 2013. Although it is true (depending upon logistics and the type of air transport available) that Bo sometimes travels to family vacations on flights carrying other personnel and supplies rather than in the same aircraft with his owners (as he did in July 2010 and again in August 2013), he does not travel on flights arranged specifically to carry him and nothing else — he flies on aircraft that have already been scheduled to transport other people and baggage to the presidential vacation site.”

          All Snopes did—and I no longer regard Snopes as trustworthy on political matters (after all, they quote Jay Carney as a reliable source)…it is partisan, and this is a good example—is add “August, 2013” to the older article. There is no reference, for example, to the Ospreys, which is one detail that raised eyebrows this time. “he does not travel on flights arranged specifically to carry him and nothing else — he flies on aircraft that have already been scheduled to transport other people and baggage to the presidential vacation site” was written before 2013—yes, I checked Snopes on this earlier. What was their authority that this was true in 2013, with the Ospreys? They don’t state any, and I don’t think they have any, because none has been published. They just want to believe it.

          As I said, I do believe it, but it still looks terrible. And there is no way to know if two Ospreys were really needed, or what it costs to bring Bo. Of course the White House would say that he just hitched a ride and it cost nothing. Nonetheless, with the nation bleeding money, with the White House bellyaching about the sequester (which Obama proposed, showing the dog coming down the gangplank with two officers at either side looks like money being wasted, and a responsible leader doesn’t let himself look like an imperial hypocrite.

          • You criticize Obama for leaving Washington while there is a massive recession, yet you excuse Bush for frequently leaving on vacation, despite there being multiple wars he instigated. But since Obama doesn’t own a luxury vacation home or private ranch, he should have to stay in the D.C. area with the “poor slobs.” When a commenter points out that your comments about Eisenhower’s wealth relative to Obama’s is incorrect, you bend over backwards to rationalize your statement in an attempt to show that Obama is big and rich and is wasting taxpayer money the way previous, good Republican presidents never would have dreamed of. Your commentary is not an ethical assessment; it is a partisan hack job (as is the case in basically all of your posts), one in which you are never wrong about anything. No wonder Eric Turkewitz, Mark Bennett, Scott Greenfield and others who use logic rather than emotion as a basis for forming opinions consider you a disgrace, especially after they made you eat crow in your post about April Fool’s Jokes.

            • 1. Read the Comment policies. That silly, evasive argument ( “You can’t criticize X because Y did it too!”) doesn’t fly here, and really, makes the employer of it look desperate and biased.
              2. I haven’t “excused” President Bush for anything. He’s not the President.
              3. Your characterizations of my arguments are distorted and simplistic, indicating that you’re intentionally misrepresenting the discussion or can’t read (there is no evidence that Ike was any richer than Obama at this point in his Presidency)
              4. People like you, who only see all matters as partisan battles and are thus incapable of objective analysis, can’t comprehend such things, but this isn’t a partisan blog, my objective has nothing to do with politics or scoring points against Democrats, and nothing in the post constitutes ” an attempt to show that Obama is big and rich and is wasting taxpayer money the way previous, good Republican presidents never would have dreamed of.”
              5. Nobody made me eat crow. I was unfair and excessive in the object of my criticism in a post more than three years ago. I admitted it and apologized to Eric, party involved, which was the ethical thing to do. He was understanding and gracious, the other two criminal defense lawyers you mention, for their own reasons, were not.
              6. For the record, I still believe lawyers should not publish intentionally misleading or false material on websites, even on April Fool’s Day, unless it is reasonably obvious that it is a joke.
              7. It wasn’t the only mistake I’ve made in almost 4000 posts and 10,000 comments, but my record is very, very good. You flag yourself as a hack by using one unrelated error discredit a post and my analysis of a completely different issue. Effective tactic in politics when dealing with the low0information voter, but pretty pathetic and completely ineffective with anyone who can reason.
              8. I work hard to keep the commentary objective. Commentators of all political orientations have commented on this President’s weaknesses as a leader and poor judgment in his timing and choices of vacations, because it’s true. Using deflections, false comparisons and personal attacks to try to deny the truth and avoid the assignment of accountability is unethical…
              9….and in a case like yours, the mark of a complete ass.
              10. Next time, address the substance of the points in a post with a fair rebuttal, or the comment gets junked.

  6. I think the problem with the photo of Justin Carter was that it looked a little bit too much like a combo of Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley.
    You know, after they got pasty and bloated from sitting in jail for a while.

  7. Does Obama see himself as King? Vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. He took Air Force One to the island, Michelle and the “girls” came separately (Air Force Two?), and the DOG was transported separately in a defensive military plane so they could vacation together. I don’t know how much this cost, but I do know the ‘fact-finding” trip to Africa (all but the dog in tow) cost more than $10 million, and that, not including personnel, it costs $30,000 just in jet fuel to run Air Force One for ONE HOUR. Where in the Constitution does it say that the President can spent millions and millions of Federal funds for his own vacations and pleasure? And as mentioned before, why did Ike build Camp David? So he could have a secure get-away at least cost.

    But no, Obama needs to “get away.” Yup. And we all know why. Play golf. Be waited on. Let others do your dirty work and pretend ignorance.

    The “vacations’ are new, I think, because Obama has no “home” to visit. Roosevelt went to Campbello and Warm Springs (his own), Truman went home to his farm in Missouri, Ike to his farm in Gettysburg, Kennedys to Hyannisport, Reagan to his ranch, etc. This does not mean that Obama is a “man of the people” and not “privileged” as were other presidents. It only means that he has NEVER laid down roots anywhere, always been campaigning for something, and so uses his limitless (apparently) financial power to go someplace else. Born in Hawaii, raised in Chicago — and he is still a “guest” there? Says something about the man, his network, his care for those who helped him, and his ego,

    It makes me sick. Obama, CIA, NSA, anyone listening? Probably not, but I hope so. We’re all going to hell for electing this man.

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