The British press has mocked President Obama’s golf game immediately following his statement on the beheading of James Foley. The Daily Mail story includes a photo of Obama giving a fist bump for the ages. At this point, a killer rabbit would be a decided improvement.
But it’s not just the British press. The New York Daily News captured the reaction of sentient Americans with its “Bam’s golf war” cover. We’re in “more mush from the wimp” city.
Today Peter Baker and Julie Hirschfeld Davis give us the perspective of the New York Times crowd in “A terrorist horror, then golf: Incongruity fuels Obama critics.” Baker and Davis report that (despite appearances created by the incongruity of his joyous golf game) Obama was “unusually emotional” as a result of Foley’s beheading. The joyous photos of Obama’s golf outing — how to put it? — tend to belie the description of Obama’s state of mind as presented by Baker and Davis. Funny, he doesn’t look bluish.
Baker and Davis understand that some explanation is necessary. They assure us that, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, the emperor really is wearing his perfectly creased finery. They explain:
Presidents learn to wall off their feelings and compartmentalize their lives. They deal in death one moment and seek mental and physical relief the next. To make coldhearted decisions in the best interest of the country and manage the burdens of perhaps the most stressful job on the planet, current and former White House officials said, a president must guard against becoming consumed by the emotions of the situations they confront. And few presidents have been known more for cool, emotional detachment than Mr. Obama.
How do Baker and Davis purport to know what Obama was feeling? So far as one can determine from reading the story, they know because a White House public relations flack told them so:
“His concern for the Foleys and Jim was evident to all who saw and heard his statement,” said Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director.
In this case we can consult the ocular proof ourselves (video below). Do you see an “unusually emotional” Obama (a pretty low standard to begin with)? I see a guy who doesn’t give a rat’s ass. And in support of my reading, I offer the photos accompanying the Daily Mail story linked above.