Poll: Obama skips Arlington on Memorial Day

posted at 10:12 am on May 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Before we get to the actual story, let’s take a quick trivia quiz.  Who was the only President in the past 30 years to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day every year of his presidency?  It wasn’t Ronald Reagan, who spent one year in Normandy and at least one other at his ranch in California.  It wasn’t George W. Bush, either, although he was also at Normandy the one year he missed.  George H. W. Bush, a veteran himself, never attended ceremonies at Arlington, sending Dan Quayle in his stead.  In fact, it was Bill Clinton who made eight Memorial Day appearances at Arlington National Cemetery.

With that in mind, the Washington Post reports on Barack Obama’s travel plans this holiday weekend:

President Obama is skipping the traditional Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery, a move that has dismayed some veterans — and comes at a sensitive moment in the administration’s relationship with the military.

Instead of speaking at Arlington, as he did last year and as most presidents have done, Obama will appear at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery outside Chicago, the White House said. Vice President Biden will take his place at Arlington, the most prestigious military cemetery in the country and home to Section 60, a large burial ground for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and executive director of the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, expressed disappointment at the White House move. “Arlington is hallowed ground, and the center of our nation’s attention on Memorial Day,” Rieckhoff said. “Unfortunately, President Obama and his family will not be there with us.” …

But other veterans say they’re not disturbed by Obama’s decision. “We don’t really see the big deal, so long as he’s taking the time to honor our fallen war heroes throughout Memorial Day weekend,” said Ryan Gallucci, spokesman forAMVETS. ” . . . Arlington is certainly not the only place our fallen heroes are buried, so why not pay your respects to veterans around the country?”

We’ve received quite a bit of e-mail on this subject, and the Post notes that some conservative bloggers have blasted Obama for skipping the ceremonies at Arlington.  Some make the distinction that the nation is at war, and the President belongs at Arlington for symbolic purposes.  However, Obama will attend ceremonies at another national cemetery in Illinois, as noted above.  That makes it a little difficult to represent this as “disrespecting the troops,” an argument that comes close to Obama’s Memorial Day fumble in 2008 by confusing it with Veterans Day.

When it comes to symbolism, though, emotions run high, so let’s do a poll.  What should Obama do on Memorial Day?

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as long as “somebody” from the administration attends at Arlington, i don’t see an issue with this one… this falls in the “Non-story” category.

DaSaintFan on May 28, 2010 at 1:54 PM

In fact, it was Bill Clinton who made eight Memorial Day appearances at Arlington National Cemetery.

Considering his attempts to evade the draft, and then winding up being the commander-in-chief, it was the least he could do.

manwithblackhat on May 28, 2010 at 2:02 PM

McCain and Palin should go.

lonestar1 on May 28, 2010 at 2:10 PM

He should make a statement by sending Dick Blumenthal.

faraway on May 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Elena Kagan will be representing him.

lonestar1 on May 28, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Revrum’ Wrong probably isn’t too busy this weekend. Zero probably should send him to rant away against the nation, duty and sacrifice they both hate.

It is probably best that Zero not desecrate that hallowed ground with his shady impostorial presence.

viking01 on May 28, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Every time he opens his trap and spews moral-equivalency-globalista-new-world-order commie BS, he dishonors our fallen heros. If he would just plug his own damn hole for the weekend, I would consider that plenty from him.

But that’s just me.

OTOH, he does see dead people:

On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong. –Barack Obama May 2008

bitsy on May 28, 2010 at 2:54 PM

What should Obama do on Memorial Day?

E. Resign

kg598301 on May 28, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Better that he stay away! Especially better that Michelle stays away-she is consistently inappropriate and disrespectful by dress, expression, and mannerism at every solemn military event the Zeroes have attended.

Ay Uaxe on May 28, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Why should he be at Arlington. He doesn’t respect the sacrifice of our war dead.

MCGIRV on May 28, 2010 at 3:08 PM

There’s a more subliminal issue here than merely where the P spends his days, on Memorial Day or any other. And, it goes to his most obvious flaw, the flaw that is most likely to end his royal reign and a flaw which he is incapable of repairing — his lack of connection to the people of the nation he supposedly governs.

He is out of touch. Above it all might be attractive in a Tibetan monk or in a club on a Saturday night. It is not attractive in a chief executive.

So, back to the VACA. It’s not so much where he’s going for his vacation but, rather, the fact that he’s going on vacation at all.

Many people horde their “vacation days” at work, with the hope that they can afford to go to X to see Y (family, friends, a place they’ve always wanted to visit), or, in many cases — e.g., self-employed people, people with two or three jobs, people with family businesses — they aren’t able to take a vacation at all.

Meanwhile, this is the second vaca taken by the chief executive of our nation in a month.

The more the P and his wife treat the Presidency as a ticket to the good life, as what looks like a “pay-off” for winning the election rather than a real job, the more distanced they will become from the people of the nation, both those who voted for him/them and those who did not.

The Queen of England can cut a lot of ribbons and lunch wherever she likes and no one cares. We did not elect a King and Queen of The United States. Or, more to the point, we didn’t know we did.

IndieDogg on May 28, 2010 at 3:18 PM

This wouldn’t be an issue if Biden was a competent VP.

“Thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of you veterans, this place is truly coming alive!”

Mad Kimchi on May 28, 2010 at 3:22 PM

This Marine Corps mom feels relieved that the Tomb of the Unknowns will not be defiled by the America-hater’s presence.

As for Biden – he’s just barely acceptable.

I, for one, would feel honored to have the survivors of Navy Lt. John Finn – the last WWII Medal of Honor recipient, who passed yesterday – be given the wreath-laying honor at Arlington. Pretty much a certainty their hearts would be in the right place.

GGMac on May 28, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Let him eat his camo waffle!

[His absence makes the military ceremonies better since no one believes what he does or says, anyhow. ]

profitsbeard on May 28, 2010 at 8:04 PM

About what we have come to expect from this lousy wart.

MainelyRight on May 28, 2010 at 10:02 PM