He did authorize military action before hitting the links, but then so did Bush and that didn’t spare him from lefty mockery for years afterward — and Bush quit the game in 2003 because he felt it sent “the wrong signal” when bombs were falling. But maybe that explains it. Maybe it’s okay for O to play because this is still “Bush’s war.” Or is it?
In a post over the weekend, Joel Gehrke covered President Obama’s astonishing claim that it was not his decision to pull American troops out of Iraq, notwithstanding that he was commander-in-chief when they were withdrawn. John McCormack (with an assist from Max Boot) had an excellent post rehearsing the relevant history, which boils down to a familiar pattern: President Bush’s fingerprints are on the decision, and on any matter in which there is some contributory Bush role, Obama blames Bush, no matter how minimal Bush’s contribution was, as if Obama were a mere spectator incapable of anything other than self-absorbed indignation…
But on the matter of Obama disclaiming responsibility for his own pull-out of American forces, it is worth recalling some more history. As a candidate in mid-2008, Obama pushed aggressively for a swift U.S. pullout and publicly undermined Bush – who was trying to keep troops there with no strict timetable for withdrawal – by colluding with the loathsome Maliki toward that end. With candidate Obama about to visit Iraq and already heavily favored to win the presidency, Maliki openly endorsed Obama’s call for a complete American pullout within 16 months of Obama’s taking office.
Maybe, at this point, having Obama seem disengaged isn’t an unalloyed bad for Democrats. Any voter who’s voting Republican this fall to protest his foreign policy isn’t going to switch now if he calls off vacation and heads back to Washington. And since Hillary’s already working to brand herself as more aggressive than he is, having him seem passive only sharpens the contrast. Democrats care a lot more at this point about polishing her image, not his. If him golfing four days after the big genocide announcement serves that end, hey.