After receiving a scolding from the press two weeks ago when President Barack Obama refused to cancel a series of appearances at partisan fundraisers amid a domestic crisis, the president is set this week to repeat that performance amid a foreign crisis.
“Sticking to His Travel Plans, at Risk of Looking Bad,” the New York Times’ headline advised – er — reported on Monday.
The Times report added that, as Israel began a ground invasion of Gaza and just hours after pro-Russian rebels killed nearly 300 civilians in the skies over Ukraine, the notion that Obama should reconsider his fundraising schedule did not even come up on Thursday.
“It’s rarely a good idea to return to the White House just for show when the situation can be handled responsibly from the road,” White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said.
Wait… Wasn’t the White House insisting two weeks ago that going to the border would be “just for show?” What a nimble policy this White House has crafted.
“Abrupt changes to his schedule can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people or creating a false sense of crisis,” Palmieri continued.
So, Obama will head off to a three-day fundraising swing down the West Coast from Seattle to California all in the name of keeping the public calm. Such altruism. It makes you wonder when, if ever, this administration thinks it might be appropriate to create a genuine sense of crisis.
The hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe were not impressed with Obama’s selfless refusal to do anything to address the current state of affairs. A round of laughter broke out after host Mika Brzezinski read Palmieri’s excuse for Obama’s decision to focus more on his responsibilities as head of his party rather than those associated with being head of state.
Times reporter Peter Baker said that the White House has “limited options” for dealing with the crises in Israel and Europe, so there is no need for a major schedule change. He added, however, that the administration has decided to scale back the optically jarring photo opportunities in which the president has participated in recent weeks which have ranged from getting a sandwich at a local lunch counter to playing pool with a fellow Democratic officeholder.
“They’re trying to find a balance between allowing the world to dictate his schedule and not looking out of touch with the rest of the country,” Baker said.
Even a gross violation of human rights and the deaths of hundreds of citizens of NATO allied nations directly resulting from a non-member state’s aggression cannot rouse Obama from his post-presidential daydream. We are rudderless.