The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza has a hot take on why President Obama is not breaking off his vacation, or even his golf game, to travel down to Louisiana this week. At least 11 people have died and 40,000 homes have been damaged in flooding that swept through the state, but Cillizza says Obama is keeping it real:
Obama just doesn’t like to fake it. If he doesn’t want to do something or thinks it’s stupid to do it — regardless of whether it actually is stupid — he won’t do it….
That’s why Obama won’t break off his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard — or stop playing golf on said vacation — to travel to Louisiana. Because he believes he can monitor the situation as well — or better — from where he is. And that the sole reason to go to Louisiana is for the theatrical piece of politics, a piece that he not only rejects but detests.
Does Obama really detest theatrical politics? That must come as a surprise to everyone who watched him tour the aftermath of hurricane Sandy in New Jersey shortly before the 2012 election:
This image is one I remember seeing a lot at the time. The Telegraph used this picture for a story titled, “Has Hurricane Sandy given new life and hope to President Barack Obama?” (The woman pictured says she ultimately got a form letter after reaching out to the president.)
There were even images of Obama visiting FEMA before the storm hit:
And that’s certainly not the only time Obama has toured the site of a natural disaster to create photo ops. In May 2013 he visited Oklahoma after a massive tornado. The NY Times published a story titled, “Obama consoles town flattened by tornado” with this photo (by Doug Mills for the NY Times):
For its story, Politico used this photo of Obama wiping a tear from his eye:
Clearly this is a man who “detests” theatrical politics:
Either Obama detests this sort of political performance art or maybe he just had other things to do this week:
Obama playing golf at Martha's Vineyard with Larry David today
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) August 18, 2016