“Something weird happens when presidencies go wrong,” John Podhoretz wrote in September:
Presidents become incompetent at doing the things they were always able to do in their sleep, and their aides follow suit. I noted this when I wrote my first book, Hell of a Ride, about the decline and fall of the first President Bush, back in 1993. When Bush spoke, it rained, and his advancemen weren’t quick-thinking enough to move his events indoors. When he went to Japan on a state visit, he vomited.
And Obama has to deal with photos such as this:
Welcome back to the frat pack days of the Clinton White House. Or the Bush White House if you’re Maureen Dowd. In any case, it’s a photo that had President Bush or his aides been a part of, would have had the boys in the MSM ready to pounce for displaying such out of touch aloofness during times of domestic economic hardship and overseas tensions.
And then there’s this photo of the president himself; note the misbuttoned blazer:
And worse, this one:
During their vacations, the Gipper and Dubya often favored western wear such as jeans and cowboy boots, both because they were comfortable in such attire, and very likely because it cheesed off their uber-PC foes in the media, but projected an image of strength overseas.
Foreign leaders employ a similar gambit when vacationing, which you can see easily in all of the photos of Vladimir Putin striking macho poses in the Russian countryside. Those images come across as more than a little over-the-top to western audiences, but I’ll bet they play very well at home.
On the flip-side — or the flip-flop side in this case — how do you think an image of the nation’s Commander-in-Chief in flip-flops plays overseas?
And that photo didn’t occur in a vacuum; President Obama’s trip to the shave ice store was no doubt accompanied by press photographers, perhaps a dozen secret service agents, and White House aides. What do they think about their boss being photographed like that?
Well, when they aren’t toting their surfboards onto Air Force One, of course.
And that doesn’t even take into account Joe Biden’s caught-on-video remarks to the daughters of incoming senators. Or outgoing press secretary Robert Gibbs being quoted as saying, as CBS noted today, “Gibbs to Roll White House Trees in Toilet Paper if Auburn Wins.”
They told me that if I voted for John McCain, we’d be stuck with at least four years of Animal House-style hi-jinks. And they were right!
Related: As the wonderfully-named American Glob puts it, “The President Who Won’t Allow Your Children To Eat Cupcakes In School Doesn’t Wear A Seatbelt In The Car.”
Update: Welcome readers of the Chairman of the Blogosphere, and the inventor of the “They told me if I voted for…And they were right” motif.
Update: Broadway Bobos Say Goodnight?