Saturday Morning Open Thread: Umbrella-GatePosted: May 18, 2013
Good Morning Sky Dancers!!
I’m not sure why, but I’m feeling really wiped out this morning. It could be all the pollen that is making my allergies act up. My nose is stuffy and my eyes are scratchy and watering.
Anyway, I’m going to start you off with an open thread, and I’ll try to put up a better Saturday reads post later on. I do have some things I want to share with you.
Yesterday President Obama angered Republicans by asking (the horror!) a couple of marines to hold umbrellas over him and his guest Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey during a press conference at the White House. Because, you know, the Commander-in-Chief shouldn’t inconvenience U.S servicemen in any way. The nerve of that annoying black man!
Rachel Weiner at The Washington Post: Even Obama’s umbrellas are a scandal now
Even President Obama’s use of umbrellas has become a scandal in the eyes of some Republicans.
On Thursday, during a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, Obama signaled to two Marines and asked them to protect him and his guest from the rain.
“I am going to go ahead and ask folks — why don’t we get a couple of Marines, they’re going to look good next to us. Just because I’ve got a change of suits, but I don’t know about our prime minister.” Gesturing to the unprotected press, he added, “You guys, I’m sorry about…”
Republicans were outraged, because for some reason male marines are not permitted to use umbrellas when they are in uniform even though female marines can use them. But as Captain Eric Flanagan explained, when the President requests something, marines are supposed to do what he asks.
“Marines are always out getting rained on, that’s sort of what we do,” said Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine spokesman. A request from the president to a Marine who serves in the White House, however, would be an “extenuating circumstance.”
Flanagan also pointed to Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which states that members of the Marine Corps shall “perform such other duties as the President may direct.”
Because, you know, he’s the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, even though Republicans don’t like to admit that.
It was a lighthearted moment in the midst of a grim few days for the White House. But in a week of Benghazi e-mails, Justice Department subpoenas and Internal Revenue Service targeting, some of the administration’s critics saw another example of overreach.
“Obama breaches Marine umbrella protocol,” read the headline on one conservative blog.
Of course no one can explain why the military has gender-specific umbrella rules. They’re just the rulz!
Neither Flanagan nor an Army spokesman could explain the reasoning behind the gender divide. An attempt to change the policy in the 1990s failed, with some suggesting that there was something effeminate about umbrellas.
“They seem to be very nervous what constitutes unmanly behavior,” said Cynthia Enloe, a professor at Clark University who researched military uniform codes in the book “Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives.”
I suppose that could partially explain the reaction of the right wing women-haters.
“Obama expects our troops to hold damn umbrellas rather than go inside: It’s disrespectful, inconsiderate, classless,” tweeted Lou Dobbs.
“Mr. President, when it rains it pours, but most Americans hold their own umbrellas,” former Alaska governor Sarah Palin added on Facebook.
The conservative Move America Forward PAC likened the umbrella-holding to what conservatives view as Obama’s weak response to September’s attack in Benghazi, Libya. A fundraising
e-mail from the group read, “Rain: ‘Hold My Umbrella.’ Benghazi: ‘Stand Down.’ ”
Why must they all be so childishly tiresome? It gives me a headache. Maybe that’s partly why I’m feeling so tired this morning.
Wonkette invited an actual U.S. Marine to comment on the latest Obama scandal: Guest Post From A U.S. Marine About Barack Obama’s Shocking And Disgusting Use Of An Umbrella
Yesterday we learned of one more reason to impeach the Kenyan impostor: as he was giving his press conference with the Turkish whoever, it began to rain, and he summoned two United States Marines over to hold umbrellas over himself and his Very Important Guest. Commentors [sic] at the Free Republic howled that PBO was trying to “humiliate” the Marine Corps by “demeaning them” and “demoralizing them.” They were very mad! Then one M. Joseph Sheppard, to whom apparently we have not been paying enough attention, tried to explain: we were wrong to simply point out other presidents having umbrellas held for them. The shocking scandal was that Barack Nobumer had made Marines disregard their own code, by holding umbrellas. He cited some uniform regulations, as if a Marine performing a service for his Commander-in-Chief were the same as a Marine delicately shielding himself from the elements while humping up a mountain or to keep his hair dry while doing drillsies.
So Wonkette writer Rebecca Schoenkopf called her brother the marine to see what he thought about Obama’s horrifying behavior. Here’s what he said.
“I GUARANTEE YOU!” he yelled, “IF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF GIVES YOU A LAWFUL ORDER YOU FOLLOW THE MOTHERFUCKING LAWFUL ORDER. IF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF WANTS AN UMBRELLA YOU BETTER BELIEVE A WHOLE FUCKING GRIP OF JARHEARDS ARE GONNA BE HIGH-STEPPING TO BRING HIM A MOTHERFUCKING UMBRELLA!”
And then he warmed up. “IN FACT! THE REAL FUCKING SCANDAL IS THAT THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF WASN’T THE ONE HOLDING IT. ‘YOU! CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS! HOLD MY MOTHERFUCKING UMBRELLA!’”
That should settle that. But it won’t of course.
Finally, at The Atlantic Garrance Franke-Ruta tells Democrats to “calm down” as she explains why none of the current “scandals” matter–Obama’s second term was “already in tatters.”
Are the AP snooping, Benghazi, and IRS scandals about to destroy Obama’s second term? Not really—because hyperpartisanship in Washington had already stalled the president’s agenda and put the 113th Congress on track to become another one of the young 21st century’s already-legendary do-nothing bodies.
Most of what a president can accomplish takes place early in a term. But as Republican communications pros are fond of reminding reporters, Obama’s second term was already off to a rocky start.
Read the depressing details at the link if you dare.