Saturday Morning Open Thread: Umbrella-Gate

Obama umbrella scandal

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.

More from Rachel Weiner:

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.



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.

Now what’s on your reading list this morning? Please share your links–on any topic–in the comment thread, and have a fabulous Saturday morning!!


25 Comments on “Saturday Morning Open Thread: Umbrella-Gate”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Amy Davidson at The New Yorker: Obama and the Nixonian Umbrella

    “How do you feel about comparisons by some of your critics of this week’s scandals to those that happened under the Nixon Administration?” Jeff Mason, of Reuters, asked President Obama, as he stood in a rainy Rose Garden on Thursday with Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan. Given all the political theatre this week, is it wrong to wish that Obama had fully committed himself, hunched over, balled up his fists, and answered, “People have gotta know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook,” then waited to see if the reporters froze or laughed? Instead, having called for umbrellas with un-Nixonian ease—”why don’t we get a couple of Marines, they’re going to look good next to us”—Obama told Mason, “You can go ahead and read the history and draw your own conclusions.”

    • I saw some of the comments from the Daily caller article via LGF: Daily Caller Cooks Up Another Stupid Scandal, Commenters Spew Vile Racism – Little Green Footballs

      Meanwhile, again as usual, the commenters for the Daily Caller’s rage-inducing article are, yes, spewing all kinds of vile racism. They got the subtext right away — it’s a white man holding an umbrella for a black President.

      I thought afro-sheen was waterproof?


      Just another occasion where Obama shows his “superiority” to any and everyone around him. Shameful.


      Just another example of the illegitimate Kenyan illegal alien’s arrogance, ignorance, and contempt for the military – and the Marine Corps in particular.


      Next they’ll be carrying shopping bags for Michelle as she strolls ‘Miracle Mile’ looking for a bargain.


      I would roll that umbrella up and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Kenyan Fraud. III%




      Too funny! The first black man given the opportunity to run the most powerful country on earth and he turns out to be no different than all the other two bit corrupt black dictators around the world. For all the world to see no less. Way to go BO!


      Someone…please throw some shoes at this Kenyan clown!!

      On and on it goes — currently there are more than 1700 comments, almost all spewing hatred and deranged conspiracy theories. The right wing base in all its glory.

      Damn it is disgusting…

      BB, I have the same feeling like you, tired and yuk allergy feeling. I just now read this post. It took me 5 hours to get the first of tomorrows 2 threads finished, and it wasn’t even a long post, it just took me forever to get it done. I hope you feel better.

  2. ecocatwoman says:

    Obama is damned if he does & damned if he doesn’t. That’s been the Republican mantra since he was elected. There is nothing he can do that is okay with them. What is so frustrating for me personally, is that there are plenty of valid reasons to criticize President Obama, but because of the Right Wing foaming at the mouth hate mongers I feel hesitant to express those criticisms at times. It almost makes me feel complicit. You know what I mean? I almost feel forced to defend the prez. I’m sick and tired of the crap going on in Congress & the beltway media & with the right wing media creeps. American people are hurting & need our elected officials to focus on the needs of the people instead of spending their time & our money in fruitless gotcha campaigns. Politics has devolved into a giant clusterfk.

    Sorry you are suffering with allergies. That’s one problem I’ve never had and I can’t imagine spending so much of one’s life wondering if they’ll be able to breath from day to day, or whether their head will explode from a sinus headache. Feel better.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Connie. The thing that really irritates me is that the “P” woman gets press through this idiotic right wing whining. If only she would go away and maybe appear on “Wheel of Fortune” or something. Why does anyone care what she thinks?

    • roofingbird says:

      Yes, take good care of yourself and feel better, BB

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Joe Scarborough’s IRS hypocrisy

    In 2008 he argued that the NAACP should get tax exempt status.

    The leader of the NAACP bashes President Bush and the Republican Party. Why is this clearly partisan group still being funded by your tax dollars? […]

    [T]he NAACP continues to get a free ride off of taxpayers because of the tax-exempt status that’s conferred to them by our federal government, now, this despite the fact the NAACP produced and ran the most vicious campaign attack ad in the history of televised presidential campaign. […]

    As Americans, NAACP members are free to speak their mind any time, day or night. But they shouldn’t be getting a tax-free ride on the backs of hard-working Americans who don’t get such preferential treatment. President Bush and members of Congress should have the guts to yank the tax-exempt status away from these left-wing activists. And while they’re at it, take away the tax exempt status of any right-wing activist who thumb their noses at the law as brazenly as does the NAACP.

  4. Beata says:

    I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well, BB. Lots of pollen in the air here, too. Thank you for the morning post.

    I’ll come back back and read it more carefully after I watch “The Falcon Strikes Back” on TCM ( on right now! ). Lots of stylish fun. It co-stars a young Harriet Hilliard ( aka Harriet Nelson of “Ozzie and Harriet” fame ). Gowns by Renie.

  5. Fannie says:

    Those freakin rabbits just won’t stop. It’s standard proceedure, and protocol for the Pres. of US, he is commander in chief. Let me make it clear to the rabbits, he is the President of United States. And he did not tie down any marines from other emergencies you have made up elsewhere. The rabbits are becoming a source of embrassment for this country.

  6. Pilgrim says:

    When I first saw the pic of the umbrellas, it put me in mind of pashas or something in an oriental country holding parasols over the high-and-mighty ruler. Maybe a Turkish ruler.

    “they’re going to look good next to us”….hmm….the subtle note of hubris…

    • roofingbird says:

      Yeah, just enough military in the pic to enforce the Syrian stance, reinforced by umbrellas to represent the diplomacy of the Syrian stance, and in front of a set of flags for each speaker.

      He got bonus points when he initiated the question of sexist umbrella holding in the Marines.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Watching the video, I didn’t think it was so high and mighty. I think it would have been pretty silly for both of them to hold umbrellas while speaking and trying to respond to questions.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        There must have been some point in US history when the prez was doing a press briefing in the Rose Garden & it rained. What did those presidents do? Invite members of the press into the Oval Office? I doubt that. Adjourn to the briefing room where Carney speaks to the press & the prez rarely appears? Or I guess he could have “adjourned” the briefing & sent the press home. Then the story would have been, “Obama refuses to answer tough questions from the press”. Guess Congress would have held a hearing on that as well. It beats doing the work “of the people.”

        • Pilgrim says:

          How hard was it raining?

        • bostonboomer says:

          What difference does it make? WTH harm did it do for a couple of marines to hold umbrellas? I can’t believe anyone who isn’t a Glenn Beck/Drudge fan would care or want to justify the racist panic going on among the right wing crazies. The POTUS is not only a person but a symbol. Whoever is in the office deserves to be treated with dignity and respect at public functions.

          If there’s ever a day when I agree with the P woman, I’ll die of shame.

        • Pilgrim says:

          I’m trying to figure out who the “P woman” is.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Here she is!

        • Pilgrim says:

          I see what you mean. My goodness, she’s maybe not one to talk.

  7. Fannie says:

    FCC needs to stop this terrorist, Host Pete Santilli of right wing radio………………saying Hillary Clinton Needs to be Shot in The Vagina……………

    • Beata says:

      That is one of the most vile things I have ever heard. Absolutely sickening. Isn’t there a law against making public threats against a person’s life like that?

      • Fannie says:

        I’d be thinking the Secret Service, and FBI is knocking on his door. I’ve complained to FCC, they have a form that you much fill out, and their phone 1-888-225-5322. I bet this man has a ton of guns, and the government needs to crack down on him before he plays out his fantasies on behalf of the tea party, and the other known haters in the war against women. He’s out bragging, like he a gift from God.

        Pete Santelli is awful, and I am extremely concerned about Hillary……Just today Zahra Shahid Hussain was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistain, and she was one of the senior female leaders….

    • roofingbird says:

      That’s pretty amazing. He wants to pull the trigger? I don’t know how that isn’t a threat!

      • bostonboomer says:

        OMG! I never heard of that guy. There sure are some scary people out there on the right.