Almost immediately after issuing a statement on the beheading of journalist James Foley, President Obama hit the links.
Yesterday, on Fox News’ Media Buzz, Howard Kurtz asked me about it. After prefacing my remarks with perfunctory caveats about how every president deserves a vacation, and then noting the horrible optics, I continued: “And it does seem sort of inconsistent–”
… I wasn’t able to complete that thought (one of the perils of TV punditry), but my point would have been this: Obama’s behavior (playing golf) felt at odds with the comments he had just made about being “heartbroken.”
His comments (specifically, that “we will be vigilant and we will be relentless” in pursuit of justice) juxtaposed with images of him playing golf, felt dissonant.
If you’ve seen the film, you’ll recall the scene: After visiting the bedside of unconscious Detective Nordberg (played by O.J. Simpson — another golf enthusiast), Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) makes this pledge to Nordberg’s inconsolable wife: “Wilma, I promise you; whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he’s behind bars.”
He then turns to the police captain, and says: “Now, let’s grab a bite to eat.”
He might as well have said: “Now, watch this drive!”