Close, But No Cigar

This morning the father of one of the deceased Seal Team members was asked about the Dover photo released by the White House; he answered, “let me ask YOU something….are you surprised?” He praised the President for being in Dover for the “dignified transfer” but clearly distained the release of the photo that families of the deceased did not want to happen.

The attempt to not so subtly politicize this circumstance, combined with the alleged provision of classified material to a film maker tells us what we need to know. What we need to know is words are just words; actions carry the burden of belief and commitment.

Clearly, someone in the White House thought release of the photo at Dover was a good idea. The options are limited: the President’s staff has no clue, they have a clue but don’t care; will politicize anything, the President thought it was a good idea or the President simply cannot control his own White House. Someone seems to have forgotten the President did not overruled Pentagon prohibitions on photo’s of returning deceased soldiers and that doing so makes him look at best inconsistent and at worse asinine and insensitive. The attempt to portray the President as patriotic and respectful would have been accomplished by simply announcing the fact that he attended; that would have been enough and well worthy of respect. The photo undercut that goal and immediately politicized the event casting the President’s motives as highly questionable even were they originally pure.
Worse still, the Dover gaff occurs in the context of allegations that classified information related to the bin Laden raid is being provided to a movie maker intent on releasing the movie a month before Election day. Tick Tock reporting in the New Yorker regarding the bin Laden raid has the President, during his visit to the raid team being, “in awe of these guys”. Typically awe arrives with equal measures of respect and sensitivity; apparently not, in this case.

This is not Bill Daley style, this is David Plouffe style. This is blindness borne of desperation. This is the frantic need for something, anything to reflect positively on a President in trouble and stuck on talking points that no one is listening to anymore. Sorry guys, you were really close; political greed has the same impact as financial greed; eventually you screw up, go too far and succumb to an arrogance of power.

An apology would be nice.