After the James Foley beheading, Obama got a lot of negative press for going off to play golf ten minutes after delivering a perfunctory speech on how ISIS had to be stopped. My reaction was, what difference does it make? It's not as if he would otherwise have convened a meeting of the Joints Chiefs of Staff to order a military assault on the caliphate that afternoon. It's not as if he had a close personal relationship with James Foley and should have spent the afternoon weeping at his Martha's Vineyard vacation house.
Yes, he should have been more careful about the "optics," as he later described the situation. And all that laughing and fist bumping on the course underlined the fact that he couldn't have cared less about Foley. But, people die every day, and it's not as if it deeply affects those of us who weren't close to the departed. Most of us probably went on to laugh and smile at some point during that afternoon as well.
What I was struck by in that widely circulated picture was how thin Obama's forearm looked. He looked positively skeletal.
Then, when he gave that speech about stopping ISIS last week, I was again struck by how gaunt he looked:
His face almost has the look of someone who is anorexic, or has a wasting disease.
The address he gave last week has been characterized as a "bare-minimum" speech; he obviously had been prodded into it by public outrage over the beheadings of the two Americans and the general scorched earth policy of the would-be caliphate.
As much as I despise Obama for being a liar and con man, I actually have no major problems with the general thrust of his foreign policy, which is not to intervene unless absolutely necessary.
Of course, we come at it from different angles. Obama believes that the US has long been a force of ugly imperialism and that we need to have our influence diminished. I believe that it's simply not in our interests to get involved in far-off conflicts in which we have little at stake. I say, let the foreigners kill each other without sending off American boys to fight and die.
But, if the net effect is that our President prefers to avoid foreign entanglements, I'm mostly fine with that.
Nonetheless, the image Obama projects to the world is a little embarrassing. He talks about a red line which must not be crossed and then lets it go by. He promoted a surge in Afghanistan which he never personally believed in. He claims that we left Iraq in fine shape when it was anything but. He reportedly said no to the Osama bin Laden raid three times before he was finally talked into okaying it.
And all this from a guy who looks the way he does -- an unbecoming combination of gaunt and fey.
I'd prefer a leader who projected strength and decisiveness, even if he only used our country's might sparingly.
It was when I was writing the previous post about the juiced up NFL players that it hit me: we need to put Obama on steroids.
Sure, there might be occasional rages, and Michelle might get roughed up a little. But that would be a small price to pay for a leader who actually looked -- and acted -- like a leader.
The next time an American is beheaded, he might actually get angry.
And just think what it would do for his golf game.