Has ISIS transformed the vacationer in the Oval Office?
By Mark Tapscott | August 22, 2014 | 8:19 am
President Obama is still vacationing in Martha's Vineyard as this is written. But he may have experienced a jolting encounter with a grim reality.
The problem with Obama is too often there is no "there, there" with his words on foreign policy issues. Most infamously, he drew a red line Syria, warning of terrible consequences if the Assad regime used chemical weapons.
Then, when the Assad regime did use chemical weapons, Obama unexpectedly deferred to Vladimir Putin to broker a deal that rendered the red line irrelevant.
Golf course or new course?
There is no doubt that Obama, to this point in his presidency, has been epically devoted to enjoying the perks of his position.
As Washington Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti writes this morning of Obama's approach to the world's toughest job:
"This is the life: international travel, motorcades, sycophants and courtiers, tables at the best restaurants, round after round of golf, parties in a cool house, watching the best television shows, meeting all these renowned figures — and having them kiss up to you — ruminating over your legacy, over the causes of polarization, over the geopolitical situation, understanding other peoples’ motivations better than they do. Kramer has nothing on Obama.
"Politics, terrorists, Iran, Putin, Congress are all distractions. Best to enjoy the experience to the utmost. You are only president once."
Has something changed?
But the Daily Beast's Eli Lake thinks something changed this week as Obama and America reeled from the horror of watching "Jihadi John" murder a captive American journalist, something ISIS didn't expect:
"In June, when ISIS first took Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, Obama was careful to emphasize the limited scope of the U.S. mission, declining to authorize airstrikes.
"When Obama finally did approve bombing missions this month in response to the ISIS march on the Kurdish city of Erbil, he stressed the they would only be to break the siege of Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis were trapped without food and water, and to protect American personnel and assets.
"Today, as Obama finds his country facing an utterly barbaric enemy, and after weeks and months of delaying action, he appears ready to mount a war with the ambitious goal of actually winning."
It's a terrible thing to contemplate, but in losing his head, journalist James Foley may have given Obama some backbone. Or maybe not.