Right now I’m thinking that the Obama White House wishes it had a Ministry of Truth as effective as Oceania’s.
My fellow blogger Warner Todd Huston has already covered President Obama’s puzzling skeet comment (“… up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time”) in some detail. In his post, Huston noted that the White House finally published a photo of President Obama awkwardly firing a shotgun, supposedly unassailable proof that President Obama enjoys skeet shooting “all the time” … while wearing sunglasses. Without wearing a regulation vest or any other common sport shooting gear.
The photo published by the White House is datelined Aug. 4, 2012, which also happens to be President Obama’s birthday. Naturally there is news coverage of the President’s activities on that day:
Reuters: “President Barack Obama celebrated his 51st birthday on Saturday with a round of golf, then helicoptered to the Camp David presidential retreat for a quiet evening off the campaign trail. Obama, an avid golfer, played with colleagues and friends at the Andrews Air Force Base in hot, muggy weather conditions before taking Marine One to Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains in the afternoon. The White House did not release details of the president’s evening plans or share the menu for the birthday meal he was expected to share with wife, Michelle.”
Associated Press: “August 4, 2012 (WPVI) — President Barack Obama celebrated his 51st birthday Saturday with a round of golf and plans for a quiet weekend at Camp David, taking a break from campaigning three months before Election Day. Obama played golf with a group of friends and aides at Andrews Air Force Base before heading to the presidential getaway in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains. He returns to campaign mode soon enough, with fundraisers in Connecticut on Monday and campaign rallies in Colorado on Wednesday and Thursday.”
CNN: “President Barack Obama is off the campaign trail on Saturday as he celebrates his 51st birthday, beginning with a round of golf Saturday morning. He will travel to Camp David later in the day, the White House said. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will campaign with Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for the US Senate from Indiana, then attends a fund-raiser.”
CBS News: “As he hit the golf course at Joint Base Andrews for his 104th round since being elected, President Obama wasn’t the only one taking swings on his 51st birthday Saturday. “Happy Birthday, Mr. President. You Didn’t Bake This,” read frosted blue and yellow words on a cake bearing the president’s face, delivered to the Democratic National Committee headquarters by its Republican counterpart Friday – a reference to Mr. Obama’s now-famous “you didn’t build that” line, which Republicans have seized on.”
Notice anything missing? Plans for a skeet shoot with associates at the Camp David range, perhaps? Is skeet or target shooting a regular part of the President’s “quiet evenings?”
Given the President’s fierce competitiveness in one-on-one contests with others, and his arrogance concerning his own abilities (“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”) it seems very, very strange that there has never been a single report of the President shooting with his friends, or practicing for hours at a time at a shooting range, at any time during his first term as President.
It’s entirely possible that the President has requested that all word of his sport shooting adventures be kept out of the press. Possible – but I believe highly unlikely. It’s much more likely that the President was somehow goaded into taking a practice shot during a shooting match at Camp David for the benefit of White House photographers, and never fired that shotgun at a target either before or since.
Maybe President Obama was lucky that a photo of himself firing a shotgun existed, since he doesn’t really have the talent necessary to improvise compelling fiction. Such a talent greatly benefited Bill Clinton during his political career. But even Clinton occasionally told a tale too big to be believed. Or perhaps this is part of a carefully orchestrated plan to use that photo as a means to smear anyone skeptical of The One (the White House has already begun using the derogatory term “skeeter” in reference to those asking questions) and at the same time, soften his image with gun owners.
Whatever the reason for his unusual comment, it appears to have done more harm than good. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a phony, particularly when the deceit is wrapped up in contempt and arrogance.