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Korobov: A president on vacation

BY MICHAEL KOROBOV | AUGUST 26, 2014 5:00 AM

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Every public-relations firm knows that it is the immediate response after a tragedy that determines public perception.

A great example of this occurred during one of America’s greatest tragedies: Sept. 11, 2001. It was after this disaster that former President Bush stood at Ground Zero with a bullhorn and announced to the world that “the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” This symbolic imagery of the president with his arm around a firefighter captured the hearts of millions, and the world knew that America was serious about fighting terrorism.

When I woke up to the gruesome photos and videos of James Foley, an American journalist abducted in Syria in 2012, beheaded by the terrorist group ISIS, I expected a similar response from the most powerful nation on Earth. The thought of this group conducting such an atrocity to an American made my blood boil. I waited with anticipation to hear President Obama’s speech. I didn’t have to wait long.

The president spoke in a grave tone about capturing those responsible for the killing, stating that “a group like ISIS has no place in the 21st century.” I nodded my head in agreement, imagining in my head a covert operation similar to the one that brought down Osama Bin Laden. I thought of how the president must be organizing the heads of every department of government against what has become the most radical enemy of the country.

It was to my astonishment that I heard only a few hours later that the president was back vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard for another game of golf. While criticism on this has come from both the right and the left, I would like to add my own two cents. By rushing to play golf after his speech, the president failed the only real job he has — representing the American people. A simple Google search for “Foley,” “Obama,” and “speech” brings up with photos of the president smiling in a golf cart. Is this the response we want to portray? I can already see members of ISIS searching for news on their mobile phones after the slaying …

Presidential vacations have always been a topic of debate. How much vacation should be entitled to the most powerful man in the world? Previous presidents have received their fair share of bashing on this issue. Anyone who has had to work more than one job at one point or another to support their family understands that while vacation time is important, work should always take precedent when you have people depending on you. With the entire population of the United States relying on the president’s representation, there is no way to describe Obama’s actions on this other than being out of touch.

I hate debating another man’s vacation schedule. It is not my duty to judge his workload, hours or stress level. After all, the office of the presidency has got to be one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. Nevertheless, Obama created this controversy himself.


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