Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Umbrella-gate. No, Seriously

Last week, President Obama hosted Turkey’s Prime Minister at the White House. As is common in these sorts of affairs, following their meeting, they two held a brief press conference. And it started to rain. So President Obama asked two Marines to bring some umbrellas.

No big deal, right? Well, not to most of the world. But I wonder what the right-wing might think of this?

Let’s look at the article Obama breaches Marine protocol from the Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller website:

The commander in chief of the American armed forces today forced a violation of Marine Corps regulations, so he wouldn’t get wet.

According to Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, a male Marine is not allowed to carry an umbrella while in uniform. There is no provision in the Marine Corps uniform regulation guidelines that allows a male Marine to carry an umbrella.

Nevertheless, during a press conference under a light drizzle with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan this morning, President Obama allowed the First Head to be protected from the elements by an umbrella held by a male Marine corporal.

The relevant portion of the regulation reads, “3035. UMBRELLAS (Female Marines). Female Marines may carry an all-black, plain standard or collapsible umbrella at their option during inclement weather with the service and dress uniforms. It will be carried in the left hand so that the hand salute can be properly rendered. Umbrellas may not be used/carried in formation nor will they be carried with the utility uniform.”

Items not expressly delineated as authorized components of the Marine Corps uniform are prohibited. Male Marines are informed never to carry an umbrella from the earliest phases of training.

Not even the President of the United States can request a Marine to carry an umbrella without the express consent of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, according to the Marine Corps Manual.

The Marine Corps Manual, the guidebook that defines protocol for officers and enlisted Marines, in section 2806 paragraph 2, specifically states: “The Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, published by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, shall be binding on all Marines. No officer or official shall issue instructions which conflict with, alter, or amend any provision without the approval of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Daily Caller is criticizing President Obama for making two Marines violate Marine Corps regulations by holding umbrellas. Daily Caller even suggests that the President doesn’t have the authority to request that a Marine carry an umbrella. Seriously. This is what passes for journalism in the far right echo chamber.

Out of curiosity, what do you suppose the purpose of that regulation is? Was the regulation adopted to prohibit Marines from ever carrying an umbrella or from carrying an umbrella to protect themselves? Note that in the rule pertaining to female Marines, the regulation requires that the umbrella be held in the left hand so that the hand salute can be properly rendered.

Anyway, you know what’s coming, don’t you?

First, “[s]eeing a Marine with this particular accessory is ‘extremely rare,’ Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Greg Wolf explained, but because the president’s the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, if he says ‘hold my umbrella,’ it’s permissible.”

Second, I wonder why The Daily Caller included the above-quoted portion of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations but didn’t bother to include the following:

Articles that are not authorized for wear as a part of a regulation uniform will not be worn exposed with the uniform unless otherwise authorized by the Commandant or higher authority.

It would seem to me that the Commander-in-Chief qualifies as a “higher authority” wouldn’t you?

More importantly, why do you suppose that people are noting that President Obama asked Marines to hold umbrellas in the first place? Is it because they’re that worked up over a highly technical interpretation of Marine rules? How worked up are these same people when our military desecrates enemy corpses, engages in torture, or kills civilians?

So, might something else be involved? Hmm. I know. Let’s look at some of the comments posted at Daily Caller in response to the article (helpfully compiled at Little Green Footballs):

I thought afro-sheen was waterproof?


Just another occasion where Obama shows his “superiority” to any and everyone around him. Shameful.


Just another example of the illegitimate Kenyan illegal alien’s arrogance, ignorance, and contempt for the military - and the Marine Corps in particular.


Next they’ll be carrying shopping bags for Michelle as she strolls ‘Miracle Mile’ looking for a bargain.


I would roll that umbrella up and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Kenyan Fraud. III%




Too funny! The first black man given the opportunity to run the most powerful country on earth and he turns out to be no different than all the other two bit corrupt black dictators around the world. For all the world to see no less. Way to go BO!


Someone…please throw some shoes at this Kenyan clown!!

Those are a few days old now. There are more. Many, many more. An no, not every comment at Daily Caller reads like these; there are even some that defend President Obama. But to say that the vast majority of comments are both unfriendly and disrespectful would be an understatement. You can also find comments advocating virtually every anti-Obama conspiracy you can contemplate (from disbarment to forged absentee voting records and so on); some even refer to President Obama as a traitor.

Even Sarah “My Head Is Stuck So Far Up a Polar Bear’s Ass That I Can’t See Russia Anymore” Palin chimed in on Facebook, telling President Obama that “most Americans hold their own umbrellas.” Like this:


No, not a Marine; just a campaign aid. This is, of course, in contrast to President Obama who would never hold his own umbrella when walking down the steps of an airplane.



But certainly other Presidents haven’t had to rely on others to hold their umbrellas, right?

By the way: See those photos of both Presidents Bush under umbrellas being held by members of the Army? Hmm. I wonder why the right wing didn’t go ballistic when those “transgressions” occurred? After all, the Army’s uniform regulations are substantially similar to those of the Marines:

Females may carry and use an umbrella, only during inclement weather, when wearing the service (class A and B), dress, and mess uniforms. Umbrellas are not authorized in formations or when wearing field or utility uniforms.

Seriously, how do people rationalize criticizing President Obama for asking the Marines to hold umbrellas but aren’t critical of Presidents Bush for allowing members of the Army to do so?

Oh, and as long as we’re talking about Presidents and umbrellas, I couldn’t resist this photo:

George W. Bush

I will resist the urge to make any comment. Nope. Lips are sealed. Not gonna happen.

So why do you think that there is such outrage (feigned or otherwise) over President Obama asking the Marines to hold up umbrellas for he and the Turkish Prime Minister?

With incidents like this, it gets harder and harder not to attribute the right wing’s animus toward President Obama, at least in part, to racism.

Perhaps we need to add a verse to the Marine Corps Hymn:

From the Halls of Montezuma

To the shores of Tripoli

If you hold the President’s umbrella

The rage of the right you’ll see.

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At Tuesday, May 21, 2013 11:11:00 PM , Blogger David Kenyon said...

Because the GOP is so predictable, I bet you could take anything out of the news related to President Obama and easily write the Right-wing talking points before you heard their farcical commentary.

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