Exclusive: Obama’s Penchant for Image Burnishing at the Expense of Security Getting Old

by PAM MEISTER May 6, 2009
After scaring the bejeebers out of downtown New Yorkers last week with the ill-advised “photo op” of Air Force One flying low over the Statue of Liberty escorted by fighter jets, the White House apologized for its, er, insensitivity. Just watching the video, I can understand why New Yorkers were terrified, and their anger afterward completely justified.
 
Now the White House has decided to “classify the photos taken during the nearly $330,000 flight. Although they are not officially classified, you won’t be getting a gander at them anytime soon. "We have no plans to release them," an aide to President Obama told the New York Post.
 
What’s to classify? Thousands saw it happen live; millions more saw photos and video online and elsewhere. Surely American taxpayers, who footed the bill for this fiasco, deserve a return on their investment. Let’s see what was so special about this particular photo op that gave New Yorkers horrible flashbacks to 9/11.
 
Just what was going on, anyway? Will we ever know?
 
But it seems that anything either unflattering to The One or that takes attention away from his “historic presidency” is eligible to be flat out deleted. For example: when George W. Bush left office, the White House Twitter account was handed over, along with the WhiteHouse.gov account. But rather than just archive the Bush administration Tweets to keep them separate from the current administration’s, someone in the Obama administration wiped the slate completely clean, including the existing list of Twitter followers.
 
What the…? Are the editors of Wikipedia on the White House payroll?
 
Can you imagine if George W. Bush had done something similar? Or if he had used the official White House website to dump all over his predecessor? But then, this is the new era of Hope and Change, not Class and Deportment.
 
So let’s see: a botched photo op that could have been done with Photoshop rather than needlessly frighten people and needlessly spend precious tax dollars is being kept hush hush, and Obama’s birth certificate is off limits to the American people. Meanwhile, memos detailing interrogation techniques, along with photos of detainees in Iraq, are published for all to see – including our enemies.
 
The whole “I’m sorry for America’s sins” schtick is getting old; especially when it paralyzes our intelligence agencies and endangers undercover agents on the front line.
When non-covert CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name was made public, the outcry from the left was deafening. Yet when real covert agents have their positions – their very lives – jeopardized by a stunt designed to elevate Obama by denigrating the U.S., the silence from the left is almost as deafening as Nancy Pelosi’s spinmeisters as they tried to cover up for the fact that she knew about the interrogation techniques at the time they were being planned and implemented.
 
When it comes to his political image, Obama has no qualms about throwing former supporters and colleagues “under the bus.” Just take a look at the 2008 campaign for various examples. He also has no qualms about withholding certain information that could cast him in an unfavorable light. That’s one thing on the campaign trail; it’s quite another when one is in elected office.
 
Unfortunately, Obama also has no qualms about throwing American security under that same bus when it comes to burnishing his image as the Kindler, Gentler American and Citizen of the World.
 
What’s also unfortunate is that many of his flunkies in the media are letting him get away with it, focusing instead on “important” stories about the First Couple’s date night and Obama’s groundbreaking lunch with his second-in-command at a local burger joint.
 
What, he couldn’t have burgers flown in?
 
Pam Meister is the editor of FamilySecurityMatters.org.

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