It’s tough to think of a lower moment for the American presidency than what President Obama has done to it during the past couple of weeks. He stubbornly insisted on a sweet vacation at Martha’s Vineyard while the world exploded.
Then he strutted up to a microphone and angrily demanded everyone forget every single word he said about Iraq during the 2012 campaign. Back then, he was boasting and bragging about bringing all American troops home from Iraq. When Mitt Romney warned that pulling all the troops out too quickly was dangerous, and the Iraqi military wasn’t ready to stand on its own, Mr. Obama and his pals in the media laughed. What threat would Iraq ever face? Mr. Obama killed Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda was decimated and on the run. Sure, there was this thing called the Islamic State out there, but Mr. Obama said that was just the junior varsity league of al Qaeda.
Well, the threat Mr. Obama said couldn’t happen is now squatting in northern Iraq, building the richest and most powerful terrorist state in history, violently persecuting Christians and other religious minorities. The Islamic State is conducting a genocide against the Yazidis because the militants consider them to be devil worshippers. Thousands of people are stranded on the side of a mountain, dying of hunger and thirst. A rescue chopper crashed bringing supplies to them. A group of Yazidis made it off the mountain and told stories of the horror they left behind. They said parents are actually cutting their hands and giving their own blood to their children, so they’ll have something to drink.
Mr. Obama could have prevented all this by working out a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, and leaving an American presence behind. The first wave of invaders was a small group of thugs driving pickup trucks. No, he didn’t do it, though, so the world watches this unspeakable horror take place, and people from many countries are flocking to join the Islamic State and be a part of the Islamic caliphate. They’re already a hundred times richer, more powerful and better equipped than bin Laden’s gang ever was.
So Mr. Obama decided everyone has to forget what he did in 2011, and what he said about it in 2012. Now we’re supposed to pretend he always wanted to leave troops in Iraq, but the Iraqi government wouldn’t let him. It was too much for even some of the president’s friends in the media to take.
It created an opportunity for Hillary Clinton, who somehow intends to run for president after serving as secretary of state under this disaster. So she floated some trial balloons and tried claiming she always knew Mr. Obama’s foreign policy was a catastrophe in the making, but she didn’t say anything when she was secretary of state because — well, she never really got around to explaining why she kept her lips zipped. We’re just supposed to accept that she’s a different kind of Democrat, smarter and better able to anticipate global threats than Mr. Obama was, ready to take that 3 a.m. phone call.
Then Mr. Obama’s hatchet man, David Axelrod, fired a shot across Mrs. Clinton’s bow by saying Mr. Obama’s motto was “don’t do stupid stuff,” and invading Iraq was a great example of stupid stuff. As a senator, she voted in favor of that invasion. So did her successor as secretary of state, John F. Kerry. So did Vice President Joe Biden. I guess they’re all going to claim they were hypnotized by the evil George W. Bush or something.
So now the Clintons are joining Mr. Obama on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, and the media are swooning like teenyboppers at an Elvis concert, because Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama got together for a “hug summit” to hug out their foreign-policy differences and proclaim their love and loyalty to each other. The terrorists must be holding their sides and howling with laughter. This isn’t just America in twilight. It’s America as a “Mean Girls” high-school comedy. Don’t think for a second this doesn’t matter. Mr. Obama flouncing off on vacation while the world goes to hell sends powerful signals to allies and enemies alike. They both understand they can afford not to take him seriously. Even the French are making snide remarks about how leaders shouldn’t go on vacation while people are dying.
Oh, and remember how Mr. Obama said there would be no “boots on the ground” in Iraq? Well, the Marines have landed on Mt. Sinjar to help out the Yazidis. On Thursday, Mr. Obama said, “The situation on the mountain has greatly improved, we broke the siege of Mt. Sinjar.”
Hopefully, Mr. Obama and Hillary will finish hugging each other before this escalates any further.
Rusty Humphries, a nationally syndicated talk-radio host, is a contributor to The Washington Times.