A different kind of “class.” Obama and GWB Christmas gifts.

We all witnessed Obama’s self centered “I get mine” attitude.  Embarrassing and truly not surprising noting his personality flaws.

I think he really rang the bell on this one, not because of its global importance, but quite the opposite, it is the smallness of the moment that explains so much about who he is as a person.

So this is what his advisors had in mind when they said he feels “liberated” after the election. Now, as a late-stage lame duck, he’s free to be the d*ck he always wanted to be but couldn’t for fear of the electoral consequences.

If “You’re Only President Once” means anything, it means telling a pair of Army officers who’ve spent months planning their Hawaiian dream wedding that they’ll have to make way because you simply must, must golf at that very hour.

It was the second time that day that the couple heard from the nation’s commander in chief, whose affinity for golf has, at times, caused political headaches for the White House. Stationed in Hawaii and knowing the president spends his Christmas holiday on the islands, they invited him to their ceremony on a lark. They had received a letter earlier on Saturday saying Obama regretted he couldn’t come and wishing them happiness on their wedding day.

“It was kind of ironic they got the letter from them and then, within hours, they were told they had to be moved due to him,” Jamie McCarthy, Mallue’s sister, said in an interview. “It was emotional, especially for her—she’s the bride and in less than 24 hours they had to change everything they had planned.”

[A]nyone planning an event at the course when the president may be in town is warned about the potential for last-minute shuffling, said Naile Brennan, manager of K Bay Catering, which was handling logistics for the wedding. Brennan said they had other sites ready to go, and the couple ended up choosing the lush, green lawn near the home of Colonel Eric Schaefer, the commanding officer of the base, which offers an elevated view near the 16th hole.

I’m tempted to call this The Most Obama Thing Ever but realistically it is and can only be number two on that list. To make it to number one, O would have had to tee off while standing underneath the couple’s trellis, the ball perched atop a champagne glass engraved with their initials, while the bride sobbed quietly in the background. He’s got two years as president left; I give him 50/50 odds of making it happen eventually.

It is the pettiness of the offense.  Not that he did it, but that his attitude encourages his staff to be as dismissive.  If your boss is a d*ck,  and likes it, chances are he will eventually be surrounded by d*cks. It’s a magnetic thing I guess.

But on the other side of this is GWB.  Like or hate him, you cannot get around the fact he was just a decent person.  We can only wonder what his presidency would have been like had there been no 9/11.  A glimpse in the possibilities is given to us by Joseph Curl and his experiences around Christmas.

Every year, in the week between Christmas and New Year‘s, I think about George W. Bush.

It was in that week each year for the eight years I covered him as a reporter that he gave me a spectacular gift — and he knew it.

I started covering the newly elected president in 2000, when I was in my 30s. Back then, as a reporter for The Washington Times, we went everywhere the president went. If he went to Charlotte, North Carolina, to give a 30-minute speech on an airport tarmac, we went. Up at 4 a.m., an hourlong commute to Andrews Air Force Base, in place on the ground hours before POTUS landed, and there for hours and hours after he left — sometimes right through the evening news so network reporters could file live from the site.

We also went with the president to Texas every summer — often for a month — and every winter, too, over the holidays.

But here’s the thing: In December, we never left Washington, D.C., until the day after Christmas. Never. Mr. Bush and his wife, Laura, would always depart the White House a few days before the holiday and hunker down at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. After a few years, I asked a low-level White House staffer why.

I still remember what she said: “So all of us can be with our families on Christmas.”

Who was “us”? Hundreds and hundreds of people, that’s who. Sure, the reporters who covered the president, but also dozens and dozens on his staff, 100 Secret Service agents, maybe more, and all of those city cops required whenever the president’s on the move in D.C.

For me, that one-day delay was huge. My kids were 6 and 8 years old when Mr. Bush took office. When he went home to Prairie Chapel that last time in 2009, my girl was driving, the boy was 6 foot 1. But in the meantime, I was home for eight Christmas mornings, playing Santa, stoking the fire, mixing up hot chocolates.

That was President Bush. And every year for the past five, I’ve thought about what that meant to me. (By the way, some years, I got holiday duty, which meant I was off to Waco, Texas, the day after Christmas. But once again, the Bush White House had us covered: A press plane flew out with the president, and back then, reporters could pay $100 per family member for the plane ride. So sometimes, the family went along. For the kids, it was an adventure; for me, well, we were all together.)

All that has changed with President Obama. No more press plane, for one. Reporters are on their own — so taking family is, say, $1,000 a pop. Not likely. And this president would never delay his trip to his island getaway. He’s off every year well before Christmas. Hundreds and hundreds head off with him, leaving family behind.

No Christmas at home. Instead, the Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. Nice, but not exactly home.

And that’s the point here.  Quality of character manifests itself in so many different ways.  Bad character does the same.  GWB would have never made that couple move over a round of golf. In fact, he’d probably work it in that he got to stop by and congratulate the young couple personally.

Class isn’t just about income or access or race.  It is about the heart.  Or lack of it.

 

 

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