Patterico's Pontifications


Obama’s Non-Stop at the Military Hospitals in Germany?? — Looks Like The Result of a Tantrum by Retired 2 Star General

Filed under: General — WLS @ 6:53 pm

Posted by WLS:

According to The Weekly Standard Campaign Blog the mystery of Obama’s non-stop seems to have been solved:

Pentagon officials tell NBC 

the problem was that Obama’s request to visit Landstuhl included two members of his campaign staff — retired Major General Jonathan S. Gration and Jeff Kiernan. US military officials in Germany informed the campaign the two political operatives would not be permitted on base.

Pentagon officials say Gration was the campaign’s point of contact at Landstuhl in arranging Obama’s visit and “got torqued” when he was told he would not be permitted to join Obama. It was Gration who later suggested to reporters that the Pentagon short-circuited Obama’s visit. 

Jim Geraghty wrote yesterday: “A very interesting email from a source I must protect suggests that Obama’s visit to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center had the green light until a campaign staffer raised a stink about going with Obama.”

And today Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs strongly hinted that Gration’s exclusion was what led to the campaign’s last-minute decision to scrap the visit.

“Based on the information that we received from the Pentagon,” Gibbs said, “anybody on the staff that was related to the campaign including General Gration a two start [sic] general” would not be allowed to go to Landstuhl.

So, a retired Two Star gets hacked off when he’s told that he, as a campaign official, would not be allowed to accompany Obama to the hospital.

Who would have thunk that a General would object so vehemently to the DOD regulations preventing military bases from being used as campaign stops? 

Do all Obama’s military advisors consider wounded troops to be worthy of visiting only if they can be employed as campaign props?

I like the fact that Miklaszewski at NBC is still on this story.  He could have let it drop, but this is his third update that has advanced the story by adding facts.  His reporting forced the Obama campaign to conduct a mini-intervention when their two previous explanations didn’t satisfy.  Miklaszewski is a long-time Pentagon reporter, and he’s got great sources.  They aren’t going to let Obama hang his non-visit on them.

[Peter — sarcasm alert.  I’m trying to remind myself to be obvious enough so that even people like you will understand — WLS]

31 Responses to “Obama’s Non-Stop at the Military Hospitals in Germany?? — Looks Like The Result of a Tantrum by Retired 2 Star General”

  1. General Gration did Obama no favors with his ego tantrum but now I have to wonder who decided Obama would skip visiting the troops. It could have been Obama, his campaign staff, or even General Gration. Whoever it was is tone-deaf and the others are just plain dumb.

    DRJ (070f3d)

  2. Obama seems very low on the totem pole. Taking orders straight out of Chi-town.

    Vermont Neighbor (31ccb6)

  3. Obama could have gone as a Senator. It is all on him. As McCain said, any day is a good day for a Senator to visit the troops

    Capitalist Infidel (c4ec46)

  4. WLS, I read through all of your links and don’t see anywhere at all that Obama, had he gone solo, would have been prohibited from making the visit, right?

    If so, its troubling that he didn’t make a stand, tell his advisors, even the military brass that he was going to do it because he didn’t need the publicity and that it shouldn’t be a campaign tool. He could have gone in quietly by himself….yes, quietly, by himself, no cameras, no publicity, just because it would have been the good and righ thing to do.


    Dana (f3e2a8)

  5. If he was anybody else this move could have been the death of his campaign.

    But — as we are reminded of daily — he isn’t anybody else; he’s the Messiah, and by definition can do no wrong . . . even when what he does is totally wrong.

    Icy Truth (2d1519)

  6. The Messiah could have, and would have, got his ‘twist his arm out of socket patting himself on the back’ pictures. They would have been official photo’s by the military to prevent the left wing whacko’s from using someone severly wounded for a campaign prop. Hussein O is a failure as a human.

    Scrapiron (d671ab)

  7. I’ll bet he kisses his children’s boo boo’s and makes them well just like his ‘after thought’ phone call to the troops is supposed to clear him from his major, normal, screw up.

    Scrapiron (d671ab)

  8. I expect a President to decide that kind of stuff for himself… if it was important to Obama he’d have told his staff they’d have to stay while he carried on

    SteveG (71dc6f)

  9. Hasn’t Andrea Mitchell now outed herself as a total Obama campaign mouthpiece?

    MayBee (5cb8b7)

  10. Maybee — yeah, on Morning Joe this morning she was giving the Obama talking points that the whole thing was cooked up by Pentagon officials working with retired military guys on McCain’s campaign staff to keep Obama away from the hospital and then make Obama look bad.

    WLS (ab3e74)

  11. What is it with these liberal generals — e.g. Gration, Wesley Clark — that makes them act like the south end of a northbound horse?

    JVW (6a7c34)

  12. Forget the speeches. THIS is what we need to know about Obama; what goes into his decision-making?

    Barry Teleprompter is supposed to be Mr. “Judgment to Lead.” If Miklaszewski is close to correct in his depiction of Obama being reluctant to go forward with the visit because of Gration’s wounded ego, that doesn’t sound too far removed from the moonbats’ mantra that when it comes to GWB, he only does what Cheney or Rove tell him, now does it?

    L.N. Smithee (ef90eb)

  13. It was bound to come out eventually.

    The left’s innate disdain for the military and “The Pentagon” can’t be disguised for long.

    Obama would have sacrificed the work these young men and women have done and dragged the military home in defeat, and is proud of it.

    Obama as CIC? He is more proud to proclaim himself a citizen of the world than he is as an American.

    dualdiagnosis (540c7d)

  14. My guess is the General knew, without a knowledgeable escort, Obama would embarrass himself because Obama doesn’t know the difference between a corporal and a lieutenant, or the difference between Army and Air Force, etc. The result would not have been exactly a Commander in Chief moment.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  15. Scrapiron wrote: Hussein O is a failure as a human.

    He’s definitely an egomaniac, perhaps even a megalomaniac. At worst, a sociopath. But a “failure as a human?” Let’s not go nuts.

    That sort of talk reminds me of people who would suggest that because Monica Lewinsky’s maturity level was far below her actual early-twenties age, Bill Clinton was essentially a pedophile. That’s just dumb.

    It’s bad enough as it is. Don’t pretend it’s worse and damage your credibility.

    L.N. Smithee (ef90eb)

  16. Given the choice between doing the right thing, or the political thing, Baracky chose the political.

    JD (5f0e11)

  17. Quote from a cartoon on Powerline:

    “Ich bin ein bullslinger!”

    Really sums it up.

    Al (f2aae0)

  18. Obama really has been served poorly by his ex-military supporters. Maybe that is because they were horses asses when they were on active duty. That is sure true of McPeak who was notorious as AF Chief of Staff and Clarke was relieved by Clinton of all people.

    Mike K (586583)

  19. Why would the Pentagon inform a retired two-star he couldn’t go to a military hospital? Gen. Gration was the point of contact for the trip. Cheap political points attributable on both sides.

    steve (a57404)

  20. Bbbbbzzzztttt. Wrong, steve. They said he could not hold a political event there, not that he could not go.

    JD (5f0e11)

  21. steve, you can’t read the post, can you?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  22. Why would the Pentagon inform a retired two-star he couldn’t go to a military hospital?

    Maybe they know him better than you do. The guy sounds like a showboat. I know a few general officers. Some are serious guys (and a couple of girls) and some are ass-kissers who lose all common sense when they pin on that star.

    The wing commander of the Marine air contingent in Gulf War I, got PO’d because Bahrain gave my brother-in-law a big medal for defending them from Saddam. My brother-in-law was a Marine colonel with 460 missions in Vietnam as an F4 pilot and was the group commander. The Wing Commander, a garrison commando, spiked his OER so he never got his star and retired.

    About a year later, the Wing commander was suddenly retired for sending his girlfrend across country in a Marine executive jet and for having a captain take his written flight status exam. The retired colonel has made millons in business the past ten years and the retired general is probably thinking about endorsing Obama. I suspect that most of Obama’s military supporters are disgruntled types. He sure doesn’t have any among the ex-military people I know.

    Mike K (586583)

  23. They said he could not hold a political event there, not that he could not go.

    The Pentagon told Gen. Gration after landing in Germany that he could not accompany Obama, ruling he was a political adviser. I see no reporting that Landstuhl was a hastily-arranged itinerary-add. Requiring the staff to switch planes (or take a train) at the last minute is not something the Pentagon protocol office did without reckoning the fallout.

    steve (a57404)

  24. I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
    I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
    From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
    I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
    I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
    About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news,
    With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

    Dana R Pico (556f76)

  25. Here is the YouTube of I am the very model of a modern major general from the Pirates of Penzance. :)

    Dana R Pico (556f76)

  26. Some of the commenters are right. It is all about judgement. And, Sen. Messiah Barack’s is lousy. Sen. “F— You” McCain is right. Any day is a good day to visit the troops. How many times has President Bush visited our wounded troops and no one knows about it until much later if at all? No, Sen. Messiah Barack wants to turn our armed forces into glorified policemen in cool uniforms. And to see the real result of what the armed forces has to do in battle goes against the whole glorified policemen in cool uniforms concept. This man makes Bill Clinton look like Ronald Reagan!

    Mark J. Goluskin (5aac58)

  27. Comment by Dana R Pico — 7/26/2008 @ 11:14 am

    thanks for posting; that was awesome. Didn’t know about that version (nice surprise to see K Kline). And haven’t heard it sung in too long. :)

    no one you know (1f5ddb)

  28. I remember watching that a LOOOoooong time ago. G&S could be quite funny, but they are just a tad dated nowadays.

    How many kids know what a quadratical equation is nowadays? Or how to derive a square root using pencil and paper instead of that calculator button?

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  29. This man makes Bill Clinton look like Ronald Reagan!

    Not Reagan. Eisenhower.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  30. Steve — the Pentagon cleared the campaign plane to land at Ramstein AF Base, and they had plans for entertaining the campaign staff and traveling press while Obama went to the hospital.

    Their only rule was that Obama could only be accompanied to the hospital by Senate staff, not campaign staff.

    Gration isn’t on his Senate staff, so they told Gration he couldn’t visit the hospital with Obama because that would mix Senate (official) and campaign (no-no) staffers with Obama.

    That’s when Gration had his meltdown.

    WLS (ab3e74)

  31. Obama has now come out with the most plausible explanation to date for the decision to cancel the trip. He acknowledges that the trip was planned, and that it was the info from the Pentagon that campaign aides — including Ret. Gen. Gration — could not accompany him, that led to the decision to cancel the visit.

    His explanation is that the presence of campaign aides would lend to the impression that the stop was campaign related.

    Obama’s explanation is that out of an abundance of caution, and to keep the hospital staff out of the inevitable political cross-fire that would result if he were to visit in the middle of what was an obvious political trip to Germany, they decided the best course was to not visit.

    Now, this sounds like plausible reasoning and calculation, with appropriate countervailing factors being taken into consideration.

    But I still think they made the wrong choice ultimately. It would have been better politically to have gone quietly. If he had been carped at anyway, he would have had the ability to respond by saying “we followed all the rules the Pentagon gave us, it was a quiet, personal visit without fanfare, and what would you have rather I done, not go??”

    Not much of a pushback would have been possible against that.

    But I think Gration being told HE couldn’t go led to a foot-stamping tantrum on his part, which caused the hasty decision to not go, without thinking through the potential outcomes.

    Poor campaign management.

    WLS (ab3e74)

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