Umbrella-Gate: How the GOP Became the 'Boy Who Cried Wolf'


The Obama administration has just completed its most scandalous week yet. Of all the political scandals (Benghazi, IRS, and AP are the biggest, for those who've lost count), which one are the Republicans tackling now? Umbrella-gate. As I'm sure we've all heard, President Obama, the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces, has recently been blasted by the right for having Marines hold umbrellas for Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and himself during a recent press conference. 

Is this a gaffe, or a faux pas perhaps? Undoubtedly, yes. This is a breach of protocol. Per Marine policy, male Marines cannot carry or use umbrellas in uniform. Is it worth politicizing to this degree? Certainly not. For one, military personnel must obey their superiors. Even Capt. Eric Flanagan, Marines spokesperson, stated that a request from the president would be an "extenuating circumstance." Furthermore, attempting to turn the umbrella affair into a political scandal is a horrible political strategy. 

The Republicans are creating an image for themselves of a party of hysterical partisans. Instead of genuine outrage, it appears to the American public that Republicans are trying hard to look for scandals, and oppurtunistically use them as political tools. Take for example the language used in this ABC News article: "Things could hardly have broken better for Republicans these last few weeks." This is indicative of the public's view of Republicans, as these events can only be good breaks if they are used for political gain. Many Republicans are trying to do just that. In a Facebook post, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin harshly criticized President Obama for the umbrella incident while attempting to draw parallels to Benghazi and IRS. Leftist news sources had a field day with this post, observing that Palin has depended on umbrella holders as well. These articles from the left were well received, and demonstrate how politicizing such events can backfire.

Moreover, constantly crying scandal desensitizes the public from legitimate criticisms. Despite all the scandal, President Obama still enjoys a 50% approval rating. The Republicans' tendency to overreact to minor gaffes definitely plays a part in this. Even a registered Republican like myself finds "Umbrella-gate" to be ridiculous. I am in no way advising Republicans to ignore President Obama's misconduct. There are several events the Obama administration has overseen that would be accurately be described as "scandalous," Operation Fast and Furious being another example. But Umbrella-gate? Give me a break.