The Marine Umbrella Scandal

Perhaps aware of the need for new fuel for the scandal bonfire they’ve been trying to turn into an Inquisition-style auto-da-f&eacute for Barack Obama, conservative news-and-views outlets seem to be, well, reaching a bit. Yesterday’s Daily Caller provided this headline: “Obama breaches Marine umbrella protocol.” Here’s the big story, from the DC’s Mike Piccione:

The commander in chief of the American armed forces today forced a violation of Marine Corps regulations, so he wouldn’t get wet.

According to Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, a male Marine is not allowed to carry an umbrella while in uniform. There is no provision in the Marine Corps uniform regulation guidelines that allows a male Marine to carry an umbrella.

Nevertheless, during a press conference under a light drizzle with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan this morning, President Obama allowed the First Head to be protected from the elements by an umbrella held by a male Marine corporal.

Believe it or not, the “story” rumbles on for another couple of hundred words, mostly making sure we understand a regulation was violated. If there was any light touch of humor or irony in Piccione’s piece, it sure wasn’t evident.

Now to be fair, this story appeared at a Daily Caller sub-site called “Guns and Gear.” I will leave to your imagination the question of why a Washington-based conservative news operation needs a sub-site on “Guns and Gear.” It’s also not clear how Marine umbrella regulations come within the scope of news-gathering, however broodingly omniscient, about “Guns and Gear.” Yes, Marines carry guns, and yes, I suppose an umbrella is “gear.” But methinks if a Marine was politely holding an umbrella to shield anyone else on the planet, we would not be reading about it at the Daily Caller.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.