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Opinion: Morning Examiner

Has ISIS transformed the vacationer in the Oval Office?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Barack Obama,The Daily Beast,National Security,Foreign Policy,ISIS,James Foley

President Obama is still vacationing in Martha's Vineyard as this is written. But he may have experienced a jolting encounter with a grim reality.

The problem with Obama is too often there is no "there, there" with his words on foreign policy issues. Most infamously, he drew a red line Syria, warning of terrible consequences if the Assad regime used chemical weapons.

Then, when the Assad regime did use chemical weapons, Obama unexpectedly deferred to Vladimir Putin to broker a deal that rendered the red line irrelevant.

Golf course or new course?

There is no doubt that Obama, to this point in his presidency, has been epically devoted to enjoying the perks of his position.

As Washington Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti writes this morning of Obama's approach to the world's toughest job:

"This is the life: international travel, motorcades, sycophants and courtiers, tables at the best restaurants, round after round of golf, parties in a cool house, watching the best television shows, meeting all these renowned figures — and having them kiss up to you — ruminating over your legacy, over the causes of polarization, over the geopolitical situation, understanding other peoples’ motivations better than they do. Kramer has nothing on Obama.

"Politics, terrorists, Iran, Putin, Congress are all distractions. Best to enjoy the experience to the utmost. You are only president once."

Has something changed?

But the Daily Beast's Eli Lake thinks something changed this week as Obama and America reeled from the horror of watching "Jihadi John" murder a captive American journalist, something ISIS didn't expect:

"In June, when ISIS first took Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, Obama was careful to emphasize the limited scope of the U.S. mission, declining to authorize airstrikes.

"When Obama finally did approve bombing missions this month in response to the ISIS march on the Kurdish city of Erbil, he stressed the they would only be to break the siege of Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis were trapped without food and water, and to protect American personnel and assets.

"Today, as Obama finds his country facing an utterly barbaric enemy, and after weeks and months of delaying action, he appears ready to mount a war with the ambitious goal of actually winning."

It's a terrible thing to contemplate, but in losing his head, journalist James Foley may have given Obama some backbone. Or maybe not.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Is President Obama getting a bum rap on the failed Foley rescue raid?

Watchdog/Luke Rosiak: Sen. Jay Rockefeller doesn't even go to West Virginia during August recesses.

Watchdog/Mark Flatten (Fifth of a five-part series): Missed leukemia diagnosis by Veterans Affairs doctors leaves vet living "day to day."

Columnists/Philip Klein: Obamacare premiums rising again.

Columnists/Shikha Dalmia: What Ferguson -- and America -- needs is a white Republican for racial justice.

Columnists/Manhattan Moment: If we don't learn from Ferguson, there will be more such tragedies.

OpEds/Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Fitzgibbons: The case for impeaching Lois Lerner and other IRS lawbreakers.

OpEds/Bob Carey and Josh-Flynn Brown: Laying off troops close to retirements isn't keeping faith.

PennAve/Susan Crabtree: Will Obama follow up on his ISIS red line?

PennAve/Brian Hughes: Obama, realist or defeatist?

PennAve/David M. Drucker: This time around, Rick Perry rolls his sleeves up.

Legal Newsline/David Yates: California GOP candidates face financial disparity.

Video Morning Examiner: Morning Examiner with Steve Doty for Aug. 22.

In other news

Time Magazine: How some survive deadliest Ebola outbreak ever.

U.S. News & World Report: Most popular items in DOD's catalogue for cops.

Newsweek: Putin orders convoy to cross border without Ukraine permission.

Righty Playbook

National Review Online: Obama's made-for-tv world view.

The Weekly Standard: Bartleby, the president.

Legal Insurrection: Gov. Rick Perry refuses to be derailed by Texas Democrats.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: How to shrink your church in one easy step.

Lefty Playbook

The Daily Beast: On Obama vs. ISIS, this time it's personal.

New Republic: Ferguson's schools are just as troubling as its cops.

Talk Left: Final ISIS email to Foley's family was filled with threats to America.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: Ruling on nuclear waste storage could create a catastrophic risk.

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