Leadership can mean many things to many people. But it’s absence is obvious, as it was with President Barack Obama, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron snapping a “selfie” Tuesday like teenagers at a rock concert and not dignitaries celebrating the life of former South African president Nelson Mandela at his funeral. His funeral. And this was not just any funeral. It was one for a man who led the fight to end apartheid in South Africa and “the great liberator” who “makes me want to be a better man” in Mr. Obama’s soaring words that he spoke at the funeral.
Taking that photo and his flirting with Ms. Thorning-Schmidt undermined his speech. It said: I am outside the rules. I am the center of attention. I don’t have to follow protocol because I am the protocol.