Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breathtaking Double Standards, Part III

Parts 1 and 2 of this series are from a previous blog I used to contribute to:

Breathtaking Double Standards

Breathtaking Double Standards (Part II)

I could have easily turned it into a weekly series, but it would get old real fast to keep repeating the painfully obvious, so I have stayed away from the theme.

I was inspired to take it up again by an email that a good friend recently forwarded to me. It basically lists an assortment of the missteps, gaffes and boneheaded policy decisions that have occurred in the first months of the Obama administration (most of which have been excused or glossed over by the media) and rhetorically asks the reader if they would have received similar treatment if George W. Bush were still president.

It apparently has been floating around the internet for a while, and I have no idea who is the original author, but the post has apparently been replicated on quite a few blogs since last May. Instead of just replicating the post again, I am going to try to comment on each item and make an attempt to be somewhat fair about it. Here goes.

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a TelePrompTer
installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed
and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really
controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

George Bush’s mangling of syllables, sentence fragments and other assorted verbal gaffes had almost become proverbial. Of course, they were magnified by a hostile press. In his defense, these occurred primarily during press conferences and other unscripted events. Now if Obama is indeed using a teleprompter even during a press conference, this is indicative of one of two things: (1) He is even more dependent on this crutch than other presidents or (2) he has an incredibly gifted staff that somehow manages to feed the right lines to the president at the right time. If the latter is the case, I would suggest that they give a teleprompter to Robert Gibbs, the press secretary whose job it is to think on his feet and be an articulate spokesperson for the administration. This would cut the time of his press briefings in half by removing all the “uh”s, “um”s and “duh”s and other assorted sentence fragments from his pronouncements. I am not sure if Gibbs’ problem is that he is inarticulate or that he has the unenviable job of defending the indefensible.

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

I am not sure this is an entirely fair criticism, because Presidents are entitled to have a private life and should be able to take the first lady out on a date. Unfortunately, this will inevitably result in the disbursement of taxpayer funds, because it will require an entire entourage of Secret Service agents. On the other hand, I don’t think George and Laura did anything this elaborate, as they seemed to restrict their getaways to the ranch in Crawford, Texas. Of course, had they done a night on the town in NYC, they would have been pounded for it by the same press that excuses the Obamas.

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

With the initial bailouts and pushing for the TARP legislation, George Bush gave Obama political cover for his unprecedented, unlawful and unconstitutional intrusions into the private sector . Of course, Obama took this unprecedented government intervention to new heights. Once having his foot in the door with the Trojan horse of bailout money, he strong-armed the private sector into submitting to his requirements, much to the detriment of all the owners of GM stock. It is a scary thought indeed to think that a U.S. president can in effect fire a C.E.O. What he did to Chrysler and its stockholders was even worse as it was not only unconstitutional in principle, but specifically in clear violation of bankruptcy and contract law.

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

Give the guy a break, for crying out loud! I have two disabled children and I was not offended by the joke. Of course, again, the point remains that the press would have pounded Bush if he had said something similar.

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted VD's, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

I will treat these two together because they are similar in nature. I can only hope and assume that even President Obama is not that inept and tacky, but he does need to fire some inept staff members who evidently are.

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?

Nothing wrong with being deferential to the customs of your host, but he had to know that it is perfectly acceptable to shake hands.

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent
"Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

Yes, this was indeed a gaffe, but who cares?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who
cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

I dare say no one would have approved and, indeed, all such cabinet picks would have been run out of town on a rail if they had been Bush appointees. If my memory serves correctly, the only tax-dodging Obama appointee who had to withdraw was Tom Daschle.

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

This is a tempest in a teapot. As someone who is not Spanish illiterate, I can say that this was a perfectly legitimate and purposeful mangling of words in Spanish. The purists would have wanted him to say “Cuatro de Mayo” to underscore the fact that he was a day early, but that would not have had the oxymoronic oomph of saying “Cinco de Cuatro”.

If George W. Bush had misspelled the word advice would you have hammered him
for it for years like Dan Quayle and potato as proof of what a dunce he is?

Having examined a copy of the handritten note, it does appear that he wrote “advise” instead of “advice”. But who cares? It’s a handwritten note, for crying out loud!

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single
tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

This is true, but to be fair, CBS and other media outlets did point this out.

If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over
millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing
widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what
happened on 9-11.?

True, but it is not fair to blame Obama, who was just as miffed as the rest of us and took corrective action.

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?
Maybe this story is too old, but I can’t find any documentation indicating that the response of the Obama Administration to the Midwest flood victims was inadequate. I am open to correction. On the other hand, the press's pounding of the Bush Administration for Katrina, where the incompetence was at the state and local level, was inexcusable.

If George W Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken
more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

Whenever I or anyone else raises alarm or concern about the Obama deficits, the stock answer is, “Why didn’t you complain about George Bush’s deficits.” In fact, I did. The Bush deficits were inexcusable, and probably one of the main reasons many of his conservative supporters turned against him. But if his $250+ billion deficits were so horrible, why are Obama’s trillion dollar deficits so wonderful?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?


So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive?

Now to be sure, my attempts at being fair and cutting Obama some slack where that is possible does not undermine the basic premise of the posts: That the establishment press would never have cut the same slack to George W. Bush and in fact never did, but ruthlessly attacked him at every turn. In the meantime, they continue to fawn all over the current president.

1 comment:

JD Curtis said...

I think I received a similar email. It just goes to show how in the tank they are for this guy. It never ceases to amaze me.