Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

December 30, 2009

THE APPLES-TO-APPLES COMPARISON.... Karl Rove pried himself away from his divorce attorney yesterday, just long enough to show up on Fox News to condemn President Obama for waiting three days before commenting publicly on the failed Abdulmutallab plot. Rove added that he was outraged that White House officials "couldn't bother to interrupt [the president's] vacation."

What a hack.

Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber's attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of September 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called "shoe bomber," Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.

It's rare to get such a perfect apples-to-apples comparison. Reid and Abdulmutallab used the same chemical, the same target, the same intended consequence, in same month of the year, with the same twisted ideology. Reid's attempt happened when Bush was away from the White House; Abdulmutallab's attempt happened when Obama was away from the White House.

Any fair evaluation makes clear that the Obama team's response was faster, more thorough, and offered more depth.

While the Obama White House issued a background statement through a senior administration official calling the incident an "attempted terrorist attack" on the same day it took place, the early official statements from Bush aides did not make the same explicit statement.

Bush did not address reporters about the Reid episode until December 28, after he had traveled from Camp David to his ranch in Texas.

Democrats do not appear to have criticized Bush over the delay. Many were wary of publicly clashing with the commander-in-chief, who was getting lofty approval ratings after what appeared to be a successful military campaign in Afghanistan. The media also seemed to have little interest in pressing Bush about the bombing, or the fact that the incident had revealed a previously unknown vulnerability in airplane security -- that shoes could be used to hide chemicals or explosive devices.

Here's the kicker: while major news outlets have given Obama detractors all kinds of airtime since Friday, six days after Reid's attempted terrorism, Bush fielded 15 questions from reporters. They asked about the then-president's holidays plans, but asked literally zero questions about the terrorist attempt to blow up an airplane over American soil six days prior.

If Republicans and/or political reporters can explain this stunning double-standard, I'd love to hear it.

Steve Benen 11:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

If Republicans and/or political reporters can explain this stunning double-standard, I'd love to hear it.

We mustn't dwell on the past

Posted by: martin on December 30, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I had hoped to see some actual policy talk at Political Animal, but all I see here is a bunch of political grandstanding no better than what the Republicans themselves are doing.

Please talk about the actual security issues involved some more. This failed attack was a serious security failure, as Obama has said. Frankly, I'm quite mad about it, and would like to see Obama get a little mad about it too.

Posted by: polthereal on December 30, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

and after richard reid failed, the TSA's "operation window dressing" made us take off our shoes before getting on an airplane. therefore......

Posted by: mellowjohn on December 30, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

The difference is the opposition. There was no public fuss because Democratic politicians and pundits refused to make a fuss. Had they done so, it would have been "news" and would likely have been covered by an all-too-compliant media.

Plus, everyone "knows" that Democrats are "soft on terror."

Sigh....

Posted by: PaulB on December 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Polthereal, CNN's Ed Henry last night thought Obama had got a little mad about it in his Tuesday appearance.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on December 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, Bush was at 90% in the polls in December 2001 and was virtually godlike and untouchable. He could have beaten someone to death with his golf club and it would have been ok.

Posted by: Speed on December 30, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK
I had hoped to see some actual policy talk at Political Animal, but all I see here is a bunch of political grandstanding no better than what the Republicans themselves are doing.

Uh-huh, the usual false equivalence troll. For the record, pointing out that Republicans are overwhelmingly hypocritical is not, by any stretch of the imagination, "no better than what the Republicans themselves are doing."

As for policy, like all blogs, this blog is a mixture of both policy and politics. You don't like what you're reading? Go elsewhere. You won't be missed.

Please talk about the actual security issues involved some more.

What, precisely, is there to talk about that isn't being covered, ad nauseam, elsewhere? This was an isolated and unfortunate incident and it didn't work, just as was the case with the shoe bomber.

This failed attack was a serious security failure, as Obama has said. Frankly, I'm quite mad about it, and would like to see Obama get a little mad about it too.

And that will help, how, exactly?

Posted by: PaulB on December 30, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

This is what happens when you have a President who puts mustard on his hamburger. Millions are killed in daily terrorist attacks.

Posted by: Conservatroll on December 30, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

The media double standard can be summed up with two words - cowardice and laziness. The fact that Cheney and his daughter are allowed to spew their absurd allegations after 8 years of serial national security incompetence is mind boggling. The fact is Bush/Cheney were oblivious to the terror threat prior to 9/11 and incompetent in its aftermath.

Posted by: RolloTomasi on December 30, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

The Reethugs are yelling rape in a crowded theatre, with only a smattering of wing nuts listening.

Posted by: Ted76 on December 30, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Here are some issues I wonder about:

1. Information collected at the US embassy in Lagos was passed on to CIA headquarters and was buried there. This seems a replay of pre 9/11 when FBI and CIA didn't share info. Why is this still happening and what was the CIA rationale?

2. In a computer age one would think addtion of name to 500,000 watch list - should be something computers could cope with. ie. Father expressing concern (who knows what family feuding might be involved) shouldn't get one added to a no-fly list but surely should get one added to a extra screening at the airport list. Is the problem that names get misspelled- Why not use a number - you must have a passport to apply for a visa, so shouldn't State department have a Nigerian Passport No. and when they reviewed report from embassy- which they apparently filed in his VISA file to be considered if he applied to renew his visa, shouldn't the Passport # have been added to the watchlist.

3. Francis Townsend says UK should have shared fact that UK refused visa. I don't think this is the case or relevant. The reports I have seen say UK refused visa application because he was applying to study at a non-existent school. Hardly something that seems terrorist related except in retrospect.

I suspect the problem may be computers that can't talk to each other- which is crazy but....Republicans weren't very good at governing and they set up the current system

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on December 30, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"... and would like to see Obama get a little mad about it too".

Just what in the sam hill does this mean?

That the President should be yelling and shrieking like a banshee?

It makes me very sad to know that there are so many really stupid people in this country. No wonder the people in the jungles of Boreno are more intelligent than people like polthereal.

Posted by: Sammy on December 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

If Republicans and/or political reporters can explain this stunning double-standard, I'd love to hear it.

Their enormous record of blatantly shameless hypocrisy doesn't cover it?

Posted by: DH Walker on December 30, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Different times, different president, different responses. This isn't then. Times have changed, and the O-people need to get ahead of the curve, BOTH on the PR front, AND the real substance of the issue. As a frequent traveller, one wonders - how much security do all those well meaning low paid TSA people provide, vs. what the infrastructure/people is behind them? Now, it appears, that what is behind them still cannot "connect the dots". AARRGH.

Posted by: bigwisc on December 30, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect the problem may be computers that can't talk to each other- which is crazy but....

A I recall, this is a big problem that keeps getting worse. Didn't the FBI under the Bush admin, spend millions of dollars to upgrade their system only to have it be a total wreck?

Posted by: martin on December 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Just what in the sam hill does this mean?

It means that "polthereal" wants Obama to beat his chest and yell the kind of cheap adolescent action-movie tough-guy dialog the Republicans always do, right before not doing a goddamn thing about actually solving the problem, just like the Republicans always do.

Posted by: DH Walker on December 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I'm quite mad about it, and would like to see Obama get a little mad about it too.
Posted by: polthereal

Fortunately, policy is decided by the non-bedwetting adults, now.

Posted by: Gonads on December 30, 2009 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Steve. Steve. Please.

If Republicans and/or political reporters can explain this stunning double-standard, I'd love to hear it.

For the last time, IOKIYAR.

Posted by: Robert Pierce on December 30, 2009 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I hear ya polthereal -- I can't believe that a blog named "Political Animal" spends all its time talking about the politics and political implications of the news. Too bad there aren't any other blogs out there we could choose from.

Posted by: zeitgeist on December 30, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

No one with an IQ of even 80 should have believed that removing shoes and not carryig a baby's sippy cup of water througn airport security was protecting anyone or anything. This was a farce from the begining.

Removing shoes and throwing out the sippy cup contents was only done in this country, not in the UK where the never-got-off-the-ground plot to blow up airliner with drinking water was discovered.


Posted by: Sammy on December 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Johnny Canuck, for posting something of substance.

What makes me sad is that Political Animal used to be a balanced mix of policy and politics. In the response to the Abdulmutallab incident, it seems to have gone into a purely political mode, repeatedly offering posts in effect saying "look at all these overreacting Republicans." To my liberal mind, that's one of the laziest, easiest things to do in the world. I don't need another blog post to tell me that Republicans are nutty.

While there's been some discussion of the actual security issues on this blog, I haven't seen an acknowledgement that (a) this kind of attempting bombing actually does scare people (Republicans aren't creating the fear by themselves) and (b) the government's handling of it is deeply unsettling (Napolitano should of course stay, but her focus on the "system worked" aftermath is the kind of dunderheaded remark that makes people question their leaders. Great, we have a system that will respond appropriately...after an attack has succeeded!?).

That's why I wanted to see a little more emotion out of Obama--not fear-mongering, just show us you understand our feelings. Glad to hear that someone on CNN at least interpreted it that way--I didn't.

Posted by: polthereal on December 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I feel grateful that we are not discussing how differently Pres. McCain would be treated by the press/opposition than Bush after an attempted terrorist attack. Thank God.

Posted by: christine on December 30, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Give the lady what she wants." Marshall Field.

The lady is getting what she wants. We can bitch and complain all day about the media and the Republicans, but in all honesty, you have to blame the American public. they eat all of this up. As a whole the American people are bitter, and mean-spirited, and that's why the Republicans are so successful with their toxic brand of politics: there's an eager audience for it. If the American people were disgusted by all of this it would stop. they're not, so it won't.

Posted by: SaintZak on December 30, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK
Of course, Bush was at 90% in the polls in December 2001 and was virtually godlike and untouchable. He could have beaten someone to death with his golf club and it would have been ok.
Or, you know, shoot a long-time friend full of shotgun pellets. No, wait, that'd be crazy. I'm sure it would lead to an investigation or at least a scandal... Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on December 30, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. I have no problem talking about politics regularly. For example, that's what I mean about Obama getting "a little mad"--I know that him showing frustration himself doesn't actually produce meaningful change, but part of being a leader is showing that you understand what people are feeling (hello, Bill Clinton). In fact, here's a brilliant political opportunity for Obama to get mad and berate Republicans for holding up his nominations. I bet we'd all be cheering him on if he did that. (Or maybe some of us would be calling him a "bed-wetter?").

Posted by: polthereal on December 30, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

but asked literally zero questions about the terrorist attempt to blow up an airplane over American soil six days prior

Over the Atlantic Ocean, not over American soil.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on December 30, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The funny thing is , and I know this will make you chuckle , there is always some young weather-grunt gunning for the top job . They makes the rain dance !
As is pointed out , dryly commenting on what ratios of activity at the head of the fishies works for grownups . Republican yakkers just seem to possess a genius forget gene . Not just the duffers who missed the entire point for eight long years , but to flip their attitudes one or two sentences along with their cozy central casting hyper fear .
Suppose the whole house is going to come down , we can tolerate knowing why ? Despite having read all about it when you were just a young weatherling ? You will forgive the fireman hosing the fire too ?
The actual story is and has been the use of the consolidation of the media and of government , in the previous administration , as a device to propagandise the American public . Watching the cowards forget now is the story .

Posted by: FRP on December 30, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

...Over the Atlantic Ocean, not over American soil...

So? What on Earth does that have to do with anything?

Posted by: MsJoanne on December 30, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

At least Karl has the "class" to divorce his wife before getting caught boning 15 year old boys at the local Goofy Golf.

Posted by: Trollopoly on December 30, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

kkkarl rove is a fat azz wanker.

this is his second marriage and now second divorce.

maybe he should consider the nunnery... er monkhood and stick with 'self satisfaction'.

LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Posted by: rove is a fat wanker on December 30, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB - Throw me a bone, man. I'm a political junkie but would like to know what the actual break downs were. I have no idea how travel security outside the United States works... a link certainly wouldn't hurt. What's more, it would make it obvious that this wasn't a structural failure.

Posted by: inkadu on December 30, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

What the holy is it lately with all the "This blog doesn't post what I want it to WAHHHHHH!!!" people lately? Or is it just one assface who thinks this blog is all about him/her?

Dear fucking lord -- if you don't like it, send an email to the guy who writes it, his editors, or (easier yet) go somewhere else that provides what you want it to. Don't whine like a child who didn't get dessert. Besides, last I checked, this wasn't "Polthereal Animal." Again, it isn't about you. Get over it.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway ...

We all know that rules are different for Democrats and Republicans. It shouldn't be, but it's just a simple, undeniable fact.

A Democrat gets caught cheating on his wife? IMPEACH HIM!!! HIS CAREER IS OVER!!

Republicans (note the plural) get caught cheating on their wives? Well, it was just a single transgression, and ya know, they're handling it in their own families and ask for everyone's forgiveness.

Same goes with the way they respond to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, foreign policy decisions, budgeting, spending money, nominating justices, filibustering ... whatever. It really doesn't matter. As long as the GOP gets its way, it's totally cool and kosher and the way things should be in America.

But as soon as Democrats are in control, it's vital the GOP still gets its way to ensure bipartisanship.*

(*Bipartisanship = The GOP attacking, lying about, and trashing Democrats at every turn without Dems responding [which would be shrill and divisive] all while still giving the GOP everything it wants.)

Posted by: Mark D on December 30, 2009 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

The blog can post what it wants. Commentators can write what they want. And I can criticize or agree with either.

(Actually, with language like "bed-wetters", "adolescents," and "assfaces," I think criticism of the latter pretty much takes care of itself.)

My point: I think this blog's response to the Abdulmutallab incident has largely ignored the serious security issues at its heart, as well as the weakness of the administration's technocratic response.

Posted by: polthereal on December 30, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK
Thanks, Johnny Canuck, for posting something of substance.

Maybe you should follow his example instead of stupidly whining?

What makes me sad is that Political Animal used to be a balanced mix of policy and politics.

Uh-huh, and it still is. You don't like what's being posted here? Move on. You won't be missed.

repeatedly offering posts in effect saying "look at all these overreacting Republicans."

While the current massive Republican hypocrisy and stupidity merits a big "duh" to those of who actually pay attention, the simple truth is that the mainstream media is *not* paying attention and the more that the hypocrisy and stupidity are highlighted, the better.

To my liberal mind, that's one of the laziest, easiest things to do in the world. I don't need another blog post to tell me that Republicans are nutty.

What, you're incapable of ignoring this post and scrolling to another? Your browser won't let you find another blog? Help us out here.

While there's been some discussion of the actual security issues on this blog, I haven't seen an acknowledgement that (a) this kind of attempting bombing actually does scare people (Republicans aren't creating the fear by themselves)

Pointing out that the fear is unwarranted, which is true, and that the Republicans, as they have done for the past few decades, are deliberately feeding that fear, which is also true, and that the Republicans are engaged in massive hypocrisy to exploit national security for partisan gain, which is also true, are valid topics to spend time on. You don't like it? Move on.

and (b) the government's handling of it is deeply unsettling

Really? I don't find the "government's handling" of the current event to be even remotely "unsettling." Nor have you given me any reason to believe that I should. Come back when you've got something substantive to say. You want to piss your pants in fear and have someone hold your hand, go somewhere else.

(Napolitano should of course stay, but her focus on the "system worked" aftermath is the kind of dunderheaded remark that makes people question their leaders.

Except that what she said was exactly true.

That's why I wanted to see a little more emotion out of Obama--not fear-mongering, just show us you understand our feelings.

And that will help, how, exactly? I want someone competent in charge, not someone to hold my hand and whisper, "there, there..." or to loudly proclaim that "heads would roll." Both are extremely counter-productive.

(Actually, with language like "bed-wetters", "adolescents," and "assfaces," I think criticism of the latter pretty much takes care of itself.)

Yes, because your adolescent whining is just ever so much more productive... Pot. Kettle. Black.

My point: I think this blog's response to the Abdulmutallab incident has largely ignored the serious security issues at its heart

Since you have yet to demonstrate any understanding of national security, much less identify any "serious security issues" with the current incident, forgive us if we are less than impressed by your "analysis."

as well as the weakness of the administration's technocratic response.

ROFL.... I don't think I need to say anything more to that. I do so love a self-refuting post.

Posted by: PaulB on December 30, 2009 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK
My point: I think this blog's response to the Abdulmutallab incident has largely ignored the serious security issues at its heart, as well as the weakness of the administration's technocratic response.

Good for you. That and a $1.09 will get you a double cheeseburger at McDonald's.

The thing is, I'm not sure if you're too dumb or too lazy to find a site that offers what you want, instead of bitching on a site that doesn't.

Seriously. I don't get it.

It's akin to going over to someone's house and bitching about how you don't like their choice in furniture, drapes, paint color, decorations, etc.--things only done by a self-centered boor who thinks it's always all about him.

So, I see no further reason to make this site about you.

Good day, sir.

I SAID GOOD DAY!

Posted by: Mark D on December 30, 2009 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Rove is the [Pink Pig] end of story!

Posted by: D. Lowell on December 30, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Reid and Abdulmutallab did use the same twisted ideology; the same twisted ideology that Americans use to justify their violence.

Posted by: Brojo on December 30, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

If Republicans and/or political reporters can explain this stunning double-standard, I'd love to hear it.

Colbert was right: Stenographers

Posted by: madstork123 on December 30, 2009 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Credit card rules changed mostly for the better for consumers as I understand because now credit card companies have to notify us before they change rates. Also they cant change rates before 60 days.. am I correct? Well, regardless, due to before the laws changed I am still in debt and definitely need debt relief. Debt Free Counselor gives free consultations for any consumers with financial and medical hardship and they have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Posted by: Credit Debt on November 1, 2010 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly