Even condolences can be politicized

EVEN CONDOLENCES CAN BE POLITICIZED…. A Russian train derailed, en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg last night, killing at least 26 people and injuring nearly 100 more. Some of the early reports indicate that Russian officials believe a bomb on the tracks may have been the cause of the crash, which, if true, would make it Russia’s deadliest terrorist attack in years.

The White House, which has been cultivating closer ties to Russia, issued a statement with some fairly routine language — saying that U.S. officials are “deeply saddened by the terrible loss of life,” “our hearts go out,” etc.

Andrew Malcolm, the LA Times’ political blogger and former Laura Bush press secretary, has decided that he disapproves of the White House’s condolences.

Perhaps it’s just to show the world that, even on a slow-news U.S. post-holiday day, the Obama crowd is on the job. […]

We’ll have to watch and see what criteria the 10-month-old Obama administration uses to issue such regular comments — what type disaster merits comment, how many dead to warrant a White House message, and in what country.

If it’s every multiple-death incident in every country, they’re going to be pretty busy in the press office. But at least they have jobs.

Malcolm added that the White House’s statement extending condolences was “not presidential.”

Now, there may be a kernel of an interesting point in there somewhere. The White House probably isn’t going to issue a press statement in response to every deadly incident around the world.

But it’s Malcolm’s larger observation that reinforces questions about his reflexive partisanship. Russia may have just seen its deadliest terrorist incident in years; the White House issues a statement; and the LA Times’ blogger whines that it’s “not presidential”? C’mon.