Evidence of a changed climate – and a double standard

EVIDENCE OF A CHANGED CLIMATE – AND A DOUBLE STANDARD…. Oh good, Liz Cheney has a new message to share.

In their eagerness to place blame on President Obama for the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack, Republicans have argued that the president waited too long to talk publicly about the matter…. Liz Cheney’s neoconservative political attack organization, Keep America Safe, is out with a new ad titled “100 hours.” Replete with images of Obama golfing, the ad — which imitates the TV show 24 — ends with the question, “How long did it take you to realize the system failed?”

Of course, while Obama wasn’t speaking publicly about the terrorist incident, he was directing an immediate federal response.

There are three angles to this to consider. The first is that Cheney’s attack against the president is another reminder that strategic thinking is not one of the right’s strengths. The White House chose to delay the public response to deliberately send a message and deny terrorists a p.r. victory. This fairly basic idea seems to be going right over the heads of right-wing activists, including Liz Cheney. It seems as if they’re not quite sharp enough to realize that their whining only makes them appear more confused.

The second, of course, is the hypocrisy. Liz Cheney worked for the Bush/Cheney administration, which faced a nearly identical terrorist attempt in 2001. If we’re counting hours — and “Keep America Safe” thinks we should — it took Bush 144 hours to even acknowledge that the attempted attack had occurred. A total of 168 hours later, Bush delivered a weekly address, and ignored the failed attack altogether. Obama, in contrast, delivered three public speeches and a weekly address in the wake of the failed Christmas plot, and released a security review and a new directive on corrective actions. Which president seemed more engaged?

And third, it’s easy to forget eight years later what the political climate was like in 2001, but try to imagine, just for a moment, what would have happened if, say, MoveOn.org had launched an attack against Bush/Cheney eight years ago, insisting that the White House failed to respond to the shoe-bomb attempt in a credible way.

It’s not tough to guess — MoveOn would be attacked viciously for trying to undermine the Commander in Chief in a time of war. Words like “traitor” and “treason” would be thrown around casually, and assorted media personalities would ask why the group would do promotional work to help terrorists and other American enemies. Democratic leaders would immediately be pressured to distance themselves from the group, and many no doubt would.

Liz Cheney, however, is not only free of any such criticism, she’s a fixture in American media, as if her attacks were reasonable, legitimate, and mainstream. The rules, apparently, have changed rather dramatically.