Sometimes, when events of the day prevent me from blogging on something in a timely manner, by the time I sit down to write, I found that other bloggers (or pundits) have pretty much said what I have to say–and often better than I could say it. And in the case of the dueling speeches yesterday, two bloggers did just that.
As we all know, President Obama helped elevate an address of Vice President Cheney by scheduling his speech “shortly after news surfaced that Cheney was planning his.“ The contrast showed that Obama is not particularly good on defense (in the tactical rather than policy sense of the term) something that might come to haunt him should the media become less fawning and more critical.
Writing on the New York Times’s web-page, Andrew McCarthy of the National Review, offers:
The need to castigate his predecessor, even as he substantially adopts the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policy, is especially unbecoming in a president who purports to transcend our ideological divisions.
Jennifer Rubin used Charles Krauthammer’s most recent column to make a similar point. He has observed that the President was, by and large, adopting his predecessor’s policies, concluding, “Bush policies in the war on terror won’t have to await vindication by historians. Obama is doing it day by day. His denials mean nothing. Look at his deeds.” Building on that point, Rubin wonders why the President Doth Protest Too Much:
And that, more than anything, might explain the oddly purposeless speech yesterday. The president did indeed protest too much, suggesting how much it must pain him (and certainly his disappointed supporters) to concede how much Bush got right. He might disparage the motives of his predecessor — how pedestrian that they should succumb to the urge for self-preservation, he sniffs — but he can’t escape the world in which he must now govern. Just as Bush did, he must find a secure location away from American cities and towns to house the worst-of-the-worst. Just as Bush did, he must find a procedure for processing wartime detainees. Just as Bush, he must avoid defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan. And on and on it goes.
Yes, it must be infuriating to realize the all-purpose bogeyman of the Left had these challenges and more or less got it “right.” So Obama must pout and fuss, try to stomp on the news cycle of his predecessor’s vice president and deny, deny, and deny.
The President lacks the humility to credit his predecessor for developing policies he’s now adopted as his own. And either to please his base or to satisfy his own sense of self-righteousness, he feels it incumbent upon himself to continue to attack that good man.
That’s hardly post-partisan politics. That’s returning to that old Washington pattern, as one politician put it, “where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.“
It seems Barack Obama is still in campaign mode, preferring attacking his predecessor to uniting the nation.
When has an incumbent President of the United States so readily and regularly sought to shift the blame to his political rivals?