One of the most laborious matters approximately politics is a mindset that announces “scandal for thee, however no longer for me.”
Consider the perennial (alleged) scandal of presidential golf. When George W. Bush was commander in leader, he performed quite a few golf, and his critics have been outraged — or at the least pretended to be.
Whether it become the political strain or his own moral sense, President Bush in the long run decided to forestall golfing. “I don’t need some mother whose son might also have recently died to peer the commander in leader gambling golf,” Bush informed Politico in 2008. “I sense I owe it to the families to be in harmony as exceptional as I can with them.”
Now it’s President Obama who performs a variety of golfing. According to the Web website online Obamagolfcounter.Com (sure, you read that proper), he’d hit the hyperlinks on 270 days of his presidency as of Jan. 1. In March, the variety reached 281. That’s kind of 10 percent of his presidency.
But the left-wing crowd that denounced Bush for golfing has fallen silent, while the proper-wing crowd that didn’t care a whit approximately how Bush set free is incensed with the aid of Obama’s enjoyment pastime.
One can play the equal game with presidential vacations.
Whenever Obama chooses now not to allow a terrorist assault or other emergency cut quick his day without work, his supporters justify his absence by way of insisting that the president shouldn’t be held “hostage” to the information cycle, or that he shouldn’t get in the manner of first responders.
That’s what they said ultimate week whilst Obama stayed installed Martha’s Vineyard as opposed to surveying flood harm in Louisiana.
These are true excuses, but ones that by no means appeared to work for his predecessor.
Indeed, then-Sen. Obama pounced on Bush for not without delay touring Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
“We can speak about levees that couldn’t preserve, approximately a FEMA that seems now not simply incompetent but paralyzed and powerless. About a president who simplest noticed the humans from the window of an airplane rather than down right here on the ground,” Obama preached in New Orleans in 2005.
In 2007, after the Bush administration had spent greater than $a hundred billion on Katrina recuperation efforts, Hillary Clinton turned into nevertheless announcing the sufferers have been “invisible” to Bush.
Perhaps Donald Trump had these criticisms in mind whilst, in a intelligent political flow closing week, he flew to Louisiana, shaming Obama into announcing he would additionally survey the harm in man or woman.
Of direction, politics is about extra than truly making the fine decisions at the merits. “Optics,” because the political specialists say, count number. Asked why he hadn’t been to Louisiana in advance, Trump explained helpfully, “I had nothing to gain earlier than.”
But the fact stays that the requirements of politics often circulate like a seesaw, with the weight of 1 side’s hypocrisy raising the alternative. And that’s OK for partisans. They’re presupposed to searching for advantage over their combatants.
I’m a good deal much less forgiving of the media. Hurricane Katrina turned into undoubtedly a large tale, and investigating the federal response to it changed into squarely within the fourth estate’s wheelhouse. But there’s surely no denying that the news media used that catastrophe as a partisan cudgel against a Republican president it detested.
Worse, the media congratulated themselves with no end in sight for his or her Katrina insurance in spite of the truth that they together did a terrible task. Reports of roving rape gangs were broadcast uncritically. While the media hired heroic skepticism about Bush’s assurances, the New Orleans police leader’s claim of “little infants getting raped” in the Superdome sailed on via.
One activist at the Huffington Post reported that 4 days after the hurricane, black human beings had resorted to eating the flesh of the lifeless.
Eleven years later, Louisiana is struggling thru any other flood disaster. Where’s the outraged swarm insurance of Obama’s (non-)reaction?
Journalism college students are famously taught, “If your mom says she loves you, check it out.” But in addition they seem to were informed that if a president you hate is on the ropes, let it fly; if a president you like is inside the equal spot, fall silent.