The Obama-Bush Double Standard

Obama gets away with all kinds of things Bush never tried--or does he?

This article is from the archive of our partner .

To accuse the media of pro-Obama bias is to walk on well-trodden ground, but that didn't stop Politico's Josh Gerstein from laying out a comprehensive new case. By imagining how the press would react to Bush, he argues that Obama has already logged a number of gaffes that would have left his predecessor in the stocks. Right or not, Gerstein has taken some flak:

  • What if the Bush Administration Had Done These? "What's remarkable," writes Josh Gerstein at Politico,"is what hasn't happened." Things that would have gotten Bush into hot water, he says, "haven't become metaphors for Obama's personal and political character--or consuming controversies that sidetracked the rest of his agenda." Among the gaffes on which Gerstein thinks Obama has "gotten a pass": his quick trip to New Orleans before a $3 million fundraiser, "snubbing the Dalai Lama," a "secret deal with drug makers," the attacks on Fox News, and politicizing policy by letting political adviser David Axelrod into Situation Room meetings.
  • Actually, It Did  Rove was in "high-level national security meetings," says Morgan Weiland for liberal fact-checking organization Media Matters. Axelrod isn't pulling a first there. Furthermore, he writes, addressing the suggestions that the media would have been outraged had the Bush team attacked MSNBC the way the Obama's is now attacking Fox, Bush counselor Ed Gillepsie did attack MSNBC. Weiland calls Gerstein's argument "dubious."
  • Bush Had a Honeymoon, Too  Wonkette's Jim Newell doesn't think any "of the items on [Gerstein's] list were or would have been 'consuming controversies that sidetracked the rest of [Bush's] agenda.'" Frankly derisive of Gerstein and exasperated by Politico in general, Newell delivers an entertaining rant regarding Bush's initial kid-glove media treatment as well:
He did not become the punching bag Politico imagines him to have always been until his record started to settle in the dust--after he lost several land wars in random countries, engaged in massive corruption to pass a boondoggle of a prescription drug plan, completely ignored a major city as it was being destroyed and descending into vigilante rule, didn't catch Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar, neutered any semblance of ethics from the Justice and Interior and whatever else departments, started a textbook-illegal program to eavesdrop on Americans' telephone calls, and tortured the dickens out of everyone in secret CIA snow caves and island gulags.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.