“Fire in the hole!”
The GOP is riled up over the way the Obama administration has handled the recent terrorist attempt. Departments should have been talking together, they say. The terrorist was on a CIA terrorist watch list, why wasn’t he also on a no-fly list?
Obama Homeland Security Czar, Janet Napolitano, told Sunday news talk shows on the Christmas weekend that “the system worked really smoothly.” Huh? What system is that? Passengers jumped a terrorist who had set his underpants on fire? Where those passengers Napolitano plants? You mean she knew about the underpants all along?
Actually, sounds a lot like 9/11, when passengers stopped terrorists and brought down their plane in Pennsylvania. So we are back to that? I guess you and I are the system. Who needs the CIA or FBI or Janet Napolitano? We could gut all three, save zillions of dollars and give the money to needy bank executives.
But the bigger criticism was that Obama was too late to talk to the American people about this. He was enjoying Hawaii when he should have been out front, instead of sending in his lame, Janet Napolitano, whose defensive answers were so offensive that she has since been banned to the Cheney bunker in the Grand Tetons.
Is it fair? Is Obama really soft on terrorism? Or is this payback for using an economic crisis and the U.S. Treasury to payoff voting constituencies? Or for being too apologetic to non-American audiences?
The fact is that presidents are always criticized this way and it is usually because of a deeper concern. When George W. Bush was tardy responding to Hurricane Katrina, when people were trapped on rooftops without water or food or toilets, in the heat, while he watched football games at the ranch, he was criticized too. It was emblematic, they said. He obviously didn’t care enough about the poor. There was a disconnect.
In both cases, the tardy response is tied to a partisan stereotype. Is it blown out of proportion? Is it fair to say that Obama doesn’t care about security or Bush about black people? No. If Bush didn’t care about poor blacks he wouldn’t have pushed for the biggest AIDS relief package for Africa in world history. And Obama certainly doesn’t want another 9/11. Only Sarah Palin would benefit from that.
The point is that this is the way it has always, always happened. Remember, John Adams and the Alien and Sedition Acts? Or are you too young? Was it born out of his bad experience in France, about being rebuffed? Had he always been spoiling for a fight with France ever since? Many people believed so and thus they reacted to every move he made that seemed to affirm the idea. Nothing new in history.
This is partisan politics. But hey, if it forces agencies to work together, if it helps put some spine in Obama’s back, if it makes the country safer, well, keep it up.
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