This is especially galling considering how similar the Obama administration's response to the Detroit bombing attempt was to the Bush administration's response to the shoe bomber Richard Reid eight years ago.
Politico notes the hypocrisy:
Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber’s attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.
That stands in sharp contrast to the withering criticism President Barack Obama has received from Republicans and some in the press for his reaction to Friday’s incident on a Northwest Airlines flight heading for Detroit.
The similarities between last Friday’s incident and the attempted shoe bombing in 2001 are striking.
This year’s attack came on Christmas. The attempt eight years ago took place on Dec. 22. Obama was on vacation in Hawaii when the suspect, Omar Abdulmutallab, allegedly used plastic explosives in his try to blow up the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight. Bush was at Camp David when Reid used similar plastic explosives to try to blow up his Paris-to-Miami flight, which diverted to Boston after the incident.
Like the Obama White House, the Bush White House told reporters the president had been briefed on the incident and was following it closely. While the Obama White House issued a background statement through a senior administration official calling the incident an “attempted terrorist attack” on the same day it took place, the early official statements from Bush aides did not make the same explicit statement.
Bush did not address reporters about the Reid episode until December 28, after he had traveled from Camp David to his ranch in Texas.
Democrats do not appear to have criticized Bush over the delay. Many were wary of publicly clashing with the commander in chief, who was getting lofty approval ratings after what appeared to be a successful military campaign in Afghanistan. The media also seemed to have little interest in pressing Bush about the bombing, or the fact that the incident had revealed a previously unknown vulnerability in airplane security — that shoes could be used to hide chemicals or explosive devices.
Do I think Obama should have made a stronger statement on Christmas about the bombing?
From a political standpoint, I do. Knowing that Repubs would jump on this to portray him as weak and ineffectual (i.e.. Jimmy Carter), he should have gone before cameras to say "I'm on top of this, we're investigating and making sure airline security will be safer going forward."
Instead he let Director of Homeland Security chief Janet Napalitano issue her "The system worked..." statement and has been on the defensive ever since.
So two things here - once again, Obama, perhaps in an attempt to break away from the "politics of the past," has allowed an issue to be framed by the opposition party to make him look weak.
Second, Dems are not doing a good enough job pointing out that Bush and Cheney did not respond for days to the Reid bombing, and for that matter, they didn't respond to any of the pre-9/11 intel about an impending attack coming in the U.S. either.
Republicans are very good at lying to the cameras with a straight face - just watch Peter King or Pete Hoekstra on FOX News talk about how responsive the Bush administration was to the Reid bomber and you'll see what I mean.
And Cheney - oh, boy. Five Deferments Cheney, the guy who ran away and hid on September 11, 2001, sure is a tough guy when his fat ass is safe from actual harm. Then he talks about how we're at war and Obama doesn't know we're at war, blah, blah, blah, but when it came to actual effective anti-terrorism policy or creating a system where intelligence agencies actually effectively traded intel, well, that Cheney wasn't so good at.
As you know if you have been reading this blog, I think Obama is an abject failure as president. He's great at demanding accountability from teachers and blaming the education system for the country's ills, but not so great at demanding accountability from the bankers and hedge fund managers who nearly destroyed the economy, the economic policy makers like Bernanke, Geithner and Summers who helped create the economic mess in the first place, or the people in his administration who fail at the very tasks they were put in charge of - like Napolitano at Homeland Security.
But for the party of Bush/Cheney - the people who gave us Katrina, Iraq and 9/11 in the first place - to call Obama incompetent and ineffectual...that's just too much horse#$%* to take.
Too bad Dems aren't calling them on it.