I’ve gotten a few critical letters calling me out for
praising our president too fulsomely, or rather too reflexively in the
last post, particularly when I said he “came through with flying colors”
in his Tuesday night address to the nation.
There’s probably something to this. It’s probably more honest to say, simply, that he didn’t disappoint.
And that’s really no mean thing.
In any case, in moments like this (if one can use that phrase) I try to
adopt what I call the Clinton rule. If Bill Clinton were being attacked in
such and such a way would I think it was fair? I find this an instructive
rule in cases, for instance, like the time it took for President Bush to
make his way back to Washington.
The White House’s cryptic (but conspicuously open) announcement
that the White House and Air Force One were targeted seemed like a pretty
transparent effort to knock down criticism of how long the president staid
On the other, give the guy a *$#@%& break.
I mean, I’m sure whatever thinking went into keeping the president
hopping around the country wasn’t something that started with him or Karl
Rove, but rather the Secret Service and the military. But if this were
Clinton in this situation, I think I’d consider this sort of criticism
crass overkill. And it’s seems the same to me in this case.
Coming up next: if this is ‘war’, what could this require from us, and
what must it require of us? And perhaps most importantly, how
should our response differ — not quantitatively but qualitatively
— from earlier retaliations to terrorist attacks?