Double-Standards? They're Soaking In Them

Howard Portney and James Taranto explore how the New York Times described our former president’s summer sojourn in 2001, versus our current president’s August vacation:


James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today” column takes a stroll down memory lane into the morgue of the nation’s newspaper of record to see how it covered an event back in 2001 and the same event eight years later. The event in question was/is the sitting president’s first summer vacation.First the 2001 version:

On Friday, as new unemployment figures painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy, Mr. Bush placed himself in the same scenes — golfing and fishing in a New England paradise — that once caused his father electoral grief.

Simply amazing.

And what, pray tell, was the unemployment rate at that time? Why, 4.5 percent, “five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the average for 2000.”

Now for the 2009 version. First, to set the stage, the current rate of unemployment rate is 9.4% — more than twice the rate during the summer of 2001. So, does the Times urge the current president to scrap his vacation plans and scurry back to the Oval Office post-haste to attend to this crisis? Not exactly. Let’s go to the film:

Mr. Obama, whom aides described as being amused by all of the gloom-and-doom prognosticating over his health care agenda, did not even consider skipping his vacation. Last year, he talked about the importance of taking a break to avoid “making mistakes.”

And there you have it. As James Taranto himself would say, “two newspapers in one.”


Of course, it was only a few months earlier, in April of 2001, that Time magazine wrote up a cursory review of then-President Bush’s first 100 days, and with noses upturned, dubbed him, “the least experienced presidential nominee of modern times”, despite being elected to two terms as governor of one of America’s largest states, whose father had spent 12 years in the White House first as veep and then as president.

As for our current president’s youth and inexperience (to borrow from the Gipper’s jape at Walter Mondale in 1984), questioning that last year during the campaign brought up the leftwing retort that Harry Stein turned into the title of his newest book — and far worse:

Geraldine Ferraro acknowledged a simple truth about Barack — that a white guy with this thin a resume would be hooted off the stage — and she’s the one who got hooted off the stage. This week, Randi Rhodes, the excitable anchorette of the flailing liberal radio network Air America, dismissed Mrs. Ferraro as “David Duke in drag,” and for good measure called Hillary “a big f***ing whore.”

Double-standards? The left is soaking in them.


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