Roger’s Rules

Why the President should stop whining

There as been an avalanche of commentary, much of it very good, comparing former Vice-President’s Dick Cheney’s AEI speech on the moral conduct of the war on terror and the President’s speech on the same subject. My fellow PJM columnist Victor Davis Hanson recently noticed some cracks in the impressive Obama facade. With yesterday’s performance, I’d say those cracks had become gaping fissures. Not everyone will agree, of course, but I hope that even Obama’s partisan acolytes will agree that there is something unseemly about the President whining about the supposed sins of his predecessors even as he scrambles to continue as much of their policies as he can without totally alienating his left-leaning base. Cheney spoke with quiet dignity yesterday. Many people noted the damage done by his hand grenade tossed under the skirts of The New York Times — why Oh why did they publish details of the secret Terrorist Surveillance Program on their front page? (and why were they not prosecuted for it?) — but the real burden of the former Vice-President’s remark was this: for 7 years, the Bush administration kept America safe from a repeat of 9/11. The Obama administration has specialized in exhibitions of moral outrage over the actions of America’s intelligence agencies and armed forces. But what if the changes they contemplate make America less safe? What if our terrorist enemies, sensing weakness, smelling fear, are emboldened to attack us again? What will Obama say then? Will that too be the fault of the Bush administration, whose moral antennae were not so sensitively calibrated as Barack Obama’s, Nancy Pelosi’s, and Harry Reid’s? No, the President should stop whining and start going about his business like a man, not a Harvard lawyer.