Try as I may, I cannot recall any president prior to Obama implying that criticism of the statements of an ambassador to the UN, acting in his/her official capacity as spokesperson, should be off-limits — and especially the approach Obama took, which was to say that the men who criticized Rice (McCain and Graham) were somehow “besmirching” her reputation (Rice is a vulnerable little woman, not just a gender-neutral official, when it suits Obama’s political purposes) and that such comments are “outrageous” and beyond the pale. Should those on the left who criticized Colin Powell for presenting information about WMDs to the UN, information “based on intelligence that he had received,” have been admonished to shut up because they were “besmirching his reputation” in an “outrageous” manner? Of course not, as they’d be the first to tell you. But Rice is apparently off-limits, because Obama says so.
Has any other president even hinted that his appointed officials are beyond reproach, and that anyone who would question them is a lout? There’s something truly imperial about Obama making such a suggestion, and anyone in the press who fails to call him on it is complicit.
It wasn’t just an isolated statement, either. Obama said something very similar during the second debate:
And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the Secretary of State, our U.N. Ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president, that’s not what I do as Commander in Chief.
I really can’t imagine how anyone could hear statements like his and not think: This is a dangerous man. But I’ve learned that most people do not seem to hear the warning bells that are sounding so loudly. The fact that his is a new and alarming attitude, one that is different from that of presidents on both sides in the past, presidents who understood that it was the job of the press and the opposition to criticize them and their administrations, including UN ambassadors, and certainly including women — seems to have been utterly lost. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact that the press hardly ever does criticize Obama, so it has become unthinkable to him and to his supporters.
I would dearly love for some member of the MSM to ask Obama exactly why such criticism is “offensive” when it’s directed at him or at someone in his administration, and yet it was inoffensive (and even laudable) when it was directed at his predecessor George W. Bush and those in his administration. But no, I’m not foolish enough to expect to ever see that day.