Under the header "What if George W. Bush had done that?" Politico's Josh Gerstein indulges the right-wing persecution complex by arguing Barack Obama is benefitting from friendlier media coverage than his predecessor got.
Are you kidding me?
George W. Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq, so he made up some phony reasons for it. And the media, rather than scrutinizing his case for war, helped him along. That was a damn war. That alone pretty much ends the discussion. (Gerstein gives Iraq a passing mention in paragraph 16.)
But lets take a closer look at Gerstein's silliness.
He opens with mention of Obama making a "four-hour stop in New Orleans, on his way to a $3 million fundraiser." Apparently, Gerstein wants us to think that seeming indifference towards, and botched handling of, a deadly natural disaster while it is still unfolding is no worse than stopping at the site of the disaster for four hours ... four years later.
Another: "Doing more fundraisers than the last president. More golf, too."
Bush spent 487 days at Camp David, and 490 days at his ranch in Crawford -- where, among other things, he neglected to read a certain Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to attack Inside the U.S." A month later, Bin Laden did. I trust Gerstein will let us know when Obama blows off a similar memo during a golf outting.
And quickly add, with a hint of jealousy: How does Obama get away with it?
"We have a joke about it. We're going to start a website: IfBushHadDoneThat.com," former Bush counselor Ed Gillespie said. "The watchdogs are curled up around his feet, sleeping soundly. ... There are countless examples: some silly, some serious."
George W. Bush's predecessor was hounded for years over a land deal in which he lost money, and impeached -- due in no small part to media hyperventilation -- because he lied about an affair. Bush lied about a war and the press helped him do it.
For a reporter to pretend that George W. Bush has gotten tougher treatment from the press than other presidents is laugh-out-loud absurd.
Media observers note that the president often gets kid-glove treatment from the press, fellow Democrats and, particularly, interest groups on the left - Bush's loudest critics, Obama's biggest backers.
There's only one word for that: Stupid.
Seriously, it's a newsworthy phenomenon that Democrats and liberal interest groups were harder on Bush than they have been on Obama? Uh, Josh? What about Republicans and conservative interest groups? Have they, by chance, been tougher on Obama than they were on Bush?
(The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, by the way, has argued "the left has held Barack Obama's feet to the fire way more than the right ever did to George W, Bush." That concept is missing from Gerstein's little essay.)
Don't they have editors at Politico?