The Corner

James Fallows’s Double Standard

James Fallows of The Atlantic, terribly concerned about appropriate public discourse from former high-ranking public officials, writes this:

I am not aware of a case of a former president or vice president behaving as despicably as Cheney has done in the ten months since leaving power, most recently but not exclusively with his comments to Politico about Obama’s decisions on Afghanistan. . . . Cheney has acted as if utterly unconcerned with the welfare of his country, its armed forces, or the people now trying to make difficult decisions. He has put narrow score-settling interest far, far above national interest.

Let’s see if we can help Mr. Fallows by going way, way, way back in history — to, say, the George W. Bush presidency, when former vice president Al Gore charged that Bush had “brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest president since Richard Nixon,” and that Bush had “betrayed this country” and was a “moral coward.”

Funny, but I’m not aware that Fallows had anything critical to say about Gore at the time, even though what Gore said about Bush is far more personal and ad hominem than anything Cheney has said about Obama. You would think that Fallows, if he were concerned about the welfare of his country, its armed forces, or the people then trying to make difficult decisions, would have spoken up at the time. But shockingly he did not. Perhaps he was putting ideological politics far, far above national interest. But who can tell?

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