Turn on the TV or the radio and you’ll hear Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) criticizing Barack Obama and his administration’s response to the guy who tried to blow up his underwear on a Transatlantic Christmas flight. They wonder why it took Obama all of 72 hours to address the situation, and King said the president should act in a “bipartisan way” to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again.
Yes, in theory that’d be great. Who doesn’t love bipartisanship?
To answer our own question: The GOP doesn’t.
Here’s a headline from today’s Washington Post: “Republicans see political opportunity in Obama response to failed airplane bomb”
Republicans are jumping on President Obama’s response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner as the latest evidence that Democrats do not aggressively fight terrorism to protect the country, returning to a campaign theme that the GOP has employed successfully over the past decade.
Just to be clear, Omar Abdulmutallab boarded a plane in Amsterdam (a place where TSA doesn’t screen passengers) and tried to blow himself up over Detroit. Yes he was on watch lists, and of course he shouldn’t have made it onto that flight (Obama said as much), but how are flight security and intelligence sharing any different under Obama than they were at the end of the Bush term? (They’re not.) Further, to the Congressmen criticizing Obama now: where were you over the past 12 months? Where’s one spot where you asked for changes or improvements in air security? (We’ll save you some time; it never happened.)
They say they want bipartisanship and change and better homeland security, but it doesn’t take a detective to see their hypocrisy in this situation. First Peter Hoekstra is already using the underwear bomber as a fundraising tool. L0vely.
More amazingly, this entire situation is contrasted beautifully by Richard Reid’s attempt to blow up a plane with his shoes eight years ago. From Politico (shockingly):
Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber’s attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate…
In an appearance Monday on WCBS-TV in New York, King said, “I’m disappointed it’s taken the president 72 hours to even address this issue. Basically nobody, the president, the vice president, the attorney general, nobody except [Homeland Security] Secretary [Janet] Napolitano has come out. And she said yesterday everything worked well. What I hope the president would do is treat this in a bi-partisan way, acknowledge that mistakes were made and promise we’ll do all we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Asked Tuesday about how Obama’s response differed from Bush’s, King said it was his “recollection” that senior Bush Administration officials such as Attorney General John Ashcroft did speak out about Reid’s case soon after he was arrested. However, POLITICO could not locate any public comment from Ashcroft before he held a press conference when Reid was indicted nearly a month later.
In other words, King went before cameras with a talking point that could be disproved with a Nexis search. Republicans say over and over that they want nothing more than to work with Obama, but moments later they say “[Health care] will be his Waterloo” and fire off fundraising letters seeking to capitalize on terrorism.
Of course, this is nothing new. All the way back on January 27, 2009 — ONE WEEK into Obama’s presidency — Jim Inhofe was complaining about Obama’s agenda:
It lasted about two days,” quipped Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), when asked if the honeymoon was over.
Why so soon?
Because, he said, conservatives are just “not receptive” to Obama’s agenda.
Of course, Jim Inhofe also thinks that climate change is a myth and doesn’t understand the simplest concept of democratic government: elections have consequences. When you lose elections (and lose on a huge embarrassing scale), that’s a rebuke of your agenda; that’s a message that the way you’ve done things for eight years didn’t work.
And yet here we are; Obama handles a situation in literally the exact same way as his predecessor — a way that both Democrats and Republicans were okay with — and he’s attacked as “weak-kneed.” From the Tea Party Patriots to “moderates” like Peter King, does this Republican Party look at all like a party that wants to work with Obama?