Gene Lyons is fond of saying that the media follows what he calls “the Clinton Rules” when discussing anything pertaining to our forty-second president. As has been documented repeatedly over the years, the members of the press judge the Clintons by a much harsher set of standards than those they use for Republicans.
But really, the Clinton Rules don’t just apply to the Clintons and their associates, but to the entire Democratic Party; they are always judged by a higher, harsher standard than are Republicans. We’re reminded of this on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis — so much so that it takes something exceptionally blatant to stand out from the constant GOP/Media Complex drone.
Something like this piece by the NYT’s Mark Leibovitch:
Beyond all the hand-wringing about hyper-partisanship that accompanies every discussion here these days, a more subtle — and perhaps pertinent — reality hangs over the much-anticipated Blair House confab: Mr. Obama and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill appear to have no personal chemistry whatsoever.
Mr. Boehner and Mr. Obama have not held a single one-on-one meeting since Mr. Obama’s election, according to Mr. Boehner’s office. Representative Eric Cantor, the House Republican whip, has described Mr. Obama to colleagues as “thin-skinned” and quick to bring up Republican criticisms of him.
Oh, go gag a maggot, why don’t cha? Guess what? Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush — you remember him, the guy who finished out his term with approval ratings on a par with the plague? — treated both Republicans and Democrats like ashtrays. It took until the summer of 2006 before he could be bothered to take notice of either.
Remember, it was Bush and his brain Karl Rove that in late 2002 and early 2003 took advantage of the furor over Trent Lott’s remarks on Strom Thurmond to have him removed as Senate Majority Leader and replaced with Bill Frist, who was far more subservient to the Bush White House than was Lott — who though a Republican still insisted on this whole separation of powers thingy. That’s not the act of a president with a nice warm and fuzzy relationship with his Congressional counterparts.
(This was a furor, by the way, that happened only because some of the then-brand-new liberal bloggers like Atrios, who still remembered how the press helped Trent Lott and the GOP demagogue and smear Paul Wellstone’s memorial event five weeks earlier as it was happening, yet were expending far less time and energy on Lott’s Thurmond statements. Just as they hijacked Joe Lieberman’s Department of Homeland Security idea after first opposing it, Rove and Bush used the Lott-Thurmond hoo-ha to cow Senate and Congressional Republicans into submission. But I digress.)
So please, TradMed, stop it with the “ooh ooh Obama doesn’t play nice with Republicans” crapola. Bush treated Congressional and Senate Republicans far worse than Obama has so far.