It’s Bill Burton, former White House deputy press secretary, founder of Priorities USA, and defender of that infamous ad from Campaign 2012 that kinda sorta accused Mitt Romney of killing a woman because her husband got laid off from a company Bain owned. Not a man prone to shame, in other words. And yet, here he is, mea culpa-ing his way out of a glaring double standard after lefties spent eight years crapping on Bush for decamping to Crawford from time to time.
Well, sort of. As my pal Karl notes, Burton’s admission of guilt is helpfully buried 20 paragraphs deep in a 22-paragraph apologia for Obama leading the fight against ISIS from the 18th hole.
I’m not sure why the New York Times thinks it can read minds, but knowing this president, I know one thing with great clarity: The savagery of those who attack Americans is never far from his mind. This notion that he can detach is mostly wrong. For the man who gave the green light to take out Osama bin Laden and is often first to hear the reports of American servicemen and women who die in missions that he ordered, the savagery of this world is not far from the forefront of his mind at every moment of the day.
I don’t remember, but I assume that I was one of the many Democrats who gleefully took shots at President George W. Bush for the time he spent at Crawford—and if so I regret it. Presidents are better for having time out of Washington, even better for time away with their families.
Whether you’re a partisan or a cynical reporter who has been making the same critique about presidential vacations for decades, I assume you probably agree that human beings function better when they get a little time away. I wouldn’t want my surgeon to be some woman who hasn’t had a break in 4 years.
Burton’s not the only big-name Hopenchange veteran lately to swallow hard and apologize to the Bushitler. David Axelrod did so a few days ago, saying, “We used to pillory George Bush for going to his ranch and we were wrong.” Guys like that aren’t given to defending Republicans, even opportunistically, unless they feel they’ve exhausted all other spin options. What they’re telling you here, in so many words, is that perceptions that Obama is disengaged are now enough of a political liability for Democrats to warrant a few well-placed “sorry, Dubya” comments. I wonder what data they’re seeing to make them nervous. In both the Gallup daily tracker and the RCP average, Obama’s job approval is actually slightly better now than it was at the start of August. He’s not hemorrhaging support by any means. What are they worried about? Possibly they think either Ferguson or the war against ISIS or something else is going to fall apart before the midterms and then the GOP will have a field day with ads juxtaposing O teeing off with headlines about impending disaster. Not sure how a “Bush was right” soundbite will ameliorate that, but okay.
Take a minute today, though, to appreciate that this guy, the epitome of in-touch cultural cool in 2008, is now so at risk of being seen as “out of touch” that Axelrod and Bill Burton have to eat sh*t publicly as damage control. Oh well. As Amanda Curtis could tell you, sometimes even the most practiced Democrat run out of things to say.