Alec Jacobs, Staff Writer
Ideology: Conservative Republican | Writing from: George Washington University
I can’t express how tired I am of hearing conversations in which conservatives aren’t allowed to question anything Obama does without being told by liberals that “it’s too soon to criticize.” Not only is this absurd, it’s hypocritical: this comes from the same people (liberal bloggers, liberal pundits, and average liberal Americans) who were criticizing George W. Bush immediately after he took office. Conversations like the following have become almost standard in discussions about the Obama presidency:
CONSERVATIVE: Boy, President Obama is doing a terrible job with regard to [insert any failed Obama policy/action/misstep here. Examples include the stimulus bill, the public option, choosing Joe Biden as his running mate, etc. The list goes on.]!
LIBERAL: Hey man, it’s only been [insert the amount of time Obama has been President, whether it’s five days or eight months]! You can’t fairly judge him based on [again, amount of time he has been president]. You need to wait out his first term and see how it goes, kind of like how we did with George W. Bush, who we treated fairly and respectfully and who we never booed during a joint session of Congress!
CONSERVATIVE: Wait, you guys—
LIBERAL: [Sense someone about to challenge his opinion] Gotta run!
How long do conservatives have to wait before speaking up about the president’s policies without liberals crying foul, and saying that it hasn’t been a long enough time to judge? This is an actual question that I want to propose to those reading this. Do conservatives wait a year? The rest of his term? Several years after his first (and only) term is over, so that there has been a proper reflection period?
Maureen Dowd, liberal extraordinaire and New York Times columnist, didn’t hesitate before slamming Bush and blaming him for everything she saw wrong with America. Here’s a column from April 1, 2001, in which she venomously describes President Bush as “The Asbestos President,” less than three months after his inauguration. This was far from the first column she wrote criticizing Bush (those started almost immediately, not counting the ones written during the campaign), but this part stood out to me most:
“With the guidance of his regents, the Duke of Halliburton and Cardinal Rumsfeld, W. has set off the specter of a mushroom cloud of carcinogens and carbon dioxide emissions, nuclear power and ”China Syndrome” fears, rapacious drilling and retrenchment on women’s rights, the missile shield, spy tensions and the cold war.”
If Bush had actually accomplished a “retrenchment on women’s rights,” along with everything else Dowd mentioned, this might have been a critique worth hearing, but he didn’t. Dowd was out to criticize Bush just to have a topic for her column. At least when conservatives have criticized Obama, they criticize things he’s actually done, unlike Dowd, who sees nothing wrong with blaming a “retrenchment on women’s rights” on Bush after two months in office.
Let’s look at what conservatives have criticized President Obama for actually accomplishing, or trying to accomplish, in his first eight months as president. Just to name a few key things, he has spent or has announced plans to spend trillions of dollars, which is a number unfathomable to any of us. He has been pushing an unpopular health care plan and widely opposed “cap and trade” legislation. These initiatives are the antithesis of conservatism and are things conservatives should be able to criticize. Conservatives are going to oppose liberal policies whether the left likes it or not, regardless of how long it’s been since Obama, or any liberal President, has taken office.
However, this isn’t just about Obama’s policies, but rather the hypocrisy of the left. Liberals criticized George W. Bush immediately after his term began for things he was incapable of accomplishing in just over two short months, and they’re okay with those criticisms. Conservatives raise legitimate concerns over things Obama has actually done in his first eight months in office, and that’s unacceptable to liberals. Will this double standard never end?