Former CBSer and current media critic Bernie Goldberg issued a strong warning to conservatives on Monday: don't behave like the left did when Bush was president -- avoid Obama Derangement Syndrome.
Following in David Horowitz's footsteps, Goldberg told Fox News's Sean Hannity:
You remember when liberals wouldn't give George Bush credit for anything? If he came up with a cure for cancer, they wouldn't have given him credit for that, and I'm sorry, Sean, I see that on the right now.
Such was the beginning of a fascinating discussion between Goldberg and Hannity Monday evening concerning whether or not it was wrong for the Obama administration to take credit for Captain Richard Phillips's rescue from Somali pirates Sunday (video embedded below the fold with full transcript, h/t Hot Air):
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And in "Your America" tonight President Obama remained out of the public eye this weekend as the standoff with the pirates unfolded, but now that Captain Richard Phillips has been successfully rescued, the president has decided to step in front of the spot light and even take some credit for authorizing the mission.
And here with reaction is the author of "A Slobbering Love Affair," FOX News contributor Bernie Goldberg.
Bernie, it's interesting. I noticed this right out of the box. And that was that, they were very noncommittal, and as soon as the success came in, great, you know, according to reports, it was Rahm Emanuel racing to take credit which is the opposite of the way Captain Phillips handled it.
BERNIE GOLDBERG, "A SLOBBERING LOVE AFFAIR" AUTHOR: Well, first of all, I think it was smart for the president not to say anything while these -- while the hostage was being held. If, God forbid, something happened to the captain, that would lessen the stature of the president, and if, God forbid, the president said something provocative and they killed the captain, there'd be a lot of critics blaming Barack Obama for that.
But there's another issue about this that troubles me, Sean, and it troubles me a lot. You remember when liberals wouldn't give George Bush credit for anything? If he came up with a cure for cancer, they wouldn't have given him credit for that, and I'm sorry, Sean, I see that on the right now.
It's like -- I don't want to put Barack Obama on Mount Rushmore for simply being the commander in chief, but we have to stop going out of our way to find fault with every single thing he does.
Look, I think I've got a little credibility on this issue. I don't like his economic policies, I don't like his tax policies, I wrote that book "A Slobbering Love Affair" about how the media slobbered all over him, but I'm just not going to be like the left was with George Bush.
HANNITY: No, I'm.
GOLDBERG: . and criticize everything he does.
HANNITY: I don't want you to misunderstand, but there's an important point here. I think it was very different. There was an orchestrated effort for them to go out there and take credit for this. And that's according to reports.
In other words they wanted the credit. But I think you're right. I think he should have stayed silent, but what we've now discovered is, according to the Politico, is that, in fact, he was legally required to sign on to this. There was no great decision here, in other words.
So -- so I'm seeing the media praise him or overly praise him for something he legally was told by his team he had to do. So the slobbering love affair continues, in other words.
GOLDBERG: Right. I agree with that, but, Sean, were you shocked when you found out that they were gambling in the back room at Rick's Cafe? I mean, of course, the media is going to bend over backwards and see things in the best light for the person that they wanted to be president.
I'm not surprised by that. All I'm saying is -- I'll criticize the media, but what I'm saying is the right has to stop behaving like the left used to behave with George Bush.
HANNITY: You have to show me -- I guess, by definition, if he's -- if I'm discovering here that legally he had to do it, and his PR team led by Rahmbo Emanuel are out there, you know, grabbing credit when the captain is saying, I'm just the byline in the story, I'm saying, wait a minute, there seems to be something wrong, and that that whole story is not being told.
Look, he didn't stop it because he couldn't stop it, apparently, Bernie, so where does he get the credit here?
GOLDBERG: Well, he gets -- if you want to use the word, "credit," I'll use that word.
HANNITY: They're grabbing credit.
GOLDBERG: He gets the credit because -- because he was the commander in chief, it happened on his watch, that's the way it goes in the real world of politics. If something bad happened here, and thank God it didn't.
HANNITY: Thank God.
GOLDBERG: But if something bad happened here, I'll guarantee you, I'll tell you who would have been leading the crusade against him, you, and you may have been right. You may have been right. If something bad happened, you may have said this is because he's seen as soft and they took advantage of him.
GOLDBERG: You might have been right if that happened. But it didn't. Something didn't happen.
HANNITY: Thank God.
GOLDBERG: Look, Sean, the -- that's right. But the good guy is alive and well.
HANNITY: I agree. All right.
GOLDBERG: The bad guys are dead. That's all good. It happened on Barack Obama's watch. He gets.
HANNITY: I'm not, I'm not.
GOLDBERG: If you want to use the word, he gets the credit.
HANNITY: But the only thing is I'm saying here is that they race to grab the credit and apparently we're discovering that legally he had no other option, so there wasn't this -- there wasn't this big effort on his part to -- I'll give him credit when - look, I said Bob Gates was a good choice, OK, for defense secretary.
I think some of the military members that he kept over, national security, but here's the problem. I'm looking at the bigger picture, Bernie, and national security, you know, issues concern me even more than economic issues in the long-term.
HANNITY: Because we can't.
GOLDBERG: Me too.
HANNITY: All right. Overseas contingency operations, we're going to cut back on missile defense. We're unilaterally talking about disarmament. And so, I know that they are raising to bolster his national security credentials, I get that.
But my concern here is, if you've got to take credit for something you really didn't have any choice on, then I think you're manipulating the American people, and that's where I'm running into problems.
GOLDBERG: I don't know what the law says on whether he had to take action. It seems to me just as someone who took a few history and political science courses that he's the commander in chief, he could have taken action or he could not have taken action.
GOLDBERG: I'm not giving him a great deal of credit.
HANNITY: Let me add one thing to this point, and I promise I'll give you the last word, and I'm not going to interrupt you, but from the Politico it says Obama's involvement in the decision was legally required, officials said, because it was a hostage situation, not combat, and unrelated to the already authorized U.S. effort against al Qaeda.
So I guess the point is, if it's already something he has to do, that does add a different dimension, doesn't it, Bernie?
GOLDBERG: OK, well -- yes, again, but I don't know -- it seems to me a commander in chief can say don't shoot those fellows, they're young men, and then we could criticize him. The commander in chief could say send some food over to them, they must be hungry, then we could criticize him.
I just think -- I think if you want to spend your time, Sean, looking at what he might do in the area of foreign policy and national security, absolutely 100 percent legitimate, and I'm probably going to be on your side on that.
This seems to be petty. The criticism here seems to be petty.
HANNITY: Well, look, Bernie.
GOLDBERG: That's my position.
HANNITY: You're entitled to your opinion, but the only thing I'm saying here is I think the way the captain handled the credit by saying I'm a byline. These Navy SEALs saved my life. I think it was classier than racing to the cameras, you know, and your PR people and trying to convince the world you were responsible for something that you may not have even had an option in is a big difference.
GOLDBERG: One was a captain and the other was a politician.
HANNITY: Good answer, so I won you over? All right.
GOLDBERG: Thanks, Sean.
HANNITY: Appreciate your time.
Who do you agree with: Bernie or Sean?