The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza on Thursday offered up a defensive piece explaining “why President Obama isn’t stopping his vacation to visit the Louisiana flooding.” Obama has since reversed course and said he would visit, but Cillizza dismissed the attacks against the President, condescendingly explaining, “Cue outrage.” The Post, however, is the same paper that called George W. Bush’s Hurricane Katrina flyover to be the second “worst” moment of George W. Bush’s presidency.
When it comes to Obama, Cillizza first insisted that “there's really no such thing as a vacation for a president of the United States.” That's certainly not how the Post felt about Bush and Katrina. The President’s initial refusal to cut short his vacation “speaks to Obama's unique and long-lasting commitment to not playing by a core rule of modern politics: making at least some decisions based on ‘how it looks’ and/or ‘how it will play.’"
As though this explains it all, the journalist defended, “Obama just doesn’t like to fake it.”
Speaking of faking outrage, Cillizza did not point out that in 2008 Obama mocked Bush as “a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground, trying to provide comfort and aid.”
As though it exempted himself from the spin he was offering, Cillizza preemptively defended his article by excusing, “But this piece is about how Obama thinks of himself. Not how you or I think of him.”
This is how Howell Raines, the former New York Times executive editor complained about Bush and Katrina.
"The dilatory performance of George Bush during the past week has been outrageous. Almost as unbelievable as Katrina itself is the fact that the leader of the free world has been outshone by the elected leaders of a region renowned for governmental ineptitude....The populism of Huey Long was financially corrupt, but when it came to the welfare of people, it was caring. The churchgoing cultural populism of George Bush has given the United States an administration that worries about the House of Saud and the welfare of oil companies while the poor drown in their attics and their sons and daughters die in foreign deserts."
- Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, September 1, 2005.