Friday, January 8, 2010

An Unlikely Supporter

Former Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia used to be a Republican, and he used to set the bar (sorry) for nutsery, including his tirades during the Clinton administration when he led the charge for impeachment. But apparently the GOP got too crazy even for him — he’s now a Libertarian and is a supporter of, among other things, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which he helped author. Now he’s supporting President Obama against attacks from the likes of Dick Cheney.

…the sniping at the president by Republicans, including former Vice President Cheney, and by conservative radio and TV commentators, borders on — if not passing into — asinine.

The criticism has included such childishness as blasting Obama for waiting a few days before making a national speech on the incident. For heaven’s sake, the president was briefed on the incident from the moment it occured; he made statements almost immediately indicating his concern and that he was being regularly briefed; he took time to gather the facts and meet with his national security team; and then he appeared publicly to give a rational, measured, but hard-hitting response. And for this, a former vice president criticizes him.

Partisanship truly has pervasively infected our political system when a reasonable, measured, factual, timely and substantive response by a president to a single security incident — the roots of which clearly indicate long-simmering problems that predated his tenure in office — is publicly blasted as irresponsible. In point of fact, those levelling such counterproductive attacks are the ones engaging in irresponsible behavior.

I’m pretty sure there are areas with which Mr. Barr vehemently disagrees with President Obama, and I’m also pretty sure that he will speak up about them. But what sets him apart from the other critics is that he is willing to acknowledge when he’s doing the right thing and when he’s being attacked for purely partisan reasons that have nothing to do with common sense.