As the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss has been pointing out, conservatives and hawks are falling all over themselves to hail the failed Christmas Day bombing as a “success.” “This was — this was an attack that didn’t succeed on the scale it was expected to but did succeed,” said Brit Hume on Fox News.
At the same time, conservatives seeking to exploit the attempted attack for political advantage have been contrasting Obama’s record on terrorism with President Bush’s, claiming that the last administration “had a 100 percent perfect track record.” On Fox News yesterday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour declared that “after September 11, not one time did the terrorists who are trying to kill us and end our way of life, not one time were they able to attack the mainland United States.” Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed on Good Morning America today that “We had no domestic attacks under Bush.” Watch it:
Ignoring the irony of Rudy “noun, a verb, and 9/11” Giuliani claiming there were “no domestic attacks under Bush,” the logic of the conservative claim that the failed Christmas Day attack represents a mar on Obama’s record while Bush’s post-9/11 record was spotless reveals a stunning double standard. As many, including ThinkProgress, have pointed out, Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab’s failed underwear bombing is nearly identical to Richard Reid’s failed shoe bombing in December 2001, but the conservatives attacking Obama for letting an attack occur on his watch don’t seem to count the shoe bombing as an attack on Bush’s watch.
This was perhaps best demonstrated by Las Vegas Journal Review publisher Sherman Frederick’s column claiming that “the two cases of domestic terrorism since 9/11″ both happened on Obama’s watch. The only way for this to be true is for Abdulmuttalab’s failed attack to count as a case of domestic terrorism while discounting Reid’s failed attack. Additionally, as Media Matters has repeatedly pointed out, several other domestic attacks did occur under Bush’s watch, such as the 2001 anthrax attacks and the 2002 attack against an El Al ticket counter at LAX.
Update Spencer Ackerman writes: "You actually need to give President George W. Bush credit for this. The Bush people did a wonderfully effective job of making it verboten in mainstream political discourse to consider the deaths of 3000 Americans on 9/11 in any sense Bush’s failing."