Two questions have plagued me lately: How many Democrats who support the no-fly-zone in Libya would oppose it if Bush were president? And how many Republicans who oppose it now would have supported it if Bush were president? (In both instances, my guess is, quite a few.)
In some cases, of course, this is rank hypocrisy and pure partisan politics. On the other hand, there is a certain logic to such a double standard — especially if you sincerely doubt whether or not your political adversaries are competent. (After all, it might be a good idea to call a certain play when you have your starting quarterback on the field, but that same play might be a very bad idea if you lack confidence in his replacement.)
Sean Hannity has been arguably the most coherent voice articulating what, I think, is the most honorable and defensible argument in favor of this position.
Obama “doesn’t have the political and moral courage to do it right,” Hannity added.
McCain, who — like him or not — has been consistent in supporting intervention regardless of who is in the Oval Office, agreed, admitting: “It is incoherent when you say, ‘Gaddafi must go’ and then say ‘the mission is only there for humanitarian purposes.”
Clearly, the president has bungled the communications part of this. The American people aren’t clear on the goal, or on what defines “success.” Even the biggest hawk may be hesitant to engage in war under those circumstances. My guess is there are a lot of patriotic Americans who, whether they can espouse it, or not, essentially subscribe to The Hannity Doctrine.
Tonight, of course, President Obama will have the opportunity to change that narrative. Let’s see if he changes some minds …