"Parties were more fun when George W. Bush was president"

In today's Detroit Free Press, liberal columnist Laura Varon Brown complains that she does not feel free to criticize anything Barack Obama has said or done, and that this is not healthy:

Parties were more fun when George W. Bush was president. You could debate, argue even, praise and condemn, throw darts and laurels and solve the world's problems over a bottle of wine.

No more. At least not in my circles. If you want to stop a conversation in its tracks, just question something President Barack Obama has said or done. It's not open to debate -- and I don't think that's healthy, for the country or the president.

It's especially unsettling for a free speech girl like me. The First Amendment is important -- but lately, it feels like my right of self-expression is being squashed.

One example: Obama's comment to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show," comparing his bowling abilities to someone in the Special Olympics.

Can you imagine the uproar had Bush said that? He'd be banished from bowling alleys for eternity. His bowling average and IQ would have immediately been compared in Twitter messages demanding his resignation.

Actually, I think it might have been worse than that, but the point is well taken, and there's a lot more.

The elections are still a ways off, but I hope they keep this up.

UPDATE: Perhaps things are not as bleak as I thought. Linking an amazing piece of fearless investigative journalism, Glenn Reynolds praises the "HARD-HITTING, DEEP-DIGGING, WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS."

As you can see right here, it's pull-no-punches time at the Corps:

After a date night out on Saturday evening, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama decided to take a stroll when their motorcade arrived back at the White House.

So they began walking on the driveway of the White House South Lawn while holding hands. First they passed the West Wing, then their children's swing set. They kept walking, swinging their hands together.

There were no Secret Service agents right behind them -- the agents stood off, in one of the rare moments that the Obamas had private space outside the White House walls.

As the Obamas walked behind shrubbery and out of sight, the unscripted moment left reporters guessing where they were going. To the vegetable garden? The basketball court? No final word, but they eventually came back the same way from where they started, rounding out their 8-minute walk.

Wow. I'm on the edge of my seat.

Nice to see the kid gloves are finally off!

posted by Eric on 05.03.09 at 09:29 PM


"You could debate, argue even, praise and condemn, throw darts and laurels and solve the world's problems over a bottle of wine."

Right. I can imagine the debate. Resolved: Bush is worse than Hitler.

SteveBrooklineMA   ·  May 3, 2009 11:48 PM

I think she would have found the same thing was true last year. If she'd ever said anything good about George Bush at a party, the same quashing of debate would have happened.

The only difference is that before she was probably going along with the quashing, and now she disagrees with the CW. Wah.

Pax   ·  May 4, 2009 7:35 AM

Right. I can imagine the debate. Resolved: Bush is worse than Hitler.

The "debate" would then devolve into a question of degree, e.g. worse, worserer, or worsererest.

apotheosis   ·  May 4, 2009 10:12 AM

I experienced the same thing Sunday at a open house for sale in California. The real estate salesman launched into a harange against Republicans and when I, a prospective buyer, started to offer a polite dissent, I was literally shouted down. The salesman followed me out the door ranting as I went.

One would think that a realtor would be smart enough to not drive off buyers.

Thus do civil wars start.

Whitehall   ·  May 4, 2009 6:29 PM

In a way, I can't blame the Obamas for relishing their luxury, the historic nature of being the first black first couple.

But, this is just sentimental twaddle. He needs to have some steel to his personal presidency, which he doesn't appear to have. He's happy to enjoy the lux and leave the running of gummerment to The Party.

RW of Ottawa   ·  May 4, 2009 8:58 PM

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