Last night, Redstate’s own Erick Erickson appeared on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor and discussed whether or not Robert Gates’ explosive new book is a betrayal of President Obama and/or is damaging to this country.
O’Reilly first turns to Howard Kurtz for his take on the revelations in the book as well as his feelings about whether the books should have been written at all. He asks him if he doesn’t think that sharing this information with the American people is, in fact, patriotic, and isn’t it the kind of thing people deserve to know about their Commander-in-Chief. Kurtz immediately responds that this is a betrayal, and suggests that these types of revelations hamper the ability of the President to do his job. His argument is focused on the idea that the President needs to be able to discuss policy and politics with trusted advisors “in confidence.”
Bob Gates is perfectly entitled to rip Barack Obama on policy. But it’s an absolute betrayal to reveal private conversations with a president who trusted him to give confidential advice. And Gates has always been a classy guy, that’s what’s surprising here. how can a president rely on his inner circle in times of war and peace if they are gathering material for a best-seller?
Erick points out that this practice of writing tell-all books is common practice in DC. He tells me (writing at the Right Scoop):
“Only in Washington do people wring their hands over tell-all books before writing their own.”
Bill O’Reilly then again says to Kurtz that isn’t it important for Americans to “know that the temperament of their leaders is now being dictated by politics instead of what is best for the nation?” He adds “isn’t Gates doing a patriotic thing by exposing that?” Kurtz pushes back again saying that this is a betrayal of the President and his confidence. He also brings up that the President “gave him the medal of freedom” as if that makes it particularly egregious. A sort of “after all I’ve done for you” argument. It’s the same tactic MSNBC has been using relentlessly since the story broke.
In answer to Bill specifically asking if the people are being served by these kinds of revelations, Erick responds:
Well, you know I think considering what the Obama administration is doing – spying on all of us with the NSA, there is a deep bit of irony in that, but look, the president is going to get candid advice for people. Going into this there is expectation books may be written short of signing people into non-disclosure agreements, I’m not sure he could do to a cabinet advisor, he’s got to know that’s going to happen at some point, some more favorable some less favorable. But when they’re inside the White House, inside the bubble, he has every reason to expect he’s going to get and give candid advice and that’s just the nature of the beast in Washington.
Kurtz sees this as a betrayal of the President’s confidence and claims it is harmful to America. Erick points out that, not only is this a completely unremarkable step for a former member of an administration to take, but it’s something the President was, or should have been, fully aware of before speaking up in the first place. Which leads you to the conclusion, or should lead you to the conclusion, that the President didn’t think there was anything wrong with what he was saying. It’s not a betrayal of a confidence if it wasn’t said in confidence. The President has no problem telling Gates he thought the surge would fail, no problem saying in front of others that he supported it for political reasons only, because to him that’s a perfectly normal way to act and believe. Like any left wing politician, the paying of lip service to the rubes in middle America is seen as a necessary evil.
It should be no surprise, then, that Obama was, as Fox put it, a derelict Commander-in-Chief, and certainly no surprise he would feel comfortable showing that in front of people in D.C. You see the other characteristic of liberals is that they believe that, deep down, everyone really knows they are right about everything.
Gates’ book shows Obama and Hillary as the true liberal politicians they are, that they fit the long standing and true stereotype of democrats who just don’t get it on foreign policy. And the media’s focus on whether or not Robert Gates is a tattle-tale shows just how immediate and all-consuming their need to cover for the President remains even today.
This won’t be the last we hear from people inside the White House, and like Erick said, some will be favorable and some will not. Just remember this particular time when some fawning “most historic president ever” book comes out, like you know it will, and watch how differently the media cover that one. Like the writing of tell-all books, the double standard that will apply is all to common in Washington.