But I’d like to return to one point: even after retracting his statement about people who correctly surmised that terror warnings were political being motivated by “gut hatred” of Bush, he left in the bit about being “reflexively anti-Bush”. I continue to find it really sad that people still say things like this.
Bear in mind that by the time the terror alert controversy arose in 2004, we had already seen two tax cuts sold on massively, easily documented false pretenses; a war launched with constant innuendo about a Saddam-Osama link that was clearly false, and with claims about WMDs that were clearly shaky from the beginning and had proved to be entirely without foundation. We’d also seen vast, well-documented dishonesty and politicization on environmental policy. Oh, and Abu Ghraib was already public knowledge.
Given all that, it made complete sense to distrust anything the Bush administration said. That wasn’t reflexive, it was rational.
The rules of modern day punditry are almost as complex as those of modern day wingnuts (minus the boycotts, I guess). Whether or not something is rational is of no relevance. Arcane mixtures of “balance”, deference to power, and “seriousness” have completely replaced common sense.