New Rules for President Obama

Benen wrote a fantastic piece over the weekend about the new political rules that have cropped up around President Obama -- rules that never applied to other presidents. Here are a few:

* Teleprompters: This trend of characterizing routine developments as controversial started very early in the Obama presidency. Every modern president has used teleprompters, but Republicans and the media thought it was hilarious and wildly important when Obama did the same thing.

* Talking to school kids: Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush spoke to school children in national addresses, even taking a little time to push their political agendas. When Obama delivered a speech encouraging kids to do well in school, Republicans freaked out; Fox News compared the president to Saddam Hussein; and the New York Times literally ran a front-page story about it.

* Czars: For a half-century, presidents have relied on so-called "czars" for various policy areas. By one count, George W. Bush had 36 czar positions filled by 46 people during his two terms. No one cared. Obama's use of czars became the subject of months of media scrutiny, and even congressional hearings in response to Republican apoplexy.

* Oval Office attire: Several modern presidents have been seen in the Oval Office without wearing a suit jacket. When Obama did it, Republicans ran to the press to complain, and the media actually published pieces on the subject.

* Industry bailouts: Government bailouts of struggling American industries and major companies have been common for decades. When Obama rescued GM, it was used as an example of his purported desire to a communist dictator.

* Memorial Day: Many presidents have not appeared at Arlington on Memorial Day. When Obama does it, there's a "controversy."

Most of these rules are the result of a wingnut right that's so filled with inchoate rage that they're grasping onto the most ridiculous of items -- items that will actually come back to haunt them when a Republican president is elected. On second thought, since when have they been concerned about consistency and contradiction?

Adding to the list, Shannyn Moore noted the number of times President George H.W. Bush, a wealthy oil man, visited Prince William Sound during and after the Exxon Valdez disaster: ZERO. None.