Even if the president had called them unpatriotic for almost always finding ways to oppose his prosecution of the war on terror -- which he hasn't -- such verbal counterattacks wouldn't be censorship. The president has no authority over their First Amendment rights and doesn't attempt to exert any -- and they well know it. In fact, if the president truly were trying to muzzle them and getting these results, he would be anything but too powerful.
But Obama wasn't through demonstrating his wrongheadedness. When Colmes asked him about the New York Times' publication of the secret program to track terrorists' finances, Obama -- instinctively siding with the Times as a brother in ideological arms -- attempted to point his finger back at the president.
Obama said, "I would advise the president to be cautious about beating up on the press for doing their job. My attitude is, let the press do its job in fact, a lot of the problems that have arisen in terms of leaks and so forth have to do with just the extraordinary unwillingness of the president and this administration to submit itself to any kind of oversight, from anybody."
The problem is, the press wasn't doing its job; it was doing Al Qaeda's job. It's the same story: If President Bush responds to his Democratic attackers, pointing out the flaws and motives in their criticisms, he's the bad guy for insulting them. Likewise, if the media publish classified information that will damage the national interest and jeopardize American lives and Bush calls them on it, Bush is the bad guy for criticizing them. This is the ultimate in liberal root-cause extrapolation: The media may have committed treason, but Bush made them do it.
Colmes next asked Obama whether it was "hurtful" when "Jack Murtha talks about civilians being killed in cold blood by troops." At least you have to give Obama high marks for consistency, albeit in articulating a flawed theme. He said, "What I know is, here's a guy who's served our country. I would never second-guess John Murtha."
Once again, if you are a liberal, your statements -- no matter how outrageous -- are immune from criticism. It's just an old-fashioned, unsophisticated intimidation tactic.
And they want to talk to us about chilling speech?