The headline of today’s column is the punch line of a joke, the premise of which is that George W. Bush has walked on water. Trying to formulate a counterpart gag for Bush’s successor, we’re thinking along these lines: Reporters arrive for a White House news conference to find that the floor of the press room is covered in water, half an inch deep. A dripping President Obama arrives at the lectern, and the first question is about the water. Obama explains that he had been trying to fix a clogged toilet near the Oval Office but ended up breaking a pipe and flooding the entire West Wing.
The next day, the newspaper headline reads, “Obama Walks on Water.”
Here’s the lead paragraph of an Associated Press dispatch about Obama’s Afghanistan policy:
President Barack Obama appears to have secured what President George W. Bush couldn’t: bipartisan support for an unpopular and faltering war.
This is a magnificent bit of puffery. When the AP refers to “an unpopular and faltering war,” it means two different wars: Iraq in Bush’s case and Afghanistan in Obama’s. Afghanistan became “an unpopular and faltering war” only after Obama took office–which is to say that whereas Bush maintained popular and bipartisan support for the Afghan effort throughout his term, Obama managed to lose much of it in less than a year. Thus the AP describes Obama has having succeeded where Bush failed, when in fact it is Obama who has so far failed where Bush succeeded.
Read More: By JAMES TARANTO, Wall Street Journal
Photo Credit: Dustin C. Oliver Creative Commons
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