In an April 25 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston defends Dick Cheney for bashing President Obama, claiming that Cheney just wants to "get the truth to the people, and that it's a "false meme" that "ex-presidents and ex-vice presidents have some sort of 'tradition of silence' where it concerns commenting on those that take residence in the White House after they leave." Huston adds:
Think about it. Can you remember any report by any Old Media outlet that excoriated Al Gore for his constant, wild-eyed, screaming fits against the Bush administration for the last 8 years? Where was the Old Media tsk tsking Gore for, say, his 2004 appearance where he screamed at the top of his lungs that Bush "betrayed this country," and the "he played on our fears"? (Audio here) Why is Cheney a big meanie as far as the media is concerned for commenting on Obama, yet Al Gore was never reproached even once for attacking Bush and Cheney?
Note the date: Gore criticized Bush four years after leaving office. And, thus, Huston ignores the nature of the criticism: It's not that ex-presidents and vice presidents have never criticized their successors, it's that they've never done so immediately after leaving office. As the New York Times notes: "Other former vice presidents have kept a much lower profile, at least this early after leaving office. Al Gore was supportive of Mr. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but in September 2002 delivered a speech critical of Mr. Bush’s plans for the Iraq war. "
Huston also cites historical examples (without supporting documentation) of former presidents or vice presidents criticizing the succeeding administration, but he blows that too by adding:
We might even say that Franklin Roosevelt himself fits this bill. He ran for vice president in 1920 with James Cox of Ohio and lost. FDR certainly didn't remain quiet about all the administrations that came after 1920!
But Roosevelt lost that election, which makes this particular example irrelevant to this discussion.