During the latter part of George W. Bush’s presidency, I had liberal friends who would sit on the edge of their seats waiting to have a knee-jerk reaction to everything he said and did. And I mean everything.
The man couldn’t mention the weather without someone insisting he was alluding to the insignificance of climate change. If he made a silly joke that fell flat, they would leap to a discussion about how he was disrespecting the office of the presidency. If he delivered a solid statement, I would watch them twisting and turning to try to find something, somewhere, to pick on, even if they knew damn well he had done a good job.
Yes, they had some legitimate policy concerns and differences of opinion with Bush that I was interested in hearing about. They made for good discussions. But it was clear that they were dying to find something wrong at all times, every minute, no matter what. And if they didn’t, they would create something, hit an internal outrage button, and see to it that the world knew, on a constant basis, that they were dissatisfied with him.
They looked absolutely ridiculous and dishonest. And yes, some do the exact same thing now when it comes to Obama.
The other day, Obama gave a brief statement on our involvement in Syria and Iraq. I found it to be a solid, concise statement in which he kept his cards close to his chest, exuded confidence, and said what needed to be said. I expressed that on Twitter. Many didn’t like that I gave our President some credit. Some may have preferred that I wait with bated breath to find something, somewhere, I could somehow disagree with. Some do that for a living, I know.
The thing is, that’s not why I’m here.
I’m not here for retweets or to play the ‘us versus them’ game. I’m here to tell you the truth, what I actually think, and to evaluate this President and other leaders with an honest mind. Otherwise, what’s the point of this whole thing?
This morning, people on Twitter were equally bothered by the fact that I’m not in full-blown outrage over the President saluting with a cup in his hand as he exited Marine One. The hate mail and nasty tweets rolled in. That’s fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not outraged. I don’t think our President intentionally set out to disrespect our military. I put myself in his shoes for a minute and imagined that it would be entirely possible for anyone to exit a plane without even realizing a cup is still in your hand, salute instinctively, and move on without thinking twice about it.
I can think of countless times I have done something like that because, well, I’m human. So is he.
My outrage button is reserved for things like arming Syrian rebels who are supposedly “moderate” according to someone, somewhere, who has yet to define what they stand for. Or instituting Obamacare, which I find to be a disastrous approach to much-needed health care reform.
There’s something wrong with a political sphere in which people on two ideological sides are determined to find something wrong with the other party at all costs, every minute, even if it means they sit on the edge of their seats twisting and contorting like my Bush-hating friends did years ago. It’s not helpful and it’s not honest.
I got into this business because I couldn’t stand predictable talking points and preaching to the choir at the expense of listening and discussing.
So instead, I’m going to continue to tell you what I actually think. Because that’s what I’d want from you. Sometimes you’ll agree. Sometimes you’ll disagree. But if you’re looking for knee-jerk politics, you’ve got the wrong girl.
Jedediah Bila is co-host of “Outnumbered” on Fox News at 12pm ET. She is an author, columnist, and Fox News Contributor. Follow Jedediah on Twitter @JedediahBila.