07/06/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Giuliani and Pataki Play Monday Morning Patriot

New Yorkers who lived through the attacks on the World Trade Center tend to feel a special role in the war on terror. We're the silent witnesses to the worst that can happen.

Unfortunately, the politicians who were there with us won't stop talking.

First it was Rudy Giuliani, who felt the lesson of 9/11 was that he should be president. Once he lost, Rudy became a voice of the Republican Party, reinterpreting every new terrorist plot as an indictment of Barack Obama.

That reached a humiliating crescendo when the Christmas holiday bomber failed to explode his underwear over Detroit. Rudy decreed that the botched plot showed that the Obama administration was a flop compared to George W. Bush who - as he claimed in one moment of over-enthusiasm - had never allowed a terrorist attack to occur on American soil.

After the Times Square bombing last week, it took Giuliani a surprisingly long time to surface and announce that the White House had failed to do anything right.

It was former governor George Pataki, of all people, who started things off with a bang. "I don't think you call it victory," he said on MSNBC. "I think victory would be being able to prevent these before they get to that point where you have a loaded van in Times Square."

It was a surprisingly energetic performance for Pataki, who is now the head of a repeal-Obama-health-care movement. (If he's as hard-driving about repealing health care reform as he was about rebuilding lower Manhattan, the uninsured have nothing to fear.)

Both men were critical of the administration's handling of the CIA. ("I hope we go back to being somewhat more aggressive and not put fear in the hearts of CIA agents," Rudy told Larry King.) Pataki said Obama policies like reading arrested terror suspects their rights "have weakened our security and have made events - tragic possible events like last Saturday night in Times Square - much harder to prevent."

Giuliani attacked the administration for allowing news that Faisal Shahzad had confessed to the Times Square attack to leak out - "that they would kind of boast that he confessed." He and Pataki both criticized the administration's attempts to try the architect of the 9/11 attack in civilian courts. "We can't have civilian trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," Pataki said in an interview with Fox News. "He is a mass murdering war criminal. He should be tried in military tribunals."

Giuliani, of course, had once praised the Bush administration for trying "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui in federal court, saying: "I think there is value in demonstrating to people what America is like." On the King show he tried to explained away the disconnect by arguing that the Bush administration didn't have the capacity to try terrorists in military court.

Which would sure be a great way to show the world what America is like. Oh, never mind.

What was most notable about Pataki's and Giuliani's comments were the unwillingness to cut the Obama administration the slightest bit of slack. The White House handled the whole crisis calmly, to a resolution that involved the quick capture of the culprit. Who was handled in a way that respected our constitution and legal traditions, while also encouraging him to spill his guts.

Obviously, it would have been better of authorities could have caught the would-be Times Square bomber before the fact. That point that could be better made, though, by people who were less protective of George W. Bush after he failed to anticipate the World Trade Center attack, despite the warnings from his intelligence experts that something bad was coming, via airplane.

All this carping leaves a bad impression - not that Obama and his lieutenants did anything wrong, but that the opposition can't bear to create a united front, even in cases as profound as this.

These guys in particular would have been horrified by this kind of political carping after 9/11. But the world is all different now, of course. They're on the outside, carping in.