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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Obama vs Bush. Again. But maybe that's a good thing...

Since the day he started campaigning for the Presidency (and probably a little before that as well), Barack Obama has been blaming George W. Bush for something.
George W. Bush spent money we didn't have in support of two wars that we didn't need to be involved in. Foreign nations didn't like us very much because of George W. Bush. George W. Bush tanked the economy. It was George W. Bush's fault that we don't have socialized health care and taxpayer-funded abortions for everyone. It was George W. Bush's fault that gas prices weren't lower. Fast and Furious was started by George W. Bush.
It was a fairly successful campaign tactic for him, too, since all he had to do on the campaign trail was tie Senator John McCain to George W. Bush.

But as he wraps up the last year of his first (and, Lord willing, only) term as President, much to the outrage and annoyance of many Americans, he is still blaming George W. Bush. As recently as the debates of the last two months, he has referenced the economy he "inherited" from the previous administration. His pocket moderator in the second debate, CNN's Candy Crowley, allowed Governor Romney to be asked the question, "How will your Presidency be different from another Bush Presidency?"

Several people I know were furious that Romney was asked that question while Obama was not required to respond by answering with how his Presidency differed from Jimmy Carter's. But not I. I wanted him to answer the same question that Romney did: President Obama, how has your first term as President differed from the George W. Bush Presidency?

(Before I get into the possible answers to that question, let me say this: while I supported George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, there were many things he did while President that I did not support. TARP, bailouts, No Child Left Behind, and those ridiculous curly light bulbs to name just a few.)

So, how has the Obama Presidency been different than the George W. Bush Presidency?

1) Not only has President Obama continued the wars begun during the Bush Administration, he has taken military action in several other nations. His actions in Libya were so questionable that 12 members of Congress (including several high ranking democrats) filed suit against him for violations of the War Powers Act. And the extra action has been reflected in the extra cost - both in dollars and in human lives.

2) Foreign nations may not have "liked" us as much during the Bush Administration - but a lot more of them feared us. In the days following 9/11, George W. Bush demanded both the apologies and the lives of those who dared to attack the United States. In the days following the Benghazi attacks this year, Barack Obama apologized to Libya for the insensitivity of a video no one had even heard of while covering up his and his State Department's involvement in covering up their knowledge of the situation and the murder of our Ambassador in real time.

3) No one would argue that the economy was in good shape in the final months of 2008. But consider this: Many of the people who blame Bush for the bad economy claim that Obama was helpless to fix the economy because he had Republicans in Congress blocking him. Why is that relevant? Because the economy didn't start to crumble until the end of George W. Bush's second term - when Democrats held the majority in both houses. If George W. Bush is to be held solely responsible for the economy that a mostly Democrat Congress helped him tank, then Obama can't blame a Republican Congress for his inability to fix it.

4) George W. Bush never apologized for being against socialized medicine or for being pro-life. And while President Obama referred to a pregnancy as a "punishment," George W. Bush outlawed fetal stem cell research long enough for the medical community to learn that adult stem cells are far more effective in most treatments. And they don't require the loss of innocent life.

5) When gas prices hit record highs in 2008, it was George W. Bush's fault. But according to Barack Obama a few weeks ago, high gas prices are actually a sign that our economy is doing well. (If you buy that, give me a call - there's a bridge I could sell you to go with it.) The winter 2008 gas prices under $2/gallon were only possible because the economy was in shambles... (Which really makes me want to ask him why, when gas prices were under $1/gallon for years during the Clinton Administration we didn't see a much more drastic collapse.)

6) I'm not sure why I even dignify any accusation in regards to Fast and Furious with a response, but regardless: Operation Wide Receiver, a similar gun-walking program, was begun in 2006 and ended in 2007. It resulted in the loss of 450 guns across the Mexican border. Operation Fast and Furious began in 2009 under sole control of Barack Obama's Justice Department. They took the admittedly failed Operation Wide Receiver, and made it bigger and far more difficult to control. As a result, thousands of guns crossed the border. Several hundred Mexicans have been killed so far, and two American Border Patrol Agents as well.

And now for my personal pet peeves:
Shortly after 9/11, George W. Bush (up to this point an avid golfer) announced to the American public that he could not in good conscience play golf while our men and women overseas were putting their lives on the line. Not 24 hours after the Benghazi attacks - after a good night's sleep, mind you - Barack Obama's biggest stress was the fact that his Las Vegas fundraiser might not start on time.

People complained about the number of vacations George W. Bush took - even though he spent most of them on his family's property in Texas, clearing brush and taking care of his land. And yet, when Michelle Obama takes the girls to Spain for the weekend, no news coverage. After America has been warned - by the President, no less - that travel to Mexico is highly dangerous and not recommended, we get to see the news coverage of the President's own daughter along - with her entire class - enjoying spring Mexico.

So what's the point? For years, Barack Obama has been explaining to America that he isn't anything like George W. Bush. I, for one, believe him. He doesn't measure up.


  1. Mr Obama has been a bad president. Mr Bush was an absolutely dreadful one.

    Sure you can cherry pick examples of how Mr. Bush was better (your point about the golf games was a really good one) but on arguably the two biggest issues, the war and the economy, your points seem divorced from reality.

    President Bush (George W, that is) made a horrible mistake getting us into Iraq. He mismanaged the war to what could be called an immoral extent. You could make a good case that he was dishonest in the lead up to the war. And it is fact that he was dishonest about funding the war, putting the entire thing off the budget and having it stealthfully add to the debt. President Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start and wound it down in a way that seems to have worked as well as possible. (To his credit, Mr. Bush helped with that winding down).

    On the economy, the unemployment rate went up during Mr. Bush's term in office. As he was leaving office we were loosing huge numbers of jobs. The unemployment rate went down during Mr. Obama's term and we've been adding small numbers of jobs.

    Asking Mr Romney whether he'd be as terrible as the last Republican president was a totally legitimate question. His answer, I thought, was okay, not great.

    Really, all this points out why we need a strong third party in this country. In far too many races (eg. Romney-Obama, McCaskill-Akin) the main choices are between two unacceptably bad candidates.

  2. Great. Find a third party candidate who can win, and that will work. For now you have two options: you can play the hand you're dealt or you can throw a tantrum. But remember that no matter how much you scream about how this country really needs a 180 (and I agree, we do), no one will take you seriously if you're not at least willing to apply the brakes before we go over the edge of the cliff.

    I'd love to address the points you made concerning George W. Bush, but the fact that you suggest that he was a WORSE President than Barack Obama leads me to only one possible conclusion: that you have yet to touch down in reality long enough to divorce yourself from it.

  3. Clearly, there's no third party presidential candidate this election who can win. But where I vote (Massachusetts) and where I think you vote (Illinois) and where a majority of other Americans vote (California, Texas, NY, Alabama, etc) there's not a second party candidate who can win either. So why not use your vote to take a principaled stand and perhaps help build a third party in the future?

    Reminder: there's only one candidate (Gary Johnson) who has proposed a balanced budget for NEXT YEAR. Under budgets proposed by both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney, the debt will keep growing in each of the next four years.

    As for the comparison to Bush, you made your points using quite a bit of false information (eg. it is not true that gas was under $1 "for years during the Clinton Administration " -- that's not even true if you don't account for inflation, which you should to be fair). My points were all factually correct. And your best reply is a school yard insult?