How many of us, for the last year or more, have been shouting from the rooftops that Barack Obama is Bush3. “Preposterous,” his supporters cried. Well, now you have even Jackson Diehl, Deputy Editor of the Washington Post editorial page coming out with an article aptly titled George W. Obama? No kidding? WaPo was solidly in the tank for him throughout the entire campaign so when they start talking like this…Wow.
No secret that I am not a fan of Barack Obama. No secret that I campaigned vigorously for Hillary Clinton and would have far preferred her leadership in the White House at this critical point in time. That stated, the crisis in which we now find ourselves calls for action and progress and whoever is at the helm – I want success. But the biggest problem I had with Pres. Obama in the first place is my gut feeling that his words were – just words. This is a man who:
• Promised a filibuster on FISA, then voted for it, without so much as a backward glance,
• Touted Reagan and Reaganomics,
• Campaigned down south with Donnie McClurkin, an ex-gay man “reformed through prayer” and later sent his California supporters mixed messages on Prop 8,
• Wants to expand Bush’s faith based initiatives,
• Wanted to keep Blackwater going,
• Stood before the German people, giving a speech about “bringing walls down,” making Russians the bad guy, conveniently forgetting they were the allies in WWII who helped to break Hitler’s back. (How nice for him to give the German people a pass on the holocaust while 200,000 of them were enjoying their rock concert and buying buttons of Obama dressed in Lederhosen holding a bunch of beer steins…)
• Has trouble finding cabinet nominees without tax or other legal problems. Vet much?
Most important, this is a man for whom the truth was an ever elastic substance, that he could stretch and break at will, knowing the slobbering media would never call him on any of it. Forgive me, but this is not someone I would call the new liberal messiah. I would call him a wordsmith. I would call him a manipulator. And I would not call him an honest broker for change.
Mr. Diehl’s article states:
Washington has spent the past couple of weeks debating whether Barack Obama’s ambitious agenda and political strategy are more comparable to those of Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan. Oddly, hardly anyone is talking about the ways in which Obama is beginning to resemble the man who just vacated the White House.
He goes on to talk about Bush’s high approval ratings after 9/11..
London, Berlin and even Moscow rallied behind him. A front-page analysis in The Post in late November said that “President Bush [has] a dominance over American government . . . rivaling even Franklin D. Roosevelt’s command.”
…and how Bush squandered all that good will:
just over seven years ago, Bush found himself in much the same position as the new president today — leading the country through what was universally considered a national emergency. In the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, Bush’s approval rating soared above 80 percent at home. Then, according to today’s established wisdom, Bush squandered his chance to lead. Three cardinal errors are commonly cited: The president failed to ask a willing nation for sacrifice, instead inviting consumers to shop and heaping on more tax cuts. Rather than forge a bipartisan response to the crisis, he used it to ram through big, polarizing pieces of the Republican Party’s ideological agenda — from asserting presidential powers to breach treaties to eliminating protections for federal workers. Worst, he chose to launch a war of choice in Iraq, thereby shredding what remained of post-Sept. 11 national unity and diverting attention and resources from the fight against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
That brings us to the first weeks of the Obama administration, set against the background of a scary and steadily deepening global economic crisis. Last month, in his first address to Congress, Obama warned the country that fixing the huge problems in the financial markets and housing and auto industries would require a historic effort. “None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy,” he said. “But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy. We do what is necessary to move this country forward.”
Minutes later, Obama spelled out what he proposes this to mean for 98 percent of Americans: “You will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut . . . and these checks are on the way.”
So much for summoning the country to sacrifice. Obama has been no more willing to ask average Americans to pitch in, even once the recession is over, than Bush.
Does he have a printing press in the basement? Oh that’s right. He does. And what will happen after he prints all that money to hand out to people? I know many squeezed by this economic downturn. They are sacrificing and doing what they can to get through. Is this the time to be printing money, or pushing pet pork projects? How about awakening to the reality that you cannot recklessly jam your entire agenda through at once? First address the banking crisis properly. Tim Geithner can’t even seem to staff up much less get something coherent going that will help to calm the markets down.
Well, as Pres. Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, said “Never waste a good crisis.” This brings to mind Naomi Klein’s book “Shock Doctrine” –but it seems it is not only the Republicans who capitalize on the fears of the American people to push their own agenda past all reason.
What about bipartisanship? Like Bush, Obama offered a few early gestures. And like Bush, he has been unapologetic about using emergency measures like the stimulus bill to press polarizing Democratic priorities…
The Bush administration pushed through the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 by suggesting that opponents didn’t want to stop another al-Qaeda attack. In his first news conference, Obama suggested that congressional opponents of the stimulus package “believe that we should do nothing” about the economic emergency. Last week his political team launched a concerted and ugly campaign to portray Rush Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party and “I want the president to fail” as its slogan. Republicans who have taken the crisis seriously, offered their own solutions and even supported the president on occasion — Sen. John McCain comes to mind — have been ignored.
Yep. As Mr. Diehl further points out, this is right out of the Rovian playbook – demonize Rush and all Republicans and distract from their own agenda, shortcomings and dishonesty. Remember when anyone who opposed the Iraq war was labeled unpatriotic, or worse – a traitor?
Just as Bush promoted tax cuts as a remedy for surplus and then later as essential in a time of deficits, so Obama has come up with strained arguments as to why health-care reform, which he supported before the economic collapse, turns out to be essential to recovery. Yet as he convened his “health care summit” at the White House on Thursday, the stock market was hitting another 12-year-low; General Motors was again teetering on the brink of insolvency and the country was still waiting to hear the details of the Treasury’s proposal to bail out banks. George W. Bush might well be asking: Is the president taking his eye off the ball?
I am all for health care reform, but this must be a careful, painstaking and bipartisan effort. And those involved in the “summit” should be the best minds on the subject.
I had forgotten just how much the press touted Bush at the beginning — to borrow a line from the play, Les Liaisons Dangereuses: nothing like “applauding the tenor for clearing his throat”. That didn’t work out so well for us either, did it? That’s what happens when we allow the media to pick our president and skew the news to influence the outcome. Also an echo of times past.
The Wall St. Journal now has an opinion piece entitled “Obama Channels Cheney”which discusses…
In a federal lawsuit, the Obama legal team is arguing that judges lack the authority to enforce their own rulings in classified matters of national security. The standoff concerns the Oregon chapter of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Saudi Arabian charity that was shut down in 2004 on evidence that it was financing al Qaeda. Al-Haramain sued the Bush Administration in 2005, claiming it had been illegally wiretapped.
At the heart of Al-Haramain’s case is a classified document that it says proves that the alleged eavesdropping was not authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. That record was inadvertently disclosed after Al-Haramain was designated as a terrorist organization; the Bush Administration declared such documents state secrets after their existence became known.
…The Obama Justice Department has adopted a legal stance identical to, if not more aggressive than, the Bush version. (read more here)
That’s about as pure an assertion of Presidential power as they come, and we’re beginning to wonder if the White House has put David Addington, Mr. Cheney’s chief legal aide, on retainer. The practical effect is to prevent the courts from reviewing the legality of the warrantless wiretapping program that Mr. Obama repeatedly claimed to find so heinous — at least before taking office…
Then again, we are relearning that the “Imperial Presidency” is only imperial when the President is a Republican. Democrats who spent years denouncing George Bush for “spying on Americans” and “illegal wiretaps” are now conspicuously silent.
This is the difference between campaigning and governing. Whether or not you agree with Obama’s actions in this instance, this man pretended to be exactly the opposite of who he is. So much for his supporters’ excuse that he reneged and voted for FISA NOW only so he could return to fix it LATER.
Stuff and blather.
Since he had no governing or executive experience and little legislative experience, he was elected solely on the basis of his “representations” of what he would “be” to the American people. I guess the view from inside the White House is a little different, as President Obama is rapidly learning.
He also has a penchant for vacations like Bush2 and now an article has been released pointing out how tired and overwhelmed the President is. Give me a break! He wanted this job. He bought this job with almost a billion dollars and now complains he’s not getting enough rest? He knew what he was inheriting, didn’t he? This is all Hillary and McCain talked about while they were campaigning — the grave responsibility and pressures of the office. Perhaps Mr. Obama never actually bothered to “read” the words he was reciting on his teleprompter about the state of our country, because he certainly didn’t seem to take them seriously. Or else, he might have chosen not to run in the first place.
Didn’t our dear friend Hillary point out the White House is the hottest kitchen in the world? Seven weeks in, he’s tired? That’s why he couldn’t be bothered to treat British Prime Minister Gordon Brown better on his visit here? Unfortunately, like Bush, he is in way over his head. Maybe we should install some cedars in the Rose Garden that President Obama can chop at for relaxation. Hey, anything we can do to help, sir, just let us know.
The President met with Republicans a few weeks ago to arrogantly proclaim, “Well, I won.” That doesn’t sound like the “new politics” to me. Sounds eerily like another arrogant man we remember all too well.