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On Reflection
The Parallels Between Bush and Obama

As President Obama begins to bomb Syria (with no UN authorization and with a coalition of the willing), he is still bombing Iraq, Yemen, and Pakistan; he has U.S. forces spread out across Africa; some are heading back into Iraq; and Guantanamo is still open. It’s hard not to wonder whether in a quiet moment President Obama sometimes thinks he was too smug and too callow back when he poured contempt on President Bush. (After all, even the New York Times is slowly coming to grips with the similarities between how certain events have unfolded. Surely President Obama has noticed them in passing as well.)

Neither President got everything right; both made costly mistakes. But both struggled to come to grips with a serious and growing problem: the spread of a religious movement based on hatred and violence and its organization to fight a war against civilization.

This new kind of struggle is forcing the United States and its allies to grapple with a whole series of extremely complicated and difficult practical, strategic, moral, and legal problems. When Obama was running for President, he showed very little understanding of or sympathy for the difficult and in some cases impossible choices that President Bush had to make.

We hope President Obama’s critics will be less snarky and self righteous than Obama’s supporters were when it was time to criticize Bush; we would, for example, be sorry to hear the entire right wing of the country start calling the President and his top advisors “chicken hawks” and mocking them for sending Americans into harm’s way without having done military service themselves.

We’d also like to see the President demonstrate some class—perhaps by inviting President Bush to the White House to offer some advice from the only other person on earth who really understands what Obama is going through. It’s not unlikely that President Bush has continued to think about the unique and difficult challenges of our current situation; it would demonstrate some maturity on President Obama’s part to invite him in for consultations, and he just might have something useful to say.

This will probably not happen, if only because so many Democrats would erupt in irrational rage; Bush Derangement Syndrome is still with us. But surely there must be times in the Oval Office when President Obama, sitting in the ashes of his own hopes and plans, wonders whether the world isn’t a much more complicated place than he thought it was in 2008.

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  • Josephbleau

    As Steve Martin Said—Nawww!

  • RAS743

    Dream on. Neither he nor the herd of which he’s a part would entertain the thought for a moment.

    • S.C. Schwarz

      You’re certainly correct, but why? The liberals I know, and I live on the upper west side of Manhattan so everyone I know is liberal, are absolutely sure they are right about everything. No event in the real world ever shakes or even disturbs their faith. Everyone suffers from confirmation bias, but is our side, whatever that side is, just as blind? I’d like to think not but perhaps I just can’t see it.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes, the conservatives (or “whatever that side is”) are just as sure they are right about everything, AND, unfortunately as blind as bats.
        We know this because their bigger leaders still claim, and their littler followers still “hope”, that high-end tax cuts will create good jobs for the masses—— in spite of decades of mounting evidence to the contrary.

        You should be commended for raising the question you raised.

        • Corlyss

          “We know this because their bigger leaders still claim, and their littler followers still “hope”, that high-end tax cuts will create good jobs for the masses—— in spite of decades of mounting evidence to the contrary.”
          You may be right about tax cuts for the uberwealthy, but you’re flat wrong if you include corporate tax rates, unless of course you’re quoting those air-heads at The Nation.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I tend to not quote anybody. I practice every day writing original stuff.

          • Corlyss

            Then you better do a better job of informing yourself about the facts. There’s a couple of informative pieces in the current issue of Economist I commend to your attention.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You can quote them. I’m busy thinking with a keyboard.

          • Corlyss

            LOL. Maybe you ought to try thinking with your brain, which might want facts occasionally. You guys have a profound dislike of facts that don’t conform to your chosen narrative. You can’t just ignore them because you don’t like them.

        • Texas_Accountant

          Is Gov. Cuomo one of the “bigger leaders?” I am trying to figure out why he is advertising “no taxes” in his “Start Up New York” campaign. Everyone knows we can tax our way to prosperity.

          • FriendlyGoat

            No. Cuomo is not a bigger leader. He has peaked.

        • Joe

          Let’s see some of the “mounting evidence”. If what you say is true, than why do companies in industry such as film and television consistently move from California to places where they can get tax credits, like Vancouver or North Carolina? Why does a company like Burger King move their base of operations out of our country into a more tax-friendly nation? Businesses moving out of state and out of the country don’t create “jobs for the masses” either. There is no reason why any company should suffer punitive tax rates so that politicians can throw money around like drunken sailors. Let’s rein in the free-spending profligates of congress before we go “taxing the rich” to make up for irresponsible monetary policy.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The film industry and others chase tax credits from state to state because we don’t have a U. S. Supreme Court with the sense to outlaw as unconstitutional any taxpayer giveaways to private industry anywhere. Likewise, the so-called “right-to-work” laws. We are not “the greatest collection of states” set up by corporations to compete with each other for corporate advantage . We are a great COUNTRY which needs to act as a nation on economic matters.

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            We are a great COUNTRY which needs to act as a nation have my socio-economic morality jammed down your throats on economic matters.

            Fixed to reflect what you really are saying.

          • FriendlyGoat

            “My” only applies to YOU when YOU use it in a sentence. You cannot project it on other people as though you were writing their (our) scripts.

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            No projection, Goat … it is the reality behind your words.

            It is actually how it works … your “acting as a nation” ALWAYS works out to the views of an elite few being imposed upon “the other”, in a nation where INDIVIDUAL rights are supposed to be the focus … simply because the few were able to spin enough of a story to get 51% of us to sign on.

            Unalienable rights trump a majority vote in a just world, except when the exercise of one’s rights interferes with another’s exercise of those rights. BTW, “happiness” and the “pursuit of happiness” are NOT the same.

            And in the case of CEO’s – how many times have we heard someone say “No CEO deserves to get paid that much”, which is a moral judgment – it is true regardless of whether they are acting like J.R. Ewing, or spending their money to support “noble” causes like cancer research, the Smithsonian, and the fine arts:


        • Ritchie The Riveter

          You aren’t telling the whole story.

          The Blue Social Model the Progressives advocate discourages the masses from exercising the personal initiative necessary to attain and retain good jobs … they are instead led to believe that career planning sound financial management, and demonstrated productivity aren’t that important as long as there are “experts” and “leaders” who tell them they will twist the arms of employers to secure their future FOR them.

          No, conservatives see the WHOLE picture … we are not blinded by your evnious profit-phobia.

          • FriendlyGoat

            There is no amount of personal initiative that can make everyone into a supervisor, a broker, a CPA, a lawyer or the other lucrative professional careers

            As a nation we have to try to make the simpler jobs be “good” jobs——BECAUSE we NEED people fixing our food, stocking our stores, fixing our cars, and all the other things we take for granted. You and your ilk are essentially calling them all lazy bums while you benefit from them.
            Snarky, snarky, snarky. And indefensible.

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            No, I’m not calling them lazy … I’m calling them misled, by people like you.

            You apparently believe that people have to stay stuck in making lifetime careers out of “simpler” jobs … when in fact, jobs like fast-food preparation and stocking are entry-level jobs that people should be moving beyond as their skill set and experience grows, making room for the next generation to do the same while putting themselves in a position to live better and even raise a family.

            Just as I did, pumping gas and hauling bread (the doughy kind, not the dead-presidents variety) as I took the initiative to get educated and move into a career in engineering … while many of my generation thought they had it made when they got one of those assembly-line jobs that now has disappeared, because they didn’t take the initiative to deliver the productivity that would justify continuing to give them the high wages they demanded … let alone take the initiative to move beyond that vulnerable position to one where their skills were considered assets to be competed for by employers instead of a commodity to be bought at the lowest price.

            Actually, it is you who are effectively calling them too stupid to be expected to exercise the initiative to move up … and therefore must remain vulnerable to the errors/greed/mendacity and often job-killing hidden agendas of “experts” and “leaders” they are led to believe must make their decisions and secure their future FOR them.

            And they don’t have to enter the careers you list, to be better off. All they have to do, is take the initiative to keep moving up, as high as they can, or are willing, to go. BTW, do you know what a mechanic, plumber, or other skilled tradesman can make these days? Calling their jobs “simple” is an insult … which speaks volumes about your insight and judgment on these matters.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’ve always wondered why you call yourself a riveter when you reveal that you are an engineer. People who are, in fact, “high tech”, with a need to hang onto and project an (uneducated) “redneck” persona are conflicted, I suppose.

            But your math training should explain for you that people can only ascend to the number of “good” jobs which actually exist.

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            Those jobs would exist – and/or STILL exist – without Progressive attempts to jam their socio-economic morality down our throats that sap initiative, distort the economy, demand surrender of our resources for unproductive “solutions” … and limit the distributed intellect being applied to our problem to those elite few “experts” and “leaders” instead of 300 million problem-solvers far closer to the problems than ANY bureaucrat.

            It’s not about becoming a doctor (which I was on the way to becoming, with a 4.0 average as a pre-med student, until i found engineering more interesting), lawyer, or even engineer … and it’s not about being rich (or I would have gotten my M.D.).

            It is about taking the initiative to better your lot until, at least, you can balance what you love doing with how well you want to eat, and maintain that balance through the ups-and-downs of life so that you are not only self-sufficient, you can use your “localized” insight and resources to help your neighbors.

            And your prejudice is showing … the “Riveter” part is in homage to Rosie the Riveter; I have filled that role in the past decade-and-a-half, as much of my work goes into keeping our warfighters situationally aware and more accurate. It was created in response to accusations of “chickenhawk” stemming from my support of OIF, to point out that not all of us have to wear a uniform to be part of the war effort.

          • Xenophon


          • Ritchie The Riveter

            No strawman … reality … as I described to FriendlyGoat in a couple of places below:

            … while many of my generation thought they had it made when they got one of those assembly-line jobs that now has disappeared, because they didn’t take the initiative to deliver the productivity that would justify continuing to give them the high wages they demanded … let alone take the initiative to move beyond that vulnerable position to one where their skills were considered assets to be competed for by employers instead of a commodity to be bought at the lowest price.

            OTOH, my 31-year career in engineering has been, in large part, fed by opportunities facilitated by those tax cuts … as have the careers and prosperity of MILLIONS of others who took the initiative to leverage those opportunities to better things.

            Those who followed your Progressive advice and continued to expect “experts” and “leaders” to better their lot instead of working with those opportunities to do so … not so much.

            Businesses will stay here, stay in business, and stay employing, as long as those the productivity/cost ratio of doing so is higher than either investing in more automation and/or moving on to other locations and/or moving on to other endeavors entirely – or moving into retirement.

            Over the last century, instead, we have promoted the idea that one can work the same job the same way in the same place for a lifetime, and EXPECT raise after raise and a prosperous retirement because others – particularly unions and government – will coerce employers into delivering that, even if one’s productivity cannot support it in the marketplace.

            We have turned responsibility into a function of pocket depth … and we have misled millions into keeping themselves vulnerable to the errors, greed, mendacity, and hidden agendas (such as union work rules meant to increase the number of DUES-PAYING employees in a business, instead of maximizing the productivity – and therefore, job security – of those already there) of the “experts” and “leaders” they blindly trust.

          • Xenophon

            That’s my point: its a strawman because you are actively misrepresenting what the actual progressive philosophy is, and putting it into a false dichotomy

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            I am simply reporting on how that “philosophy” actually works in practice, based on a lifetime of observation of its practice … something its proponents want us to ignore as they jam their condescending socio-economic morality down all our throats.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Both you and this article assume that Obama is supposed to feel some sort of shame for preventing a McCain/Palin administration in the United States of America. We of “the herd” still think he is a world hero on that point alone, because we have actually listened to McCain and Palin, and we have listened to their supporters’ platform ideas. None of them are superior to Obama’s approaches on any issue whatsoever.

      Bush believed he could clean out Iraq and Afghanistan and then get voters there to champion secular freedom over the swamp of Islam. It seemed like a good idea, but didn’t work. Obama believed we could talk a kinder talk to Islam and that would improve it. That’s not working either. Perhaps we should recognize that Islam is a simply a mess not subject to quick fix by either American Republicans or Democrats.

      Meanwhile, Obama is on the correct side of most of the big fiscal issues and social issues. With the mild exception of too much golfing, there has never been a day I was not proud of him—-and Michelle—–and, yes, even Joe Biden.

      • Corlyss

        “Both you and this article assume that Obama is supposed to feel some sort of shame for preventing a McCain/Palin administration in the United States of America.”
        The shame is we had nothing better to offer in 2008 than a bunch of inexperienced amateurs all of whom were and still are owned and operated by Soros, Inc. Only Palin wasn’t, and SHE at least had experience as an executive of SOMETHING, including a governorship. The other 3? Children playing at adult games.

        • FriendlyGoat

          The Palin family’s recent party brawl is a metaphor of what she is and how she thinks. She can lead you if you wish. Not me. And not our country.

          • Xenophon

            I was, and continue to be unhappy about voting for Obama in 2012. Picking the lesser of two evils is not equivalent to a mandate

          • FriendlyGoat

            The mandate is supposed to be for the platform, not the candidate, because the policy is what matters in our lives. If you voted for the best platform and now regret it, what unfortunate thing happened to you?

          • Xenophon

            I may be unhappy about it, but I don’t regret my vote. I’d rather Obama have his finger on the button than Romney and Ryan

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            The continued data mining by the NSA, the IRS scandal, and the mess in the Mideast are more then metaphor of what our current Dear Leader is and how he thinks.

            And your support of him reflects on who you are and how you think.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, it does. I am proud of identifying with Obama as opposed to identifying with McCain and Palin. I know that is not popular at TAI, but so what?

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            So you support a myopic incompetent who ignores history and runs roughshod over the rule of law, simply because he supports your socio-economic morality By. Any. Means. Necessary … our rights be damned?

            No wonder you are not popular here.

      • RAS743

        Enjoy your parallel universe, while it lasts.

        Sooner or later, because of the inter-connectedness of the world, these butchers, who you apparently think can be walled off from the rest of us while they “settle” their internecine differences, will have to be dealt with with the most extreme measures.

        You and the Anthony Zinnis and Tom Ricks and George Wills (who was for it before he was against it) of this world can cluck your tongues all you want about the Bush-Cheyney-Neo Con “cabal’s” overreach in Iraq, but the fact is their war aim was grounded in a coherent strategy, targeting a state that geographically and historically lies at the heart of the Arab Muslim world, with, yes, all of its social pathologies. Obama’s concept of strategy never gets beyond domestic politics, learned in the cesspool of a city where he spent his formative years; his “strategy” was to appease his base, which did so much to undermine the waging of the Iraq war, by cutting and running.

        And if you think nation building in tribal societies is a fool’s errand, wait till you see what it costs to confront the tribes after they coalesce or eliminate their rivals and lay their hands on weapons of mass destruction — while they’re “walled off” from the rest of us. Suffice it to say they won’t be fighting by Marquess of Queensberry rules. (BTW, who *else* is streaming across our Southern border besides those undocumented Democrats? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.)

        As for The One being on the “correct side of most of the big fiscal issues and social issues,” well, words fail. If fiscal ruin is your idea of being on the correct side, then I hope you have no grandchildren, because theirs truly will be a Hobbesian world, in whatever form the fragments of this nation exist.

        I find it highly amusing that people such as yourself deride our international “overreach” while at the same time championing, in the “social issues” that your hero supposedly commands, the leviathan state, whose precise skills you presume can fine-tune the lives of 317 million citizens.

        The result of such “command” manages to leak out daily even from our supine press, with tales of multiple billions mislaid or paid to the legions of system-gamers. And what do we have to show for it? An ever-burgeoning underclass bred into existence on the dole and educated by NEA educrats — both core Democratic Party constituencies. You give them the misery and the skills fit for nothing more than minimum-wage jobs, and they give you their votes and flying squads to shout at The Man whenever your benighted opponents commit political heterodoxy.

        But guess what? You’re “The Man” now. “You won.” Now let’s see how you and your herd enjoy living in the country you’ve made over in your likeness.

        And while you do, ponder this thought about spending on those “social issues” your hero commands. Since 1964, he and his spiritual forbears have been the prime movers (with support from “me too” Republicans) on programs that have spent *$22 trillion* in the “War on Poverty” and moved the poverty needle … not even a micrometer. Yeah, that’s “command” all right.

        Have a good day in La-La Land.

        • FriendlyGoat

          If you had any sense, you would have noticed that I did not fault Bush for believing Islamic voters would rise above Islam. The problem is that they didn’t——anywhere. We’re all disappointed, but endless American occupation of dozens of countries was not only not his goal, but not possible for us under any president.

          As for the economy, you think it is the Obama economy.
          Our problems actually stem from decades of high-end tax cuts still in effect. They destroy more jobs than even the Fed can try to stimulate with printed trillions.

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            Millions of purple fingers say otherwise … but they lost the chance for their society to rise above tyranny, because we left before rights-respecting governance was firmly established, leaving al-Malaki to degrade the situation through cronyism and open the door for ISIS.

            And after six years, it IS the Obama economy. OTOH, my 31-year career in engineering has been, in large part, fed by opportunities facilitated by those tax cuts … as have the careers and prosperity of MILLIONS of others who took the initiative to leverage those opportunities to better things.

            Those who followed your Progressive advice and continued to expect “experts” and “leaders” to better their lot instead of working with those opportunities to do so … not so much.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m glad you’re successful, but when you start talking as though tax cuts subsidized your engineering opportunities while others’ lesser jobs slipped away over 31 years, you’re more busy backing my arguments than your own.

            As for the purple fingers, it does not matter how many people vote if they vote for the wrong thing.

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            Not just my opportunities were facilitated by the improved economics those tax cuts fostered … but the opportunities of EVERYONE involved, all the way down to the junior assemblers where I worked.

            Your problem, is that you don’t WANT to consider any of the other, REAL factors that lead to job loss … because they don’t fit into your moral judgment that “the rich are greedy, and won’t share”. I already pointed out that they do share, in many ways Progressives approve of, in another reply … and other CEO’s, like the late founder of the company I currently work for, DO share the wealth with their employees up-and-down-the-line in their enlightened self-interest (and his company continues to do so).

            They would do so more, if (1) employees were encouraged to think like businessmen with valuable product – their labor and skills – themselves, instead of seeing themselves as a commodity that will be bought at the lowest price unless union and government intervention distort the market while keeping employees vulnerable to the errors/mendacity/greed of these “champions”, and (2) tax policy wasn’t in place that assumes that all rich people are greedy, and that keeping their money in their hands NEVER results in better benefits to society than having government bureaucrats spend it with around 20% efficiency with respect to actual services delivered.

            The only thing the Iraqis voted for that was wrong, was to trust a political animal like al-Malaki to run their country.

            We’ve made that mistake a few times in this nation … but until the last couple of elections, respect for those unalienable rights and the rule of law gave us the strength to get through that kind of mistake. Unfortunately we didn’t stay around long enough for that kind of societal strength to take root in Iraq, because Progressives used the war as a convenient club to beat down their opponents.

          • RAS743

            Really? Sense? My friend, you’re clueless.

            However botched the invasion and initial occupation of Iraq was, the fact is after we went in we should have stayed to make it right. But your hero failed to achieve a status-of-forces agreement with the Maliki government and used that as an excuse to walk away and yank everyone out. And now the Iraqis are paying the consequences, as are we with our loss of credibility internationally. And for what? So The One could appease his political base. Now there’s the mark of a statesman. Squander the valor of American warriors to get another term of office and spend all his time on the golf course. What a guy.

            And you think tax cuts that deprive an inept, lumbering federal bureaucracy of money that it otherwise would waste by the billions and trillions in programs that are nothing more instruments of self-aggrandizement for the ruling class in that despicable town are at fault for the state of our economy? Really?

            I’ve spent many years working with one particular federal bureaucracy that does its “good deeds” in the “social sphere” and I’m here to tell you that it’s as stupid as anything human beings ever invented. “Programs,” thought up by “social engineers” and written into laws by the staff of craven politicians (but I repeat myself), who are voted into office by the gullible, who think federal bureaus can make their lives better than they themselves can. You think the likes of Harry Reid and Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer are humanitarians, really? You think this rent-seeking is how this country achieved its wealth and greatness and the power to be a force for good in this world?

            I have this bridge in can sell you, cheap. Send me your email address.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Neither Bush nor Obama succeeded in getting permission for us to stay in Iraq indefinitely with the requisite immunity from local criminal prosecution for actions of Americans on Iraqi soil. That’s because of the Islamic sentiments of Iraqis.

            Tax cuts are hurting job creation because high income tax rates are needed to coerce companies to spend more of their pre-tax dollars on PP&E and people, deduct those expenses, lower the taxable income and avoid the taxes. Your side thinks you can just BEG them to spend after-tax dollars on those things. But they don’t, and everyone needing a job is paying a price for the erroneous thinking of your whole party in that regard. The money is going into locked-away piles instead of into the economy. Taxes are supposed to be the way we avoid that effect—-whether the money goes to government (which hires people) or whether the companies spend down cash to avoid sending tax to government.

            As for your work with the bureaucracy, do you get paid for fiddling with the folks there?

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            Oh but they do “spend after-tax dollars on those things”. That is known as INVESTMENT. You probably think that every rich person keeps their money under their mattress on their yacht.

            Your zero-sum approach of making tax reduction/avoidance the priority in an enterprise is playing not to lose … but you still end up losing, because you inherently end up taking away the focus on wealth-creating activities that expand investment and jobs, such as innovation, market expansion, and basic focus on the business of the business.

          • RAS743

            You’re still not addressing the gargantuan federal bureaucracy that adds virtually *nothing* of value to the economy but steals money from the hard-working people in the form of taxes you’re so enamored with.
            And you say nothing of the regulatory state that, far from keeping “capitalists within the white lines” makes businessmen special pleaders and complicit in the warping of our economy with our wretched, semi-permanent (term limits, anyone?) ruling class, who have the arrogance and gall to think they can fine-tune a multitrillion-dollar economy inhabited by 317 million people.
            What these people are — the legislators, their staffs, the lobbyists who plead with them, the bureaucrats who staff the rabbit warrens — are parasites, pure and simple. Most obviously do not view themselves this way, but the result is the same. They do not add to our economic vitality; they subtract from it.
            Our disagreement is as profound as it gets. You appear to have complete faith in the state’s ability to get most things right, to be effective in ameliorating problems that, clearly, more than seven decades of experience have shown, it can’t. “The War on Poverty,” with its $22 trillion bill, is merely one, albeit gigantic, example.
            I don’t agree with your view of the proper role of government. I *know* it can’t do what you want it to do. But my viewpoint is in the minority, and yours is in the majority. We’ll see what happens. I believe in your way lies fiscal ruin and possibly social disintegration and revolution.

      • bannedforselfcensorship

        Upvoted for your 2nd paragraph, which is nice concise history and argument for non-intervention.

        I’m still not sure where I stand, but the rush to war is over.

        • ajwpip

          Get back to work at McArdle’s blog. You can slack off here at the American Interest on your own time.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Thanks. I wish the others here noted that I wasn’t really Bush-bashing. His overall hope for voters in Islamic places had a noble aspect to it. But, we’re all disappointed about how saturation of Islam really works in Islamic places.

  • Thirdsyphon

    “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” -Karl Rove, discussing the Iraq War in 2004.

    In terms of hubris, this Administration has a long way to go before it’s in any danger of catching up with its predecessors.

    • MartyH

      Sorry, Obama, trumps Rove. Once Obama wrapped up the Democratic nomination (and before the election) he said:

      “…generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”

      “we began to provide care for the sick”-because medicine did not exist before Obama.

      “good jobs to the jobless”-which is why income inequality has grown under Obama’s presidency

      “rise of the oceans began to slow and the oceans began to heal” because Obama has been so successful in getting China and India to agree to stay in poverty; so successful in getting a worldwide climate treaty passed; so successful in getting a US carbon tax.

      “we ended a war”-in addition to the one not ending, several more have started up-Syria, Libya, Yemen.

      “and secured our nation”-Yesterday we bombed Khorasan, a group nobody had heard of until a week ago, because they are an imminent threat. It’s known and accepted that IS fighters are returning to the West-perhaps even the the US. Bin Laden may be dead, but AQ is not.

      “and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”-tell that to the Ukranians, Egyptians, Israelis, English, Germans, Iraqis, Kurds, Poles, Saudis, etc., etc. etc.

      Somehow, generations from now, I doubt Obama will be seen in the light this speech anticipated.

    • Corlyss

      Bush knew he wasn’t the smartest guy in the room and hired people who were smarter than he was. Obama doesn’t think there is such a thing as someone who knows more than he does about ANYTHING.

      • mesocyclone

        And, btw, Bush was no slouch in the intelligence department. His IQ, at 126, is just 2 points short of qualifying for Mensa. He was also a master poker player at Harvard Business School, where poker playing is considered an important skill.

        We don’t know about Obama. The press, which “speaks truth to power,” has yet to investigate or tell us *anything* about Obama’s educational years. They haven’t told us why he never wrote any articles for publication, even while a professor. They have not uncovered his grades, unlike the insane 2004 push to dig up the slightest and tiniest bit of dirt regarding Bush’s national guard service (yes, Bush is a military veteran).

        • Ritchie The Riveter

          And one other thing … Mr. Bush logged around 400 flight hours in Century Series, pre-fly-by-wire fighter aircraft, which were well suited for culling the stupid out of the gene pool.

          • mesocyclone

            Yep. My best friend was killed during those years, flying one of them, due to equipment failure. It was not a job for cowards. I’m a Vietnam Vet airman and I deeply respect the folks who flew those aircraft and never left CONUS, although Bush did volunteer for Vietnam.

            Also,in those days the Texas National Guard fighters carried armed nuclear anti-aircraft missiles while on alert. Bush could have launched a nuke by pushing a few buttons.

        • Corlyss

          “We don’t know about Obama.”
          We know this much about him: he likes to play games where everyone else understands that he’s supposed to win.

    • AGoyAndHisBlog

      How is it “hubris” to state the irrefutable?

      [And outside of an unsubstantiated claim published by Mark Danner – tenured journalism academic at Berkeley – is there any evidence that this statement was ever made by Rove? In fact, outside of Suskind’s propaganda piece, aimed at painting Bush as a religious zealot three weeks before the 2004 Election, is there any evidence that ANYONE ever actually said this? Honest questions.]

      The fact is that the U.S. has been a de facto empire, and behaved as such, for over 150 years. This is the reality the the soi-disant “reality-based community” refuses (or works overtime not) to acknowledge. All political power and usurped civil authority is now concentrated in D.C. – contrary in every way to the Founders’ vision and those who originally ratified the Constitution – and it doesn’t matter who’s President, or which political party is “in control”.

      Regardless of which “ideology” is being promoted, the lingering, authoritarian threat of military force is always used as a stick to keep the populace in line, and the illusion of “two-party democracy” is meticulously maintained as the carrot, for the intellectual exercise of stressing, ultimately, how the People have consistently “voted for” tyranny-by-the-D.C.-elite. An enormous, costly standing army – eschewed by the Founders but promoted by the D.C. oligarchy since 1860 – has been used for military adventurism aimed at Hamiltonian “imperial glory” for well over a century, spanning rule by both “parties” and numerous ideological factions.

      This is the reality everyone inside The
      Beltway (and elsewhere, in academia and the media) works so diligently
      to obfuscate – especially Obama and his handlers.

      This is the reality NO ONE outside The Beltway wants to face, because it would lay bare the true, unsustainable nature of our totally-out-of-control federal government, and put the onus on The People to correct it. Far easier to bicker about (or make a living from writing about) federal partisan issues that are beyond any Citizen’s ability to influence.

      • Thirdsyphon

        This would be a much better world if we could fact-check anonymous sources, but alas, we debate on the basis of the journalism we have, not the journalism we want. Aside from trusting Danner’s word on the identity of Suskind’s source (or, if you want to get really skeptical, trusting Suskind’s claim that the quote itself is accurate), I can only think of two points that seem to confirm it.

        1) Karl Rove has never denied having said this. If he’d been misquoted in that article, it would have been political malpractice for him not to seize the opportunity thus presented for him to discredit the article, Suskind’s reporting, and the New York Times itself. I’m not a fan of Rove’s, but I know he’s too good at his job to have let a gaffe of that magnitude pass by.

        2) Talk of America as a rising empire was pretty prevalent in Administration circles around that time. The Cheney family Christmas card for 2013 read:

        “If a sparrow can fall to the ground without His notice,
        it is likely that an empire can rise without His help?”

        Granted, Cheney claimed later that the Second Lady had chosen the “empire” language without consulting him. . . but that strikes me as somewhat incredible.

        • AGoyAndHisBlog

          “…alas, we debate on the basis of the journalism we have, not the journalism we want.”

          You can “debate” on the basis of unsubstantiated claims from the “reality-based community” all you like. No one else is required to join you.

          And Rove is hardly responsible for denying someone else’s claim, your opinion (easily judged based on your choice to “debate” unsubstantiated claims) of “political malpractice” not withstanding. The point was, of course, that it’s irrelevant whether this was actually said at all, or who said it, since it is an acknowledgment of the status quo and, thus, hardly rises to the level of “hubris”.

          The notion that hard facts can be ignored is the very basis of the out-of-control federal government we have – again, irrespective of party or persons – and has been for well over a century. You can “debate” with yourself over technical definitions of empire all you like. That won’t change the reality.

        • Xenophon

          Further, many of the members of the bush administration shared connections with the project for the new American century

    • Xenophon

      I love that quote, it illustrates the root cause of most of the Bush administrations mistakes straight from the horse’s mouth

  • ljgude

    Below the level of the presidency there is also the collective knowledge of the military. Obama finds himself in roughly the same place as Bush in 2005 when ISIL’s predecessor the Islamic State in Iraq was running amok in Anbar province. He would do well to put Petraeus into an advisory role and utilize the still serving effective younger officers Petraeus promoted over the time servers in recognition of their performance in Iraq. It is a new military problem and probably requires more than just airstrikes, the US military knows how they defeated ISLS precursor in the surge. But I don’t think Obama is really determined to defeat ISIL, but if he is, the military leaders who have proven they know how to do it are at his disposal if he has the sense to employ them.

    • bannedforselfcensorship

      We are attempting Vietnamization and will use Iraqi troops.

      Frankly, I think I’m okay with this, because in the end, those troops will have to hold the ground.

      • Ritchie The Riveter

        Those Iraqi forces have been seriously weakened by Malaki’s politically-driven interference.

        Frankly, I’d trust our own forces more to do the job right… except we still have a Chamberlain and not a Churchill as CINC.

      • ajwpip

        Would have been a lot easier to do this if Obama hadn’t felt compelled for domestic political reasons and hubris to not do the work of establishing a status of forces agreement and a permanent troop presence. Iraq over time would have been judged a success and the left could not have that. At the time Obama took over death rates in Iraq were lower than in peacetime due to accident. The cost of basing forces there lower than having them based in the states. The left could not have Bush’s legacy be a success. The irony is that by destroying Bush’s legacy they are now being forced to make many of Bush’s decisions once more.

        • Ritchie The Riveter

          We can thank Progressives and their hubris, for having to go back AGAIN.

          Can they say “war without end”?

  • rheddles

    This is the second country against which he has waged war without Congressional authorization. Something Bush never did. In spite of purely political opposition. Nothing self righteous about pointing that out. But history will remember. And wonder about the sincerity of the anti-war crowd.

    • bannedforselfcensorship

      Are we at war with Assad? We didn’t bomb him.

      This is more like hot pursuit of a suspect across county lines.

      And it should be noted Assad didn’t attempt to stop this, and in fact praised the airstrikes.

      Libya, on the other hand, that should have had a vote.

      That said, this action following Libya could be construed in the future as confirmation of the precedent of Libya.

      • rheddles

        The point of getting Congressional authorization is not only about in which foreign countries we will perpetrate violence, it is about permission to put the lives of the sons and daughters of Americans at risk.

  • dfooter

    Obama will never admit he was wrong, least of all to himself.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    There are very few parallels between Bush and Obama, Bush was a president that took the responsibilities of his office as his own, while Obama blames everyone and everything for his failures. Bush learned from his mistakes while in office, Obama seems incapable of learning from mistakes because he would first have to take responsibility for his mistakes, and he is to busy blaming others for his failings. So, Obama will become known as the worst President in American History, whose weakness led to Authoritarian governments from Russia to China into strategic overreach and horrifying wars, and economic decay. The American people have made a horrible blunder in voting for Obama who’s only qualification for office was the color of his skin. And now the American people will pay for that blunder with blood and the nation’s treasure.

  • Corlyss

    “The Parallels Between Bush and Obama”
    Careful. You’re going to give one of those men a heart attack.

  • TheDarkHelmet

    Obama will never admit he’s wrong. Everything bad that happens is someone else’s fault, after all. Obama could sit down to lunch with Isaac Newton, Aristotle and Confucius and the conversation would consist of Obama trying to enlighten his guests. He is incapable of listening, learning or taking good advice. He is the greatest bullsh** artist the modern world has known, and he’s not about to change his m.o. now. All of this was highly predictable. Obama voters should be heartily ashamed of themselves. But they won’t be for the same reason that Obama will never admit he’s wrong.

  • Diggs

    What’s wrong with the chickenhawk charge to Obama’s entire administration? The only thing that Democrats deserve now, and for the foreseeable future, is derision, condemnation, ridicule and spit.

    • Ritchie The Riveter

      What is wrong, is the choice of species. Ostrich, or dodo, would be a closer match.

  • cloud_buster

    “the only other person on earth who really understands what Obama is going through”

    Actually there are four living former Presidents, all of whom might have valuable insight into what Obama is going through (much as I despise Carter, he endured the Iran hostage crisis and a deep recession and he’s probably worth asking for his opinion). By all accounts Clinton and Obama hate each other, and he’d never deign to ask either Bush for advice. I don’t recall him ever asking Carter for advice, but Carter would seem to be the only one he hasn’t alienated.

  • Gregale

    It’s extremely tiresome to listen to someone who votes naive Democrats into power and then turns around and tells conservatives not to behave like naive Democrats.

  • bannedforselfcensorship

    Oh, I see. Its a call for civility when the Democrats could be criticized. But maybe civility is best promoted by having them taste their own medicine?

    Though was anyone calling anyone a chickenhawk? Its like you brought up this idea…maybe as a suggestion?

  • Misanthrope

    Obama isn’t wasting any time or sleep wondering over foreign policy – President Jarrett’s in charge of handing the Middle East over to Iran.

  • Bobcat

    “We hope President Obama’s critics will be less snarky and self righteous than Obama’s supporters were when it was time to criticize Bush”

    After a brief choke, I think this might be possible. We sure as hell know it wouldn’t have worked the other way.

  • Chris Tolley

    I disagree that Obama has been struggling with how to deal with violent Muslim extremism. He has done the absolute rock bottom minimum necessary to protect the U.S. from this threat. He only calls attention to his efforts in this regard when he thinks it will assist him domestically, such as the death of Osama Bin Laden. It can be credibly argued that his current efforts against ISIS/ISIL are solely to burnish democrat electoral chances in November. Look for a return to apathy toward this violence along with apologies for its perpetrators after the midterms.

    Obama’s true mideast policy is reign in, humiliate, insult and disempower what he considers the most destructive force in the middle east, if not the world – The United States of America.

    • Ritchie The Riveter

      Or to put it another way, his polices are designed to put an “uppity” nation “in its place.”

  • PDQuig

    Not only should we withhold the snark, we should relentlessly pile on the opprobrium. Obama–and the fools who twice put him in office–deserve to feel intense and unending shame. Obama is and always has been a liar, a charlatan, an incompetent, snide, and corrupt jerk-off. An affirmative action, Peter Principle putz.

    All hail the first half-white president. Makes me ashamed of my race.

  • Nate Whilk

    ‘We hope President Obama’s critics will be less snarky and self righteous than Obama’s supporters were when it was time to criticize Bush; we would, for example, be sorry to hear the entire right wing of the country start calling the President and his top advisors “chicken hawks” and mocking them for sending Americans into harm’s way without having done military service themselves. ‘

    Why, for heaven’s sake? Why the hell should we be nice to them after 8 years of the rawest lies, abuse, and hypocrisy? Whether we do or not they’ll behave the same.

    ‘We’d also like to see the President demonstrate some class—perhaps by inviting President Bush to the White House to offer some advice from the only other person on earth who really understands what Obama is going through.’

    Definitely not “class.” That would be humility, which Obama lacks completely, being totally filled with hubris instead. And if things went wrong, he’d just blame Bush again.

    ‘But surely there must be times in the Oval Office when President Obama, sitting in the ashes of his own
    hopes and plans, wonders whether the world isn’t a much more complicated place than he thought it was in 2008.’

    It’s even more complicated than that thanks to his very own actions. If he considers that for even a moment, I’d be totally amazed.

  • CB160

    Th best thing to ever happen to the Bush Foriegn Policy was for BO to get elected.

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