Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’
June 19th, 2010 at 3:37 pm
Profiles in Shallowness

With Day 60 of the Gulf Oil Spill now upon us, Mark Steyn provides a trenchant diagnosis of the mental state directing President Barack Obama’s approach to governing:

The UN, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Bono: these are the colors a progressive worldly westerner nails to his mast. You don’t need to go anywhere, or do anything: You just need to pick up the general groove, which you can do very easily at almost any college campus.

This Barack Obama did brilliantly. A man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W Bush, he has nevertheless grasped the essential lingo of the European transnationalist: Continental leaders strike attitudes rather than effect action – which is frankly beneath them.

BP’s demoted CEO Tony Hayward may be in hot water for attending a glitzy yacht race while oil continues to saturate the Gulf, but are his actions really that much different than Obama giving a national speech on the subject before turning his attention towards challenging Arizona’s immigration law?

May 26th, 2010 at 12:33 pm
Will Obama Blame Bush for America’s Popularity?

It’s become a bit of a cliché in the Obama Administration to blame George W. Bush for…well, just about everything wrong with the country.  Job numbers are down because of the previous administration’s mismanagement of the economy.  The deficit is exploding because Bush & Co. started two allegedly needless wars.  Even the Gulf Oil Spill catastrophe is being laid at the feet of alleged coziness between Bush Era regulators and BP management.  If nothing else, the Obama White House knows how to trace problems occurring on its watch to other people.

Will it do the same with success?  According to Gallup polls of foreign nations, America is most popular in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The fact that President Obama’s ancestry touches the region doesn’t explain fully the reason.

So you might be asking yourself, “why Africa?”

It’s a good question, one our friends over at Gallup have given some consideration in past surveys. Since 2008, Sub-Saharan Africa may be the one region of the world where the United States has reaped the highest benefits of what has been termed “The Obama Effect.” Being of Kenyan descent, Obama enjoys high approval ratings throughout much of Africa. More substantively, 5 out of the 7 listed nations have been targeted in the president’s $3.5 billion Feed the Future initiative.

And let’s not give the 44th president all of the credit. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, invested American aid and resources into Africa at a record pace. President Bush’s PEPFAR program was a groundbreaking policy endeavor, and while Bush’s domestic approval numbers were low upon leaving office, U.S. approval throughout much of Africa remained rather strong.

As with much of his social spending, the most recent President Bush doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the good – and goodwill – many of his initiatives achieved.  Still, it must give W some sort of quiet pride to know that America’s popularity in Africa can be traced directly to his policy decisions.

H/T: RealClearWorld

May 17th, 2010 at 8:45 pm
Kagan’s White House Paper Trail

What Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan lacks in the way of academic writing, she (apparently) more than compensates for with her lawyerly output during her time in the Clinton White House Counsel’s Office.  Recalling that former President George W. Bush shared over 50,000 pages of material associated with now Chief Justice John Roberts’s time as a lawyer in the Reagan White House, Byron York of the Washington D.C. Examiner reports which way precedent points in divulging Kagan’s work product.

“There is now a precedent that a White House lawyer’s materials will be produced,” says Bradford Berenson, an associate counsel in the Bush White House. “I think it will be very difficult for the Obama administration, given everything they’ve said about transparency and openness, to withhold these documents.”

Before anyone starts salivating over the thought of reading thousands of legal memos, remember that the current Oval Office occupant is not inclined to share information.  Unlike President Bush, Obama can’t be bothered to take a single question from the press after signing the Freedom of the Press Act.

Constitutional controversy over executive privilege, anyone?

May 12th, 2010 at 1:54 pm
Don’t Just Stand There; Do What Bush Did!

The White House phone bill might be ticking sharply north this month because, lo and behold, it turns out there are more politicians in desperate need of President Obama’s perpetual insistence to “act boldly.”  On the heels of reports that he cajoled German Chancellor Angela Merkel into forsaking her voters and bailing out Greece comes this breathless update: Obama is twisting arms in Spain!

Spain is one of the “PIGS” countries, a group of economic basket cases including Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain.  Like the others, Spain is suffering from extreme budget deficits caused by rampant government spending to prop up unsustainable social welfare programs.  Obama called to convey some tough love:

Mr Obama’s call yesterday to Mr Zapatero added an American voice to European pressure on Spain.

Mr Zapatero has so far shied away from structural reforms opposed by trade unions but is now facing new calls from EU leaders to slash spending again and tackle his country’s economic crisis.

If it’s true that Obama is urging Spain to cut spending, then three cheers for fiscal sanity!  Unfortunately, there are no indications that approach is being seriously considered on this side of the pond.  As proof, the Obama Administration is holding out a curious example for Europeans to follow: the Bush era’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

American officials urged that Mr Sarkozy and Mrs Merkel recall the U.S. lesson of 2008-2009 when the Bush administration persuaded a reluctant Congress to approve a massive $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

While politically unpopular, the U.S. rescue plan convinced markets that authorities were serious about keeping banks afloat.

Or it convinced those who play in the markets that the American government wasn’t serious about letting the invisible hand apply the rules of risk and reward to credit default swaps.  If anything, TARP is a monument to the kind of taxpayer funded subsidy for bad behavior that should be avoided by other countries because it socializes the risk yet personalizes the reward.

If European leaders want to speed the decline in trust for economic “experts” by all means, TARP away – just don’t whine when China buys chunks of real estate for pennies on the Euro.

H/T: Daily Mail (UK)

April 30th, 2010 at 3:01 pm
Environmental Left Mute on Obama’s “Katrina Moment”

With apologies to Bob Dole, where’s the outrage over President Barack Obama’s mishandling of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill?

If reports are true that the spill could be worse than the Exxon Valdez disaster, why on earth is the Sierra Club confining its commentary to calling on President Barack Obama to “engage every resource available to address the immediate cleanup and recovery needs of Gulf Coast residents, businesses, wildlife, and marine life.”

The very next sentence then demands a commitment to “end offshore oil drilling.”  So we’ve got vague concern about the spill followed by concrete prohibitions on an entire field of energy development.

At least the Sierra Club knows its priorities.

This, amid reporting form the New York Times that 10 days after 210,000 gallons of oil a day began flooding the Gulf, the Obama White House is just now starting to take a leadership role in managing the situation.  Looking at its website, apparently PETA can’t be bothered even to feign outrage over a supposedly Environmentalist President’s failure to spring into action on behalf of higher life forms like river otters and nesting pelicans.

How telling that for an issue that really is an emergency in need of comprehensive federal intervention, the Left can’t seem to wrest its attention away from comparatively academic discussions about cap-and-trade, and reasonably suspicious immigrants.

The end of George Bush’s presidency began when his advisors misread the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the national consciousness.  Now, it looks like Obama is getting another pass from allies whilst he reprises his role as Ditherer-in-Chief.

March 25th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
Thomas Friedman Declares “Mission Accomplished” on Healthcare

Isn’t comprehensive legislation wonderful?  With the stroke of several pens this week, 30 million Americans now have health care!  Right now.  Check out liberals’ columnist of record, Thomas Friedman, who exhilaratingly proclaims that “covering so many uninsured Americans is a historic achievement.”  All that’s missing is a “Mission Accomplished” banner draped across the Mayo Clinic.

Except that none of the 30 million under-insured Americans has Obamacare health insurance today.  Those on the left love to distort the 2003 “Mission Accomplished” banner on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, which celebrated its crew’s successful deployment, as some sort of premature statement by President Bush that the Iraq campaign was concluded.  In this instance, however, Friedman may truly be celebrating a “mission accomplished” before his professed objective was, well, accomplished.  So-called “progressives” may be celebrating, but not for anything more than making a law.  That’s a result, not an achievement.

March 11th, 2010 at 1:32 pm
Bush Still Classier than Obama

Say what you will about the 43rd president’s public speaking skills, machismo, or ideology, but what George W. Bush lacked in “nuance” and “polish” he compensated for richly with a statesman’s adherence to protocol.  Even though the Supreme Court repeatedly invalidated carefully crafted terrorism legislation that enjoyed broad majorities in Congress, Bush never took the low and easy road of public scolding.  Nor did he allow his subordinates.

Not so with his “post-partisan” successor.  In a sophomoric move that may permanently affect the public relationship between the president and members of the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama castigated a ruling extending free speech rights to associations like labor unions and corporations.  Not only did Associate Justice Samuel Alito react at the time, now Chief Justice John Roberts is speculating that perhaps justices shouldn’t attend future joint sessions of Congress.  If that happens, it will be one more example of Obama vulgarizing our politics.  (Another is his refusal to call members of Congress by their title of Representative or Senator knowing that they will still honor the tradition of calling him “Mr. President.”)

Maybe Bush 43 played up everyman pastimes like cutting mesquite trees and exercising too much for some people’s tastes.  But when you compare his quiet class both during and after his presidency to the current occupant’s constant whining and unceremonious behavior, it’s easy to see which person is a fully formed man.

February 18th, 2010 at 10:43 am
It’s the Merchandise, Stupid!
Posted by Print

CBS News’ Political Hotsheet reports that “Miss Me Yet?” merchandise, based on the Minnesota billboard featuring a smiling, waving George W. Bush is hot.  That is not surprising, given the publicity that the billboard has gotten, largely because it was the subject of mystery and not the typical multiple press releases.

What did surprise us was the note at the end of the piece (from U.S. News and World Report reporting earlier this month) that the Obama Store in Washington’s Union Station has closed.

Polls are just polls, but merchandise sales?  That’s humiliating.  (Wasn’t Larry Summers in charge of merchandise?)

January 25th, 2010 at 5:28 pm
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Blame Your Predecessor
Posted by Print

That appears to be James Carville’s new strategy amidst the Democratic bloodbath last week.  Writing in the Financial Times, Carville argues that Democrats need to end their circular firing squad and start blaming the real culprit behind recent failings … George W. Bush, of course.

President Obama has had more than a year to “fix” the nation, but his attempts at restoring economic growth were littered with the tired and failed ideas of yet another government stimulus plan.  His spending schemes and continued bailouts have only exacerbated the unemployment rate, while still spending more than any president in history, including George W. Bush.

What George W. Bush has to do with an election in the most liberal state in the nation is unexplained by Mr. Carville’s article.  President Bush’s economic policies did contribute to the deficit and to the unemployment rate but they didn’t make Martha Coakley take a vacation during her campaign or make President Obama ignore the race until it was too late.

For Mr. Carville, President Bush is a convenient boogeyman, but not an explanation for electoral disaster in the Bay State.

December 29th, 2009 at 2:51 pm
Spare the Waterboard, Use the Bomb

Many anti-war Leftists like to taunt military planners with the Vietnam-era missive that it is sometimes “necessary to destroy the town to save it.” Coupling his distaste for enhanced interrogation techniques with the necessity to neutralize terrorists when possible, President Barack Obama seems to be applying that logic to the lives of individual terrorist leaders. In Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now Yemen, Obama is giving the lie to the notion that his approach to terrorists is more humane than his predecessor’s. As Marc Thiessen explains in today’s Washington Post:

President Obama has shut down the CIA interrogation program that helped stop a series of planned attacks — and in the year since he took office, not one high-value terrorist has been interrogated by the CIA.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has escalated the targeted killing of high-value terrorists. There may be times when killing a terrorist leader is the best option (for example, his location might be too remote to reach with anything but an unmanned drone). But President Obama has decided capturing senior terrorist leaders alive and interrogating them — with enhanced techniques if necessary — is not worth the trouble.”

In fact, Obama has been ordering drone assassinations of terrorist leaders since his first week in office. Unlike the Bush Administration’s model of capture, detain, and interrogate, Obama and his team are opting for the ultimate end-run around Attorney General Eric Holder’s epiphany to treat Guantanamo Bay detainees like American citizens: kill them before they’re contacted. If enemy combatants are really more like common criminals worthy of civilian trials, are common criminals now able to be killed by law enforcement prior to being contacted? Why hassle about the vagaries of Miranda rights when a cop can just shoot the bad guy on the street?

As Thiessen rightly notes, there may be situations where such attacks are warranted.  But killing people so you don’t have to feel queasy about dealing with their continued existence is not an elegant solution to a vexing moral problem. Then again, this isn’t the first time President Obama has applied such reasoning.

Besides these troubling inconsistencies, there is usually collateral damage in the form of neighbors and passers-by that get killed in the fallout. These are the fruits of an enlightened presidency? How provocative it is to think that terrorist leaders had it better under George W. Bush than Barack Obama. At least under the former they weren’t guaranteed a death sentence.

November 12th, 2009 at 7:09 pm
Now He Tells Us!

Apparently, former president George W. Bush “went against (his) free-market instincts” when he approved the Wall Street bailout towards the end of his administration.  Better late than never I suppose.

After issuing his mea culpa, “W” had some words of wisdom for his successor:

And without mentioning President Obama by name the former President did have some rather pointed comments for the current Administration claiming that generally “history shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much.”

Bush, who as President also signed off on massive aid to the auto industry, warned against a government takeover of the economy fearing it would eliminate free-market enterprise.  “As the world recovers, we are going to face the temptation to replace the risk and reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control.”

Do as I say…