Obama & Bush

The Obama campaign has unfairly levelled accusations throughout the election season that a John McCain presidency would amount to a Bush third term. Now whilst I deplore scare tactics such as this which defy reality, I believe it is time to look at the links between Obama and Bush and see whether or not Obama is the ‘fresh start’ his campaign claims he will be. Whilst there are a number of areas of agreement between Bush and Obama I am going to focus on a few in particular: The Economy, Gay Marraige, Off shore drilling, National Security FISA and Guns.

The Economy– despite being a fierce critic of Bush’s economic record and using it to his campaigns benefit, Obama actually voted forall of Bush’s budgets which included tax cuts and over 19 spending bills. Similarly Bush has consistently pushed for drilling offshore in order to help the ailing economy and reduce dependency on foreign oil. Obama, who until recently opposed it, now says he’s for it. In Nashville, Tennessee, he told an audience: “We’re going to have to explore new ways to get more oil, and that includes offshore drilling”

Gay Marriage– Obama and Bush agree that marriage is and should remain between a man and a woman. As far back as 2004, Obama said: “Gays should not marry.” And in a Senate debate, he said: “I agree with most Americans, with Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Cheney, with over 2,000 religious leaders of all different beliefs, that decisions about marriage, as they always have, should be left to the states. Personally, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman” So if gays were hoping Obama would be more supportive of their cause than McCain… think again!

National Security and FISA– Again despite his rhetoric of living under Bush’s ‘big brother’ state, Obama voted yes on preauthorizing the much ballyhooed Patriot Act, as sought by the Bush administration. Similarly the Senate bill (FISA) that rewrote intelligence laws to grant immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the wiretapping program was supported by Obama despite his initial opposition. In regards to FISA:

Bush said “This vital intelligence bill will allow our national security professionals to quickly and effectively monitor the plans of terrorists outside the United States, while respecting the liberties of the American people.” 

Obama said “Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike while respecting the rule of law and liberties of the American people”

Sound farmiliar?! All in all it is quite plain to see that Obama’s campaign rhetoric does not stand up to his Capitol Hill record. The point is no one knows what they are getting with Barack Obama. He is untried, untested, a talker not a do-er and I would rather, in these uncertain times, have someone who has the experience, has the courage and has the record to steer America and the world through these uncertain times. People say they want change. They will get it with John McCain, but with Obama its all talk. McCains record clearly shows he can reach across the aisle, he opposed Bush on a number of issues and both he and his running mate have outed corruption in their own parties. Sadly I feel Obama will win for one reason: the economy.

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18 thoughts on “Obama & Bush

  1. I shall focus on these words:

    “He is untried, untested, a talker not a do-er and I would rather, in these uncertain times, have someone who has the experience, has the courage and has the record to steer America and the world through these uncertain times.”

    So you are happy to campaign for an inexperienced, untried and untested person in the UK who doesn’t have a record and is a talker with no evidence of being a do-er? Yet you want exactly the opposite in the US?

    Unless of course you want an experienced campaigner who has the courage to make tough decisions to take his country through uncertain times?

  2. No Mark. The US and the UK are very different. You cannot look at the two as one in the same because they aren’t. Admittedly I did have reservations about Camerons ability to lead, reservations that were well voiced on this blog, however he after 2-3 years he has convinced me he can lead.

    He has had a few years as leader now and he has shown strength against his own party and more to the point he has ‘tamed’ a political beast by commanding the dispatch box at question time. Cameron has spent much of his adult life involved in politics. He gained a first class degree in political and economics from oxford, he worked under Norman Lamont, Michael Howard and others and he has served 7 years as an offical MP. So yes I trust Camerons experience over Obama’s senate talking shop experience… (although hes barely been there!)

    Obamas record in the senate is sloppy at best, he spent the majority of his camapign tearing his opponent, be it clinton or mccain, down, blaming bush, making a load of promises, most of which he has dumbed down now and going on a world victory rally. The point is Obama is a big risk and his rheotric does not match his record. End of.

  3. “he said: “I agree with most Americans, with Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Cheney, with over 2,000 religious leaders of all different beliefs, that decisions about marriage, as they always have, should be left to the states.”

    Bush doesn’t.

  4. No, Obama’s going to win because Bush will go down as the worst president in history since Buchanan.

    Funny. I was a Republican until Bush took power. I didn’t vote for him—I’m not even that stupid—but I quickly learned what happens when people with unlimited power, unlimited ambition, and limited brains are given control of what used to be the greatest country on earth.

    God speed, Barrack Obama.

  5. Being an MP in a small constituency hardly compares to being the head of a state of millions of people does it? Bearing in mind that in a constituency most of the decisions are made by a council and not the MP. The sole purpose of an MP is to vote on behalf of his or her constituents in Parliament. An MP has no experience of leading a large population, this is what councillors or an elected mayor do.

    Cameron has no experience of leading in the front line, Obama does. All we have seen from Cameron is spin with little susbstance. There are no policies. Obama has been there for the last 4 years. He has had to make decisions which affect millions of people in his 7 years as state legislator. So Obama has been in an office of power for 11 years now. That’s a lot more experience than Cameron. Obama also has a degree in Political Science from Columbia University and has studied at Harvard Law school.

    Whichever way you look at it, Obama has far more experience than Cameron does. All Cameron has done is shown he can talk, with no proof he can walk. Taming a political beast at the dispatch box? That’s all talk and no action. Studying under Norman Lamont? That’s not exactly great as Lamont was in charge for Black Wednesday. Michael Howard? Oh yes Cameron played a huge part in writing his manifesto, which was conclusively rejected by the British electorate.

    If Obama was the leader of the Conservative party and Cameron was in Obama’s shoes, I can guarantee you wouldn’t be on this blog having a go at Obama. Such is the nature of party politics. Everyone is the same.

  6. That survey sounds about right and I’d agree with it myself. It’s how capable you are not how long you’ve been in the job.

    This is why posts like the original one annoy me. Experience means nothing, it is how well equipped you are to deal with the problems ahead. I’d rather an intelligent person than an experienced one any day. Ideally someone with both would be good.

  7. I don’t dispute intelligence is vital however to be in the position they are both candidates are clearly intelligent! So I don’t quite understand the point… also:

    ‘Ideally someone with both would be good.’

    McCain then?

  8. “Now whilst I deplore scare tactics such as this which defy reality”

    Well, Robert Kagan (co-founder of PNAC) and Randy Scheunemann (President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq) are advising McCain on foreign policy, so it isn’t really unfair to point out that ‘his’ aims are likely to be a continuation of those of the Bush Administration.

    Besides, he’s abetted Bush’s most deplorable policies: implying a link between Iraq and the anthrax attacks and supporting torture legislation, for example. He was a big fan of FISA as well.

    In fact, his only widely trumpeted victory appears to be “the surge”, and even then he ignores the fact that in many cases “reconciliation” could only be found by shovelling money towards the Awakenings movement, and the foundations had already been laid by ethnic cleansing.

    Not that an Obama Presidency wouldn’t disappoint a lot of people, though.

    Ben

  9. Dan, you need more than just those two things. If it was solely experience and intelligence then Brown would wipe the floor with Cameron. Both have intelligence but Brown is far more experienced. There are many other things you need to be leader but at the end of the day it all comes down to two things: how you can handle the media and what policies you can offer.

  10. Of course, if it was solely on policy none of the parties would win! Cameron doesn’t seem to have any, Clegg has unrealistic ones and Brown has useless ones!

  11. Look Mark I completely understand why people are turnig to Obama… hes young, charismatic but most important of all… HES NOT BUSH! People are desperate for a change and are unfairly linking McCain to Bush. History clearly shows that McCain and Bush have disagreed on many fundamental issues. However in times of war you do have to put your country first. That is why McCain backed Bush in his war on terror and ultimately I believe why Obama backed the FISA Plan.

    In terms of policy I think McCain has it right. He is not going to cut and run in Iraq. He is going to see it through. We are on the verge off victory. Iraq is all but pacified. Now we have a duty to rebuild it. If we cut and run panic will set in and Al Qaeda will return stronger than before. Further to this Obama is willing to talk to leaders like Ahmadinejad without preconditions… has he learnt nothing from the past few years. You cannot talk to people like him! Until he disposes of his outrageous rhetoric which includes wiping Israel off the map then he cannot be talked to… he has to be coerced the way Kim Jong Il and Gaddaffi were. Obama risks undermining years of prssure that we have placed on Iran, one day they will back down.

    Similarly Obama’s economic plan in a time of crisis is very dangerous. He plans ta hikes and higer spending… weve heard that before… in Callaghans Britain and look what happened there! Im sorry but if we are looking at experience and policy, McCains policy is, for the most part, better and his experience is unmatched.

  12. However in times of war you do have to put your country first. That is why McCain backed Bush in his war on terror and ultimately I believe why Obama backed the FISA Plan.

    I’d say it’s more than they were being dishonest, obsequious buffoons, but there we go.

    We are on the verge off victory. Iraq is all but pacified.

    Partly, of course, because Baghdad have been ghettoised and US troops are paying off militia. It’s essentially a balancing act.

    “If we cut and run panic will set in and Al Qaeda will return stronger than
    before.”

    Why? By the figures of the Pentagon only 24% of Iraqis have confidence in Multi-National troops: http://thinkprogress.org/2008/10/01/iraq-pentagon-report-2008/

    Further to this Obama is willing to talk to leaders like Ahmadinejad without preconditions… has he learnt nothing from the past few years. You cannot talk to people like him!

    Why can’t we talk to leaders without preconditions? With Israel already considering attack this is fairly time-urgent.

    Ben

  13. Ben, you make some interesting and relevant points. Both candidates are flawed to be frank. However out of the two I would put my money behind John McCain being the man to lead America and the world through a crisis. Someone of his military experience would be vital in fighting the war on terror and stabilising Iraq. His history of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle is vital given the fact democrats are likely to retain their control of the house and of the senate in the next midterm elections. I think it would be foolish to alow the Dems to control both Congress and the White House.

    Similarly I find Obama’s likening to Bush a cheap and obvious stunt. Obama himself is guilty of backing the administration on many issues but more to the point I find it hillarious that the Dems are taking no responsibility for the current financial crisis. It is THEY not the Republicans who have been in control of the Congress for the past two years…if they could forsee these dangers why did they do nothing about it? In fact one could argue that things started to go badly wrong when the Dems took over congress!… Imagine if they took the white house aswel…

    All in all I don’t think, higher taxes, running away from Iraq, more public spending and economic protectionism as Obama would wish is the way forward for America or indeed the world. Thus McCain is the only alternative.

  14. I think it would be foolish to alow the Dems to control both Congress and the White House.

    That’s an interesting point. I have no love of either Congressional Dems or Republicans, and it would indeed be bad for America (and the world) if either party exerted dominance. However, it wouldn’t be as bad as being lumbered with McCain, Palin and the “intellectual muscle” behind the Bush Administration.

    “Someone of his military experience would be vital in fighting the war on terror and stabilising Iraq.”

    Well, you’ll have to define ‘war on terror’ for me. Putting aside the crimes of the US and UK, both nations are allied to Saudi Arabia – where Amnesty International has reported “suffering [that] is perpetuated and hidden by a system based on secrecy and fear” – and Islom Karimov, whose Presidency in Uzbekistan has, according to the UN, been one of “institutionalized, systematic, and rampant” torture. Western leaders must have eccentric definitions of terror.

    Besides, McCain’s Iraq record is demonstratably dreadful…

    “There is some indication, and I don’t have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq.” – [Letterman 18/10/01]

    “I believe that the success will be fairly easy.” – [CNN 24/09/02]

    “There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shiahs. So I think they can probably get along.” [MSNBC 4/23/03]

    “Iraq is a peaceful, stable country now” [Time 28/08/08]

    With the latter in mind, he may be confused that there is a need to “stabilise” Iraq (which – as I’ve said – is maintained in large part through ghettoisation and the funding of militia).

    “higher taxes”

    Both candidates are proposing tax cuts for most Americans. Indeed, as the Tax Policy Centre described, Obama offers “much larger tax breaks to low- and middle-income taxpayers“.

    You’re right in the cases of those earning over $2.9m, though.

    “running away from Iraq”

    If by ‘running away’ you mean ‘withdrawing unpopular forces’ then I’d consider this a positive boon for the Obama campaign.

    “more public spending”

    The US is currently spending $12bn a month in Iraq.

    Just sayin’ ;o)

    Anyway, sorry for barging into this thread all guns blazing but electoral campaigns are terrible for one’s temperament.

    Ben

  15. haha I certainly agree with your last point… campaigns like this certainly are bad for ones temperament!

    In regards to your points I am going to make a very unpopular statement here:

    BUSH ISNT AS BAD AS YOU ARE MAKING OUT :o :o :o :o

    I think he has made good his word. He swore to protect America post 9/11, he has. He said he would stabilise Iraq… he pretty much has. He supported the surge even when members of his own party didn’t… he, not they, was proved right. Yes he is a bit of a doofus, yes he is gaffe prone and yes his decisions have been unpopular but I wouldn’t go as far to say he is the worst president in US history. I think from his shakey election victory in 2000 he was always going to be fighting a losing battle in regard to his personal popularity in which case it is impressive he managed to win outright in 2004!

    Look I am not going to disect all of Obama or McCains economic/domestic policy because frankly that is a matter for the american people and im not really bothered. What I am bothered about is foreign policy. Who do i trust? It sounds corny but at this time I don’t want a quitter I want a fighter! At a time when Russia looks increasingly insurgent we don’t need a wuss in the White House. Obama’s foreign policy proposals like most left wingers areNAIEVE and assume our ‘opponents’ want the same thing we do.

    Iran does not want to be peaceful. That is clear with their outrageous remarks vis a vis Israel and their provocative uranium enrichment programme. Ultimately I think it is clear Iran wants to exert its regional influence. You talk of Saudi Arabia being oppresive.. well Iran has got bells on them! If we leave Iraq as Obama so naievely proposes then the void will be filled by either Iran or Al Qaeda… that would be catastrophic. Id rather have Saddam than them! Iraq certainly isn’t popular… but you don’t do something because it is popular… you do it because it is the right thing to do. Thatcher faced stern opposition to her unpopular measures but history has vindicated her.

    You can argue about the motives and the execution all you like but the war was just. I personally feel that removing a dictator that had openly massacered his own and other people and who DID have biological weapons at one stage is only a good thing. Whats more I think that the stability Iraq is experiencing now, which hopefully will transpire in to prosperity, will serve as a regional beacon of hope which could tip the ideological balance over there and deny future sanctury to nutters like Al Qaeda. Then Bush like Thatcher will be in for a serious legacy re-evaluation.

    Ultiately all that matters to me in this election is foreign policy. I don’t want a wuss in the White House. I find Obama’s liberal lefty proposals ‘quaint’ but unrealistic. When people are upset they make rash decisions. I believe electing obama just because he isn’t a republican is rash. He only really experienced a major bounce when the economy began to crumble. He has as much responsibility for that as John McCain but the difference is he isn’t with the republican tag so McCain is unfairly taking a pounding. Obama is a great talker but weve had enough of that in Britain for the last 10 years… I want a leader not a talker… for me that is McCain

  16. “BUSH ISNT AS BAD AS YOU ARE MAKING OUT :o :o :o :o”

    Heh, he really is.

    “He swore to protect America post 9/11, he has.”

    He’s established the PATRIOT act, he’s authorised illegal NSA wiretapping, he’s supported a camp in which inmates are detained without charge and tortured and he’s…what? Sorry, you caught me mid-spiel.

    “He said he would stabilise Iraq… he pretty much has.”

    I’d say it’s more that Iraq has been temporarily balanced…

    “He supported the surge even when members of his own party didn’t… he, not they, was proved right.”

    Ah, but the “stabilisation” had begun before the troops had even arrived.

    A UCLA study into satellite imagery over Baghdad showed that Sunni and Shia Iraqis, having killed whichever was a minority in a particular neighbourhood, were already establishing ghettos. Joe Christoff of the Government Accountability Office admitted that “we look at the attack data going down, but it’s not taking into consideration that there might be fewer attacks because you have ethnically cleansed neighborhoods“.

    Then one must take into account the tribal leaders that were already cooperating with security forces and then one must take into account the fact that many crooks have just been paid off.

    One of those – Abu Abed, a Sunni warlord that has accepted money “as a way to get arms” – has said that “in the event that the U.S. military and government don’t live up to their promises, it could turn back to a violent form of resistance”.

    “I wouldn’t go as far to say he is the worst president in US history.”

    God, man, that isn’t a very high bar to set. Nixon would give him a run for his money, natch.

    “At a time when Russia looks increasingly insurgent we don’t need a wuss in the White House.”

    Are you sure that you don’t mean resurgent?

    *Nauseating Pedantry Over*

    Anyway, Russia hasn’t undergone particular change, it’s just that now they’ve stopped murdering in Chechnya and have targeted an ally people are rather more worried. They’ve now now withdrawn from Georgia and talks – fractious talks, admittedly – are being held.

    John McCain, meanwhile, is still claiming that Russia committed unprovoked aggression. I believe that the mass murder of anyone – from one’s own nation or another – constitutes provocation in that it requires some form of action. Russia’s invasion of Georgia certainly wasn’t justified – and certainly wasn’t humanitarianism – but McCain is only pretending that there was no provocation so as to maintain a binary moral scenario that is now flagrantly dishonest.

    Who does that remind thee off? Aye, “you’re either with us or you’re against us”.

    “Obama’s foreign policy proposals like most left wingers areNAIEVE and assume our ‘opponents’ want the same thing we do.”

    Why do you assume that the Presidency wants the same things we do? And what do you imagine that McCain would do differently?

    “If we leave Iraq as Obama so naievely proposes then the void will be filled by either Iran or Al Qaeda… that would be catastrophic. Id rather have Saddam than them!”

    Well, firstly you’re assuming that Al Qaeda is an organised and structured body (which is your claim to substantiate) and that Maliki has so much dependence upon the US that he’d become subservient to Iran. In fact, he’s showed a lot of independence – challenging the Awakenings Council that the US have been funding since the “surge”, for example. That doesn’t mean I’m fond of him – in a grotesque return, he’s begun hangings in Kazimiyah once more – but it does mean that his government won’t collapse easily.

    Iraq certainly isn’t popular… but you don’t do something because it is popular… you do it because it is the right thing to do.

    In some cases, yes, I agree. Iraq, however, was not the right thing to do.

    “I personally feel that removing a dictator that had openly massacered his own and other people and who DID have biological weapons at one stage is only a good thing.”

    I love the downfall of fascists, tyrants and dictators! I’ve just come to realise that one can’t trust figures of immense power, corporate interests and political ambitions when they plan to intervene into divided, resource-rich nations.

    Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, and over four million are now refugees.

    And what was that based on? Well, Rumsfeld knowing the location of non-existent weapons, Powell’s ‘aluminium tubes’, McCain’s anthrax connection, Blair’s dossier…lies, in other words. Even the Senate Report admitted that Bush & friends “repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent“.

    I too hope that Iraq finds stability, but US troops are not an aid in this. According to the Pentagon’s own Quarterly Report, under 25% of Iraqis have confidence in multi-national forces, while over eighty percent have confidence in the Iraq military.

    “Then Bush like Thatcher will be in for a serious legacy re-evaluation.”

    Well, hopefully he won’t have the option of parole.

    “Ultiately all that matters to me in this election is foreign policy. I don’t want a wuss in the White House.”

    I agree with your first sentence…

    Well, Obama is far too hawkish for my liking. His rhetoric regarding Pakistan and obsequiousness to the “war on terror” narrative is concerning. Moreover, aren’t you – by this logic – a fan of Joe Biden? He supported an Iraq intervention even before Bush.

    McCain isn’t ‘tough’, he’s a blustering propagandist: the sort of guy that calls Islamic terrorism the “transcendent challenge of our time” and then informs us that the Russian invasion of Georgia was “the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War”. Don’t get me started on the bloody Beach Boys. This rhetoric makes him terrible for urgent diplomacy – such as that between Iran and Israel – but a useful front-man for people such as Kagan and Scheunemann, to whom the world isn’t so much a chessboard as a lump of putty.

    Jeez, sorry that I’ve rambled on for so long. I don’t know whether to submit this comment or publish it as a short book.

    Ben

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