Bush Hatred Prevails Over Obama Love

A presidency that began with such hope and optimism, and such astronomical approval and support, may well end in the utter collapse of the modern liberal program.

I’m sure that sounds like an overstatement, and perhaps it is.  2012 will be no cakewalk for Republicans, and they’re fully capable of bungling the opportunity history has given them.  But if Obama is defeated, then it will be one of the most stunning turnarounds in the history of modern politics.  Consider: George W. Bush entered his first term with a roughly 55% approval rating (averaging the various polls) and left it with about a 47.5% approval rating — a drop of 7.5% over the course of four years full of dissension, accusation and mockery.  Obama began his first term with 65% approval ratings and has stood below 45% for the majority of the past four months — a drop of 20%, nearly three times the Bush figure.

Yet Bush, whatever his virtues, was not an effective spokesperson for modern conservatism.  If a handsome, eloquent, highly intelligent and charismatic African-American Democrat with a charming family, who came to office with both houses of Congress and a historic groundswell of public support and abundant permission to blame his early struggles on the financial crisis and the Bush administration, cannot achieve more than this, then modern American liberalism will need resuscitation.  It should be sobering to progressives that the consummate representation of modern American liberalism is neither effective nor loved.  More Americans (7 out of 10) believe America is on the wrong track now than they did at the time of his inauguration.

Ironically, the roots of Obama’s failure do lay in the Bush administration — but not in the way progressives think.  It was not so much the Bush administration, as it was liberal hatred of the Bush administration, that set Obama up for failure.

Throughout the eight years of the Bush administration, it was almost an article of faith on the Hard Left that anything the dreaded “King George” decreed was not only unwise and unnecessary, but immoral, irrational, and probably illegal, motivated not by cold facts and prudence but by cowboy-ish jingoism, the profits of the military-industrial complex and an enduring theocratic impulse.  With foreign policy, military actions, homeland security, and the economy, there was precious little need for careful examination of the rationale for Bush administration decisions.  If Bush did it, it was foolish and probably criminal, because Bush was not motivated by reason and love for country but by greed and war-lust and a crude evangelical superstitions.

So what do you do when your liberal savior extends and even expands the great majority of those policies?

Consider all the ways in which the Obama administration has continued the policies of the Bush administration, even policies that liberals, including Obama himself, excoriated when Bush was President.  Obama sought to repeat the success of the Iraq Surge with an Afghanistan Surge, and ramped up the kind of drone strikes (not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but even in places like Yemen) that liberals once lamented.  Where the Left once mocked Bush’s Freedom Agenda in the Middle East, the Arab Spring has indeed blossomed, and the Obama administration has been no less interventionist that their predecessors, though they’ve been able to stand behind national rebels in a manner similar to the initial Bush incursion into Afghanistan (with similarly ambiguous results so far).  And for all the talk of a “reset” in diplomatic relations, the early Obama overtures to our enemies produced no significant results — the kumbaya strategy got us nowhere — and the same tensions and disputes have reasserted themselves with Russia, China, North Korea, Syria and many other nations.  Thus writers at The Nation claim “the Bush-Obama presidency has sufficient self-coherence to be considered a historical entity with a life of its own.”

On homeland defense and civil freedoms, the Obama administration has defended warrantless wiretapping and continued extraordinary renditions.  In spite of the campaign promises, Guantanamo is still open.  The most severe of the Enhanced Interrogation techniques had already been discontinued, and as one CIA official says, “the incoming Obama administration changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations.”  The same programs that the Obama campaign had once attacked where “all picked up, reviewed and endorsed by the Obama administration.”  The Obama administration not only endorsed the once-reviled Patriot Act, but they’ve extended the national surveillance apparatus and increased government power to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial.  So progressives complain that “Obama has maintained or expanded all civil rights violations Bush started.”

Even on the economy, Bush cut taxes in the midst of an economic slowdown, and Obama has essentially done the same — ont only extending the Bush tax cuts but adding other, non-income-tax cuts (payroll tax cuts, Making Work Pay tax cuts, etc.).  Obamacare will bring tax increases in 2018, but thus far Obama speaks of raising taxes on the rich while in fact he’s not yet done so.  All rhetoric aside, even Obama recognizes that raising taxes in the midst of a recession, at least in most tax brackets, is a bad idea.  And there are other examples.  Much though Obama likes to take credit for pulling the economy back from the precipice, the economy had already drawn back from the precipice by the time he came to office, and Obama not only continued many of the policies from the Bush economic team, he kept much of the team in place.  The corporate, capital gains and dividend rates have all remained the same.  And the same banks and trading houses that were discovered to be dangerously large in the 2008 financial meltdown are now larger than ever and turning massive profits again.

There are exceptions, of course, with Obamacare being the biggest.  Yet even Obamacare is not the single-payer, nationalized plan that liberals (including Obama himself) had publicly pined for — and Obamacare or large portions of it may very well be dismantled or ruled un-Constitutional.  Obama’s stimulus directed massive amounts of funds to the Democrat’s favored constituencies, but it proved so contentious and ineffective that the word “stimulus” is now radioactive.  Obama’s treatment of GM was shameful, the Democrat’s mis-regulation of the financial sector has slowed the recovery, and the Obama Justice Department has been negligent on matters of religious freedoms.  More exceptions come on issues like abortion, gay rights, unemployment benefits (it’s unlikely the Bush administration would have favored two years of unemployment payments), and of course Supreme Court appointments.  It does matter whether there is a Democrat or a Republican in the White House.  But there’s no question that the Obama administration has been far less different from the Bush administration than was promised during the campaign.

What’s so astonishing, though, is not that Obama has extended so many controversial Bush administration policies but the way in which his erstwhile supporters have responded.  They face (at least) two options:

  1. Barack Obama is a sellout, “just Bush with a tan,” subservient to the same malevolent political and economic forces that Bush was.
  2. OR the Bush administration was actually pretty reasonable to adopt these policies in the first place, and the Obama administration has been reasonable enough to recognize the fact.

Both options require the liberal to admit a mistake: either he was wrong about Obama, or he was wrong about Bush.  But the first option requires the liberal to sacrifice his love for Obama, while the second option requires him to sacrifice his hatred of Bush.  Either Obama was dishonest in the campaign or overwhelmed by baleful influences once he came to the Oval Office — or Obama, once he came to the White House and had the same information and responsibility that Bush had, came to more or less the same conclusions as Bush had.

Unsurprisingly, Option #1 comes out the huge winner here.  So powerful is the partisan mindset that I haven’t seen a single prominent liberal writer take Option #2.  They puzzle through the “mystery” of “George W. Obama” and conclude that the contradictions between Obama’s ideals and actions compose “a subtle disaster for all those whose hopes once rested with him.”  They would rather abandon their love of Obama than their hatred of Bush.  To put it more sharply: they are so deeply committed to the nefariousness and malfeasance of the Bush administration that they would rather believe Barack Obama a failure, a liar or a dupe than believe that George W. Bush took reasonable actions in light of the circumstances.

For instance, when the Bush administration signaled its intention to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) in a military tribunal instead of a criminal court, the liberal commentariat cried havoc and accused Bush of destroying the American Constitution.  Senator Obama voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and frequently spoke against military commissions and in favor of federal courts of a military courts-martial.  Yet the Obama team quickly abandoned its flirtation with the criminal courts idea and eventually resumed the very same military commissions he had once decried.  Rather than reexamine her view that the military commissions approach was idiotic, immoral and unnecessary, Dahlia Lithwick insisted that the administration had “revers[ed] one of its last principled positions” and “surrendered to the bullying, fear-mongering, and demagoguery of those seeking to create two separate kinds of American law.”

The same story could be told with dozens of other examples.  Progressives could have concluded that their earlier opposition to Bush administration policies was misguided.  Instead they’ve consistently concluded that “Obama and the Democrats have completely sold out by any measure.”

What the consistencies between the Bush and Obama administrations mean, of course, is that there are broad swaths of consensus in the foreign policy establishment and in the economic policy establishment regarding what best serves the interests of the United States internationally and economically.  There is a hyper-partisan paralysis on some matters, but on many matters, in spite of claims to the contrary, there is a general consensus (which is not to say that it’s right) on the course to take.  And while it’s easy to inveigh against a President from the opposite party when you’re trying to get elected, when you are the decider, when you face the same intelligence and the same responsibilities as your predecessor, you may find that your former criticisms fade away and your predecessor’s course of action begins to look mighty reasonable.

The legacy of the Left’s extreme Bush hatred, which led them to caricature Bush and scorn and misrepresent the great majority of his policies, policies they otherwise might have found reasonable, has had profound consequences for Obama.  First, when he takes the same course of action that Bush took, however pragmatic it might be, he looks like a sellout to his most ardent supporters and he looks spineless or unprincipled to moderates.  They begin to ask: What does Obama really stand for?  Thus, second, Obama lost, quite early in his administration, a President’s most precious commodity: the trust of the American people.  They no longer knew whether he said what he meant and meant what he said.  And third, this puts him in a tough position entering the election contest.  Obama can deliver the same soaring speeches, but soaring speeches swiftly turn sour when the speaker’s actions contradict his words.

As I’ve written before, the problem with the Obama administration is not the salesmanship; it’s that America no longer trusts that the salesman really believes in what he’s selling.  When hope and change was your mantra the first time around, I really mean it this time is not an inspiring followup.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • Kubrick’s Rube

    I’d go mostly with the first option put this way, “Barack Obama is … subservient to the same … political and economic forces that Bush was,” especially if we can count the legislative branch as the main force.

    I know you aren’t speaking to liberals in this column, but I regularly have this conversation with Tea Party relatives. As a liberal, I don’t really see why criticisms of Obama from the left would make me vote for one of the guys to his right- especially when, in the areas where he extended or expanded bad Bush policies, there’s no GOP front-runner taking a different stance.

    As for the election, Obama may well lose in 2012, but I don’t think trust is the main factor. Polls consistently show that Obama is more trusted than Republicans in general on on most issues. That trust just doesn’t always reflect approval or a likelihood of showing up on Election Day.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      KR: Thanks for recognizing the intended audience and responding appropriately in that light. I can’t tell you how rare that is.

      I also agree with your point on how criticisms from the Left would not make you (a man of the Left) more likely to vote for someone on the Right. But it may make you less likely to vote for Obama, or less enthusiastic in your support for him. Both of which make a difference on election day, when iterated over millions of once-enthusiastic supporters.

      As for trust, Americans tend to trust the President (any President) more than Congressional leaders in general, so I think the better comparison is between levels of trust at the beginning and the end of the term, and levels of trust from one President to another. There’s also a question of trusting competence versus trusting that someone will do what he says. A part of why I think Obama has a tough slog ahead of him is that his greatest strength — his oratorical skill — has practically become a liability. The less consistency you see between words and actions, the more you grow wary and weary of the eloquence.

      There’s also the point that it becomes harder to blame the Bush administration for your own failures when you are largely continuing their policies, and not doing much better wrestling against the same forces that beset the prior administration.

      -Tim

      • olderNavy

        Tim, you mention that people tend to trust the President more than Congressional leaders.
        I suppose generally that is so. I have always trusted one or the other, but for the first time in the 50 or so years Ive been watching politics, I trust neither.
        I have always assumed, even under Presidents I didn’t particularly care for, that they had collected the best and brightest around them to handle things like foreign affairs, and, further, that in the end, they all had the best interests of the United States, at heart. Now I see a President apologizing, for what I have yet to figure out, to nations and political forces that he should be standing up to, bowing like a school kid to a certain Figurehead Emperor, that he should be treating like a peer, and I am left not at all confident that he knows what he’s doing, or why!
        As for Congress, I see leadership on both sides teetering between incompetence and buffoonery. In short, I have lost what, for most of my life, I felt was a fundamental belief that government for all its flaws, was still a servant of the people, not their master. If that’s the “fundamental change”, Obama has wrought, then we are on the wrong track.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          You are not alone, my friend. You are not alone.

      • John S

        This will have the greatest effect on Independents (moderates).

    • Jeux

      Bush HELPED America while Obama is destroying America. Sure you can like him all you want. I bet you LOVED Stalin.

  • Virginia Gentleman

    A prescient analysis of the bind for both Left and Right. Clearly those on the Left are faced with an uncomfortable dilemma, which you’ve accurately described. Those on the Right face an equally daunting choice among the current field of candidates for the office: do they vote for the non-Obama who offers the most bracing ‘correction’ (Ron Paul), someone who offers the most bracing rhetoric (Newt Gingrich), or someone whose personality appears less bumbling than GWB but is a principled pragmatist with odd religious beliefs (Mitt Romney)?

    The bottom line for all of the political class is the basic loss of trust of the American people, as exemplified by the continued dance in DC over the payroll tax ‘extension’ which is one more effort at election-year gamesmanship. It fuels a ‘throw-them-all-out’ risk of over-correction.

  • annecink

    Sigh! It is so nice to read the truth, or most of the truth. The media did Bush in. Blind liberal sheep followed the bully press and destroyed everything Bush tried to do. One thing, why do we keep reading how bad the economy was under Bush? When I look back on those years, I recall the very best of times. There has never before been such a high standard of living! Salaries exploded, 401k’s actually looked like retirement accounts, prosperity ruled!

  • John Haas

    As Andrew Bacevich wrote a few years ago, “What is most striking about the most powerful man in the world is not the power that he wields. It is how constrained he and his lieutenants are by the forces that lie beyond their grasp and perhaps their understanding. Rather than bending history to their will, presidents and those around them are much more likely to dance to history’s tune.” (The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, 2005)

    Your points here–while selective–aren’t controversial. One could ring these changes on almost any two successive administrations one chose. Most obviously, one could simply flip it and ask, If all you say here is true (and it largely is), what does that say about all the Obama-hatred on the right–the “He’s an America-hating, economy-wrecking, Constitution-shredding, national-security-squandering, Shari’a-promoting, Marxist-Kenyan-anti-colonialist!”?

    Suddenly it appears as if, with all the continuities noted, we’d better go back and review the Bush administration with new skepticism! But I’ll leave it to Larry and others to take up that cudgel, should they wish.

    One could similarly examine the continuities between the Clinton and (2d) Bush administrations. How different are Clinton’s actions toward Al Qaeda from those of Bush pre-9/11? (Actually, Clinton comes off looking a little better.) The Patriot Act? Those policies had been proposed during the Clinton years and were shot down by . . . the Republicans, who saw in them a far too intrusive national government riding roughshod over civil liberties.

    What about Clinton and Bush I? To take just one example, they’re peas in a pod regarding containing Saddam (especially when you compare the two with Bush II). Or, for that matter, how different are Reagan’s actions in Beirut from those of both Bush I and Clinton in Somalia? How different Bush I’s toward Bosnia, Clinton’s toward Rwanda, and Bush II and Obama with regard to Darfur?

    We could go on like this, and expand the scope of the comparisons beyond foreign policy, but I trust you get my drift.

    There is a contrast to be drawn between Bush II and Obama, however, and it is more significant than many of the latter’s liberal detractors acknowledge. Aside from the actual kinetic responses to terrorism and Iraq, Bush’s most profound legacy for the body politic are the effects–which will be with us a long time–of his decision to bundle the case for war with Iraq and his electoral strategies in 2002, 2004, and 2006.

    The last time we had seen anything similar to this intertwining of national security options and partisan politics had been during Vietnam (both LBJ and Nixon indulged it), and the effects on the nation were consequential enough to be with us even today. We’ll have to see where playing politics with the Iraq War will take us.

    But, back to the point: Thus far, at least, this is one card Obama has refused to play, making for a stark contrast with the Bush administration. And between him and the current contenders for the Republican nomination (Ron Paul excepted, of course).

    • Tex Taylor

      I’ve never read so much that said so little…

      • John Haas

        Never?

        Seriously?

        Dude, send me your address.

        There’s a gift subscription of NATIONAL REVIEW, coming your way!

    • Wade Smith

      “kinetic responses”?? Just speak plain English, you meaning military actions such as bombing? Such as shooting weapons and killing the enemy?

      Your argument against, “Bush’s most profound legacy for the body politic are the effects–which will be with us a long time–of his decision to bundle the case for war with Iraq and his electoral strategies in 2002, 2004, and 2006.” is misplaced. That is called a free country deciding by free elections what its actions should be!

      Not like Obama’s ‘hope & change’ propaganda. He said nothing through out the election and as he said himself he let the people paint their ideas on his ‘empty canvas.”

    • ethan

      so basically. what you’re saying is:

      there’s a lot going on in the world we don’t know about, and regardless of party, most president’s we have are competent, rational people and while they, like the public, stick to their ideology and their sound-bytes when they don’t know what they don’t know, once they are in the oval office and suddenly know everything, the partisan blinders come off and they generally make reasonable, pragmatic decisions. What this means to me is Obama isn’t the belligerent marxist the right wants to believe he is, and GWB isn’t the theocratic bumbling yahoo the left wants to believe. Both are intelligent, competant people, who will disagree on stuff like abortion, but when it comes to policies that are literally life and death, such as creating jobs for millions of people, or stopping terrorism, they stick to the facts, and since the facts don’t change, the decisions the two of them make don’t change either.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Ethan, those last two sentences are, yes, essentially my points. Of course, neither Bush nor Obama are who their most extreme critics portray them to be.

        I don’t want to understate the influence of ideology. In times of plenty, Bush and Obama would do radically different things with surpluses. Ideology is important, even when it comes to matters of foreign and economic policy. But when the rubber hits the road, I do think that Presidents from both parties look to the same experts and the same establishment, by and large.

        -Tim

  • Paul

    You write: “They face (at least) two options:”

    I would add a third, which is the one I hear from my liberal friends: that Bush’s policies left a mess from which Obama has struggled to extricate us as best he can. They apply that reasoning to the Iraq war as well as to problems with the economy.

    To me, what was so remarkable about the liberal’s hatred of George W. Bush was that his defining were themselves liberal: a nation-building war in Iraq; unbridled government spending with no concern for the debt; new entitlements such as the prescription drug coverage; new agencies such as HSA; the No Child Left Behind program that assumed equal innate ability of all students; and (most egregiously) the push for amnesty for illegal immigrants.

  • Jay Haberman

    As a man of the right I certainly agree with the premise set forth in the initial post. That being said, I must compliment both Tim and KR for mature and reasoned statements. As a person who prowls the blogs of both sides in an effort to be as informed as possible, the level of vitriol and childish ad hominem attacks that typify the exchanges between left and right is all too common and depressing. This exchange was a breath of fresh air. Thank you both.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks, Jay. Hope you stick around.

  • http://inchristus.wordpress.com Inchristus

    “One of the most stunning turnarounds in the history of modern politics?” or merely a sign of the fickle American people whose naiveté got in the way of their objectivity?

    • Mulder

      With due respect, your interpretation of “the sign” is overly harsh.

      (1) The American people are rarely objective; it is not in our DNA. Moreover, the U.S. is ideologically split nearly in half, hence, the herky-jerky battles in D.C. over the past 20 years. What you see as “fickle” is more likely the victory of one concept at one moment in time, a sway in the current of the day.

      (2) As happens with nearly all two-term presidents, Bush fatigue had taken hold by the end of 2006. They began looking for change. Just a year later, the economy was collapsing all around them generating a sincere fear among the populace that their economy security was about to evaporate. A fear that was becoming a loss of hope.

      (3) Given the choice between Hillary and Obama – that is, revisiting the Clinton years, a fatigue from which the nation still hasn’t fully recovered, or taking a chance on something new, a lyrical orator offering hope and change – those you would call “fickle” made a seemingly obvious choice. A choice that now may seem “naïve” but at the time, it was practically the only one available. I would argue that the choice was “uninformed”, thanks to a starry-eyed journalistic community that at the very least laid down on its mission and in all too many cases, became in-kind advocates for the hope-and-change campaign.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Or both?

  • E. Goldstein

    At this point in our history it does not matter much which party voters put nominally in charge of Washington. Below the partisan surface the parties are run by the same technocratic elite, trained in the same schools and indoctrinated into the same policies. This elite regards itself as the “best and brightest,” not only able to make the right decisions for all of us, but views the rest of us as ignorant peasants needing control. To achieve what they regard as needed control they apply the tools of propaganda to manipulate the population and those tools do give them effective control. Whoever is the Republican candidate, he will be surrounded and controlled by the elite.

    If you doubt this I suggest you read the last third of Carroll Quigley Opus, “Tragedy and Hope.” Quigley was a major player in that elite from the thirties through the sixties and wrote proudly of what they had achieved and what their goals are. In their frame the Left and Right are only marketing tools to placate the masses until they have turned them into sheep under total control.

    • f. edwards

      “the parties are are run by the same technocratic elite”
      The bureaucracies created by this elite is inherited by the incoming administration. These bureaucracies are either pablum-eating democrats or the true liberal/leftist believers.
      I was president of a public employees union.I know what I’m talking about.
      One lonely cubicle-enclosed bureaucrat can be the proverbial “carbuncle on the ass of progress”.

  • Stu in SDGO

    Here’s some continuity for you, John Haas. Carter gave us the Ayatollahs which unleashed the modern terror enterprises (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah plus the Muslim Brotherhood) on the world. Clinton gave us three disasters: the dot.com bubble, 9/11 (let’s prosecute, not treat them as national security threats should be treated – terminated with prejudice), and laid the foundation for the mortgage bubble that has tanked the American/world economy. Barry’s just getting started, but making a hash out of the Middle East by unleashing the Muslim Brotherhood in North Africa, turning Iraq into an Iranian province, allowing Iran to nuke up, and today’s announcement of renewing nuke exchanges with China will result in who knows how many catastrophes that our progeny will have to deal with in the future. Yeah, that’s some great continuity from our political betters (not). The disasters have gotten progressively worse; who knows what Barry will have wrought by the time he’s through? We reelect him at our collective peril.

    • John Haas

      “… who knows what Barry will have wrought by the time he’s through?”

      I have it on good authority he plans, once re-elected, to confiscate our guns, sell them on E-Bay, and use the proceeds to federally subsidize a Cash-for-Clunkers program in Egypt . . . The horror . . .

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    A presidency that began with such hope and optimism, and such astronomical approval and support, may well end in the utter collapse of the modern liberal program.

    From your lips to Xenu’s ears.

  • Stu in SDGO

    It’s absurd to claim that the Bush and Obama foreign policy positions are “intertwined.” While the methods may be exploited, the broader goals are about as different as they could be. Obama completely reversed Bush’s positions on the two wars: he pulled us out of Iraq and doubled-down in Afghanistan. Strategically, this is a blunder of astounding proportions. Iraq is the country that is important (educated population, mixing of Sunni, Shia and Kurd populations, proximity to Iran, influence on the greater Arab world, etc., etc.); Afghanistan is irelevant in the grand scheme of things (fractured tribal population, no resources, lack of access, etc.). Obama insults our friends and coddles our enemies. It’s undeniable, and the opposite of W by choice (that’s Obama’s real “foreign policy”: to do exactly the opposite of what W did).

    • John Haas

      Obama may be a nice guy, but he “governs like a mass-murdering sociopath. He kills brown people on the other side of planet because he feels like it. He thinks there is nothing particularly problematic about ordering the execution of American citizens without a trial. And, lest we forget, he is responsible for more deportations than any other president. Ever.” Ryan Bonneville at League of Ordinary Gentlemen

  • http://sotonohitoblogs.blogspot.com sotonohito

    I’m puzzled as to why you, like so many others on the right, maintain that Obama is particularly liberal, much less a liberal savior.

    Obama is very much part of the right wing of the Democratic party, and always has been. I’ll certainly concede that many of us on the true left were hopeful that he’d be more liberal than he has, but no one who looked at his record thought he was an especially liberal politician.

    I would like to know what, exactly, it is that makes you believe Obama to be either particularly liberal or a savior of liberalism. Both Obama personally as well as his entire staff have often been quite vicious in their attacks on both the left and the very concept of liberalism, and they’ve certainly never put forth anything even remotely resembling a liberal agenda.

    And, as it happens, I have given careful thought to the Bush/Obama positions on civil liberties, rule of law, etc, and I’m of the opinion that those positions are highly destructive and vile.

    This is not the result of irrational hatred of Bush [1], but the result of a respect for the concepts of rule of law, civil liberties, etc.

    The thing is that I genuinely believe in trial before sentence. I genuinely believe that tossing people into cages, forever, with neither charges nor trials is deeply wrong and a potential threat to the freedom of us all. I genuinely believe that when Obama ordered the CIA to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki, without ever being required to present to the public his evidence that al-Awlaki was guilty of any crimes, that it represents a direct threat to every single American citizen.

    I also happen to genuinely believe that when Obama continued the practice of protecting the elites from the consequences of their law breaking, by explicitly saying that he would never permit even an investigation of Bush era crimes, it was a very bad thing and the continuation of a dangerous trend.

    I also happen to genuinely believe that Obama has been more destructive of civil liberties and the very concept of freedom than any Republican could be simply by virtue of the fact that he’s officially a Democrat. Since he is a Democrat, by approving of the Bush doctrine of not merely abandoning rule of law and civil liberties but of aggressively working to demolish those concepts Obama has granted the much sought after stamp of bipartisanship to the destruction of freedom. There was a time when elected Democrats would at least pretend to favor freedom even if they wouldn’t actually stand up to Republican anti-freedom efforts, thanks to Obama that time has passed and now there is not even the pretense that any major American political party stands for freedom.

    During the 2008 primaries I supported Obama to the extent of working phone banks and donating money. And, much as it pains me, I’ll be voting for him in 2012, or rather I’ll be voting against whichever Republican gets the nomination. Because while Obama is not a liberal by any stretch of the imagination, he will (from my political standpoint) be less bad than Romney, or Perry, or whoever.

    But, perhaps unlike many of my fellow liberals, I never deceived myself into believing that Obama was liberal. Again, you have only to look at his voting record or his speeches to see that. Heck, the man campaigned on escalating the pointless and futile war in Afghanistan, it’s utterly unsurprising to see that he’d be a warmonger of the Bush type and eager to start the new wars he has.

    So I’m disappointed by Obama, but I don’t feel especially betrayed. He was never on my side, he was merely not quite as bad.

    So mark me as being firmly in your first category, though I don’t really think “sellout” is the right word. He wasn’t bought off, he’s always subservient to the same malevolent political and economic forces Bush was. And, like Bush before him, I’m sure he honestly believes those forces to be if not good at least necessary. Naturally I disagree strongly with both Bush and Obama.

    If you do have the time and desire to reply, I’d be most interested in your reasons for thinking that Obama is liberal, and most especially why you imagine him to be a liberal savior.

    [1] I’d like to add that it’s rather darkly amusing seeing conservatives accuse liberals of irrational hatred of a president. Considering the seething rage that seems to inform most conservative attitudes about Obama I’d argue that the worst you could accuse liberals of was a faint dislike of Bush.

    It’s tempting to presume that much of the conservative irrational hatred of Obama is racially motivated, and to be sure there’s plenty of dog whistles and outright racist sentiment directed at Obama (beginning with the conspiracy theorism about his place of birth). But Clinton was subjected to much the same degree of utterly irrational hatred, so I’m inclined towards the position that the racism in so much conservative bile towards Obama is more a matter of opportunity rather than anything else.

    • rrr

      Wow. Just wow.

      • http://sotonohitoblogs.blogspot.com sotonohito

        I’ve gotten that response, sort of disbelieving shock, from conservatives every time I’ve pointed out that Obama is not especially liberal. It seems that a believe in Obama as some sort of epitome of liberalness is almost required in conservative circles, which I find very odd.

        I certainly understand disliking politicians you dislike, or opposing politicians you oppose. But it does seem rather odd that something as relatively straightforward as what Obama’s actual political positions and leanings are would be a matter of controversy or disagreement.

        We should certainly have room to disagree over whether or not Obama is a good president, or whether his policies re good policies. But the fact that we’re in not so much disagreement but shocked disbelief about what Obama’s political ideology centers around is disturbing to me.

        I realize that FOX News and other conservative outlets are invested in demonizing Obama, and what better way than presenting him as the sort of super-liberal and perfect antithesis of all that is conservative, but that’s just propaganda; it’s hardly a real description of his political positions.

        If we look at his actual agenda and voting record we’ll see a center-right politician with an obsession with bipartisanship and cooperation.

        Heck, even the most “liberal” part of his agenda, the Affordable Care Act, is almost identical to what the Republicans proposed back in the 1990′s as an alternative to the Clinton bill, and also virtually identical to RomneyCare. Obama personally killed even the public option, and never even proposed (much less advocated for) universal single payer.

        As our good host observes, Obama’s foreign policy has basically been Bush with a thicker veneer of civility. No less a conservative than Dick Cheney has said that Obama is pretty much a 100% continuation of Bush era policies.

        There’s just not much, if anything, really liberal about Obama. And, don’t forget, Obama himself is quite frequently aggressive in his attacks on liberalism. That probably doesn’t get much notice in the media most conservatives tend to read, and it gets virtually no notice in the corporate media, but since his election Obama has verbally assailed the left much more often than he has the right.

        There’s a joke about politics, the Republicans fear their base, the Democrats hate theirs. And that certainly holds true for Obama. He despises the left, and liberalism and is not especially shy about saying so.

        So, yes, I stand 100% by my earlier post. If you’d care to discuss the matter perhaps I can make it clear to you why I do, and perhaps help you understand what liberals actually want as opposed to what you might think we do.

        • John Haas

          Yes, but he apologizes for America. That’s pretty liberal.

        • Kubrick’s Rube

          Well said.

          When I hear some of the conservative claims about Obama’s positions, I think “If only.”

        • CBDenver

          You say that Obama is not a liberal — ok, fine. Most conservatives that I talk to think Obama is a socialist, not a liberal. Many of the objections to Obama that you cite are based on trampling of individual rights. Socialists are collectivists and as such don’t really care much for individuals and individual rights. To be sure, many Republicans are basically socialists as well. I have found that the common notion of describing the political continuum as “left and right” is not very helpful. More helpful is using a continuum of collectivism versus anarchy. Limited goverment as described in the Constitution lies somewhere in the middle. Collectivists of all flavors (socialists, fascists, communists) are thus rightfully lumped together as being not that much different.

    • Mulder

      If you believe George W. Bush to be a conservative, you likely would disbelieve Barack Obama to be a liberal, for your point on the continuum is greatly displaced from the center.

      • http://sotonohitoblogs.blogspot.com sotonohito

        Just to make sure I properly understand what you’re saying, is it your position that George W. Bush was not a conservative?

        By that do you mean you consider George W. Bush to have been a liberal, or a centrist, or what?

        • Bearman

          Neo-con. Liberal on almost everything except defending Israel. No child left behind, medicare giveaway, raising the poverty level, amnesty for illegals, bridges-to-nowhere, 8 bloated omnibus spending bills etc etc etc. Very liberal, except when it came to the guy that paid for homicide bombers in Tel-Aviv & his 2 sadistic progeny, and of course, the talibunnies & their ilk. Whom obama is now in negotiations with.

        • section9

          Good God, no. Bush was not a conservative. He expanded government in ways that we in the Reagan wing of the Party found anathema. Part D Medicare alone is going to end up costing almost as much as Obama’s National Socialist Healthcare bill. Bush and the Republican Congress were responsible for that.

          Bush and Obama were two different sides of the same coin of looting from our children to pay for our present. Those of you who play the Blue vs. Red game don’t get that yet. Both of them were puppets of the Banks. “Progressives” don’t get that, either. It’s just that the Bankers woke up one day and realized that they needed to buy Protection, so they bought an ambitious young Democrat.

          For some liberals to run around saying that Obama is not a liberal is akin to saying that Obama was never a disciple of Saul Alinsky, which he most certainly is.

          Sorry kids. No sale. That’s a “No True Scotsman” argument which failed when Obamacare passed.

        • Hirohito

          He’s telling you in very simple English that both Bush and Obama are lefties. Being “socially conservative” or “socially libertine” does not make one politically right or left. It’s when one increases control over the populace by expanding government that places him or her squarely on the left. No Child Left behind, the Patriot act, the prescription drug program for the elderly, welfare checks for the middle class on tax day(i.e.the childtax credit), the fascist bail-outs and take-over of GE and certain banks and insurance agencies, the continuation of these policies, Cash For Clunkers, Obamacare, etcetera are all examples of leftist policies.

  • Tex Taylor

    I’m puzzled as to why people that aren’t lackeys for the left wing of the Democratic party continue to refer to Obama as “highly intelligent?” The only real talent I’ve witnessed of Obama before and after the election is the ability to deliver a prepared speech with assistance of a teleprompter. Off the cuff, Obama is clumsy and shallow.

    We have no verified proof of high intelligence with respect to Obama’s achievements – his records hide behind lock and key. What few writings we have discovered while editor of the Harvard Law Review were replete with grammatical errors and poorly written.

    In a debate, Obama barely held his own with possibly the dumbest Republican Senator and weakest Republican candidate of my lifetime.

    Obama’s administration has been an abject failure in virtually every regard, his cabinet is an embarrassment made up of men like Joe Biden, so dumb he’s been closeted, and Obama himself had made a number of embarrassing gaffes that if it had been said by George Bush, would have been run continuously. Corpse Man ring any bells?

    Where is the proof of this high intelligence of Obama you speak? Because I’m sure not seeing it.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      To my mind, he’s highly intelligent, but not as intelligent as many claim, and not as eloquent without the teleprompter as many believe. I do hear from many folks who speak with the President, though, that you cannot come away and not be impressed with the intelligence. But such is the power of bad ideology that even highly intelligent people can be ignorant and blind to many things.

      • Tex Taylor

        And I have heard just the opposite from an electro physiologist friend of mine, who shared a table with Obama at a campaign raising function in 2007.

        He told me before Obama ever elected President, there is no way that man is Ivy League material after being asked a few probing questions. Dr. James offered it seemed Obama a horrid student of history, poorly read, poorly versed, and frankly average in his responses. I think even Conservatives have been hoodwinked, bamboozled by the Cult of Personality. My Dr. friend added that Hillary Clinton seemed quite shrewd, so there is no political persuasion skewing the opinion.

        So I will ask you again. Where is the proof of Obama’s startling intelligence you speak? I have yet to see one example of Obama being gifted when he not reading a prepared speech.

        • John Haas

          “Dr. James offered it seemed Obama a horrid student of history . . .”

          Can’t really argue with that translation from some language other than English.

          • Tex Taylor

            After reading that screed from above, I’m not sure why I bother…

            But for the pedantic critic with many words and zero relevance, I offer a comma.

  • David Davies

    sotonohito: “The thing is that I genuinely believe in trial before sentence. I genuinely believe that tossing people into cages, forever, with neither charges nor trials is deeply wrong and a potential threat to the freedom of us all. I genuinely believe that when Obama ordered the CIA to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki, without ever being required to present to the public his evidence that al-Awlaki was guilty of any crimes, that it represents a direct threat to every single American citizen.”

    You fail here to distinguish between the police power of the state to arrest and prosecute law-breakers and the military power of the state to project force in legitimate self-defense. Are we fighting a war with a group claiming to be the new Caliphate, or are we arresting criminals? Bush didn’t do a good job of making this clear. The expression ‘War on Terror’ is an example of this confusion. How can you make war on a tactic?

    Anyway. In war prisoners don’t need trials. They have been captured, not arrested. And they may be held until the conclusion of the hostilities. And that may be pretty much forever in light of the fact that Islam has been at war with our civilization since the seventh century.

    Also, in war, enemy units including command centers may be attacked at any time and in any place. No police procedures are required. The strike at Awlaki was entirely justified.

    And you have to be pretty much blind and deaf to equate the contempt the right has for Obama with the seething hatred the left has for Bush.

    • http://sotonohitoblogs.blogspot.com sotonohito

      I’ve heard that position expressed by liberals trying to defend Obama’s continuation of Bush’s policies.

      I find it unconvincing.

      “In war prisoners don’t need trials.”

      There’s a lot to unpack there.

      The overall statement implies that you consider the civil liberties violations involved in the War on Terror to be unfortunate but ultimately necessary and, above all, temporary.

      Because wars end. And when wars end then the temporary measures people accepted during the war also end.

      But there is no foreseeable end to the War on Terror. There is no way we can even measure success or failure. It’s been 10 years now, and the “war” is still ongoing.

      Back in 2001 I was part of a mailing list devoted to a strategy game called Starfire. The audience for most such games is generally quite conservative, and this one was no exception. We were discussing, in 2001, the civil liberties curtailments Bush insisted were necessary. Other than myself and a tiny handful of liberals, no one on the list was concerned at all. Their position was that the “temporary” reduction in civil liberties would soon be over, they argued that it might last at most a decade or so, but certainly after that Bush would have defeated the terrorists and we could return to normal. My concerns were laughed at as crazy moonbat ravings from a liberal consumed with irrational hatred for Bush.

      And yet, here we are a decade later and you are telling me that for the duration of the “war” civil liberties must be suspended.

      So when will the war end? What metrics will tell us the war is ending?

      The second layer, is that generally POW’s and the fact that they don’t need trials only applies to actual prisoners of war, generally defined as enemy soldiers captured on a battlefield.

      That’s a mite problematic in this “war”, yes? Both Bush and Obama have declared that the entire planet, explicitly including the USA is a battlefield, and that anyone they merely accuse of being a terrorist is an enemy soldier, again explicitly including US citizens.

      Essentially what it boils down to is that the Executive branch has claimed for itself the power to unilaterally and with no oversight of any sort at all decree that a particular citizen is a “terrorist”, and then strip that citizen of their Constitutional rights and toss them into a cage forever, or at until the War on Terror ends which seems to mean the same thing.

      I find such a claim of power to be frightening and worrying no matter who the president is. I didn’t like it under Bush, I don’t like it under Obama, and I won’t like it no matter who is president. It’s a giant leap down a slippery slope to totalitarianism.

      “Are we fighting a war with a group claiming to be the new Caliphate, or are we arresting criminals?”

      You and I are sitting at our computers. But the USA is doing neither of those things. However the USA **should** be arresting criminals. A military is very good at attacking other military groups, they’re demonstrably bad at stopping terrorism. Wrong tool for the job. So far the most visible result of US military attacks on “terrorism” has been a dramatic upswing in recruitment among terrorist groups. Both the FBI and CIA, under Bush no less, are in agreement there.

      “And that may be pretty much forever in light of the fact that Islam has been at war with our civilization since the seventh century.”

      You yourself acknowledge that there is no foreseeable end to the War on Terror. And you’re puzzled as to why I’m opposed to “temporary” curtailments of civil liberties until the War on Terror ends?

      As for Islam, I think you’ve fallen into conspiracy theory territory. “The West” has not been at war with Islam for 13 centuries.

      I certainly am no fan of Islam, as a liberal and an atheist Islam is pretty much 100% everything I stand against.

      But you can’t bomb people into giving up their religion. History, and I am a student of history, shows one thing very clearly: the more you attempt to oppress a religion the stronger that religion will become. Christian history shows that quite clearly, and Islamic history does not tell a different tale. If you want to make a religion thrive and prosper then first oppress it.

      The most devoted Muslims on the planet are those who just saw their friends and family die by a US bomb.

      And, as an atheist, I don’t welcome a Christian theocracy any more than I welcome an Islamic theocracy. Theocracy, from my point of view, is bad no matter what religion is involved. I also have no interest in living in a secular totalitarian government, and I do not at all agree that it is necessary for us to abandon our freedoms to be safe and secure.

      It is, I argue, our freedoms that will make us secure. Freedom is not weakness. We do not need to abandon freedom to be strong, or safe. In fact, I’ll argue that giving up our freedom in the name of security is making us weaker.

      • Kirk Parker

        There’s a lot to unpack there

        No kidding. Let’s start with this: when the left started all the Bushitler/Bush Lied/WMD nonsense, where were you opposing them? (Links would be helpful, but we’ll make do with an assertion if that’s all you’ve got.)

      • Kirk Parker

        Oops, and how could I have left out “No blood for oil”?

      • SSG ret

        It is obvious that you have never been a soldier or fought in a war. War is one of the, but not the, worst things in the world. I suggest that you review the history of the Revolutionary War and the extent to which your vision of civil rights existed. I also suggest that you preform a similar review of the Civil War, WWI and WWII.

        The Bush/Obama record on civil Rights looks very good compared to the wars listed. Unfortunately, few except Soldiers really study History these days

      • David Davies

        In WWII just how did the military determine that there were no civilians around before they blew the hell out of the target? Do you have any idea how many French men (and women) we killed in ’44 and ’45? I am in favor of the military deciding on what is a military target. I strongly oppose having any President sitting in a room in the White House picking targets. It sucked when Johnson did it, and it is bad policy to do it now.

        As for us being at war with Islam. Turn it around. They are at war with everyone and have been since the seventh century. Read some history. Why was a battle fought at Tours? Because muslims invaded France. Why were the Christians in Spain forced to fight a seven hundred year battle to reclaim territory conquered by invading muslims. Why were there two big muslim attacks on Vienna? Why were the Christian powers involved in the Crusades if not to oppose the invading muslims? Why do the Hindus loath and despise muslims? Something to do with the horrendous massacres done to them by muslims. You can try to ignore it, but the muslim war against everyone else is real.

        How can the war be ended and the muslim threat defeated? By mercilessly mocking every aspect of their faith. There is zero evidence in support of all their propositions. Their belief that they will be rewarded in paradise has no foundation in either fact or logic. According to them, God is not bound by his own rules. If that is true, how do they know He will keep his promises? Maybe that accounts for the generally unhappy attitude you see with these people. They are locked into a bad deal with a God they cannot trust. So mock and make fun of their silly customs and beliefs. And kill the ones who attack us, or attack cartoonists and other writers.

  • Kirk Parker

    They no longer knew whether he said what he meant and meant what he said.

    If so, that says way more about “them” than it does about Obama. Anyone who heard Obama’s acceptance speech and didn’t have a Run Away reaction… … … Well, let me put it this way: the only thing more troubling than the idea Obama did not sincerely mean his line “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal” is the thought that he maybe actually did sincerely believe that.

  • Tom Billings

    Here is the key:

    “To put it more sharply: they are so deeply committed to the nefariousness and malfeasance of the Bush administration that they would rather believe Barack Obama a failure, a liar or a dupe than believe that George W. Bush took reasonable actions in light of the circumstances.”

    If they abandon their love of Obama, they abandoning someone other than themselves. However, for those who stare at considering George Bush’s policies even “reasonable”, they must confront abandoning what many think of as *themselves*, …in the words of so many, including some who made the break, they are… “a Man of the Left”. (of course, plenty of women feel the same)Their own definition of themselves, and for many, their own ability to like, much less love themselves, is tied up with exactly the worldview that *must* see the actions George Bush took to defend industrial society as inherently evil! Those actions are evil because of what they defended. If they abandon that, their entire adult life before that becomes meaningless.

    A few now openly admit their anti-industrial reactionary attitude, and many of those are also part of the Deep Ecology-dominated “Green” movement.

    I see few on the Left with a strong enough self-image separate from their political ideology and associations that they can accept that defending industrial society is good, instead of evil. For they then begin the long turn away from so much of what they once believed in, and the friends who still do.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      A very interesting take. Thanks, Tom.
      -Tim

  • Ralph Gizzip

    As a person on the “Right” may I say this. Our differences with President Obama stem from his dismal handling of domestic policy. It also drove us nuts when Bush 43 spent money like a drunken sailor. We also take issue with President Obama’s unintelligible need to apologize to the rest of the world for God knows what. Saw what you will about how Obama is continuing Bush 43 wartime policies, you’d never see Bush bowing and scraping on the world stage. Most of us on the Right were quite rightly pleased Obama gave the order to take out OBL and the continued Predator drone missions. We see his continuation of Iraq and Afghanistan as vindication of Bush 43.

    The Left’s hatred of Bush stemmed from their believe he stole the election from Al Gore (proven false). The Right’s hatred of Obama stems from his domestic policies turning America into a Third World economy. Both sides have their nutters but for the Tea Party their disgust comes down to Obama’s insane economic policy, not his race.

  • MSobo

    Some great posts here and I will not even pretend to be on the same level as most of you, but just a couple quick points/questions:
    1. Many of the solid comments by sotonohito repeatedly claim that Mr. Obama is not a liberal. Please inform me then exactly what is a “real liberal?” Can you give me a couple examples of your role models, or liberal historical figures you admire and wish to emulate? I am being honest in my request. I have tried to thoroughly read your posts, but I do not know what you are for (you seem to be pro freedom and civil liberties, but this claim is made loosely by many). You eloquently speak of many things you are against, but what are FOR? I have no clue what Mr Obama really stands for, but you say you are to the left of him. So please, and I mean this with all respect: what does a “real liberal” really want and what do you stand for? What is your “vision” for our nation?

    2. All the talk of presidential intelligence just makes me think of the geopolitical state of the world at the beginning of the 20th century. The Germans were believed to be the most intelligent and best educated people on the planet. With all that “intelligence” you would think they could have made it through the first half of the century without being at the center of two world wars and the atrocities of Nazism. “Intelligence” is meaningless without virtue and without wisdom.

    Merry Christmas to All!

  • wake up ameruca

    To begin with Obama is not that smart when you consider that he playing to an audience of dumbed down Americans. A testament of how dumb this nation has become is evident that Obama got in the White House with Hope and Change. Really?! Plus when you see how he continues to insult the American people by playing the class warfare card it makes you wonder if he in fact believes that there are more dumb Americans then smart. But then again he is sitting in the White House. So maybe we have become a nation of dumb Americans.

  • Harris

    Another option worth considering is that both administrations came in with a highly idealistic framework. Initially, President Bush was to be the “Compassionate Conservative”, living out nationally the moderate style of governance he seemed to provide in Texas. NCLB is one of the fading monuments of that pre-9/11 time. In that light, it is perhaps better to see both coming to grips with the question of non-state violence, and so falling into Realist model of international politics. That at least seems to be substance of this paragraph:

    What the consistencies between the Bush and Obama administrations mean, of course, is that there are broad swaths of consensus in the foreign policy establishment and in the economic policy establishment regarding what best serves the interests of the United States internationally and economically.

    It should be pointed out that much of Bush’s difficulties in Iraq came early, when he was trying to effect an “ideal” solution on that nation. Add to this the resort to a certain politics of national security with its mix of fear and theatre, and you have at least the first term of that administration. Yet even at the time, the actual critiques of that national security policy were fundamentally pragmatic: the liberties surrendered were not likely to come back easily.

    With the emergence of a national security state (to borrow from Jack Balkin), the question becomes what sort of leadership is best able to restrain itself, inasmuch as we have removed the political constraints. Here the virtue of the leadership, as it were, comes to the fore. And this I believe provides the liberal answer. With the present administration there would appear to be greater opportunity to contest some of these policies, than with the previous (and in particular how the vice president’s office seemed to have its “thumb on the scale.”).

    The failure of the present day Republican leadership to offer anything close to a challenge to these policies, indeed their sometimes exuberant championing of the policy or ideological excesses (e.g. treatment of Muslims) renders the comparative case moot. If the choice is between an odious continuation or an extremist extension of security policies, then the odious must be the preferred state. The tragedy for our nation is that were a proper conservative voice to be raised to challenge this security state, we might actually begin to limit the executive branch and restore liberty. Sadly, that speaks of a maturity that is wanting in our current panel of presidential contenders.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Very interesting, Harris. Thanks.

      -Tim

  • george

    Your love hate analogy and the trust component both omit something. It’s a feeling by Americans least ways ones I was raised around and fought with in Vietnam.

    A belief that politicians and particularly the President share the feeling expressed by Stephen Decatur “My country in her dealings with other nations may she always be right. But right or wrong my country.”

    Whatever Bush’s faults and I think he was very misguided in some ways i believe he had that kind of feeling about America. Not Obama and those he consorts with.

    • http://www.amvets.org/ Karl Magnus

      “War is too important to be left to the politicians.”
      – Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, USAF

      A fictional character, General Ripper was Gen. Curtis LeMay. And he was right.
      LBJ and his lying lightweights MacNamara and Westmoreland, screwed the pooch. It took R.M. Nixon for America to escape that fustercluck with a modicum of dignity. Ya see, now we can claim that the South Vietnamese lost their own struggle.
      JFK ordering the assassination of Diem didn’t help.
      ~(Ä)~
      1st BN, 87th (Mountain) Infantry

  • At The Rubicon

    >>”Consider all the ways in which the Obama administration has continued the policies of the Bush administration”<<>>”Barak Obama is a sellout”<<<

    I believe this actually presents the most consternation for liberals. Obama had the most liberal voting record in the Senate. Obama was the absolute best person to lead the liberal charge. Who could they choose that would be more effective than Obama?

  • the morrigan

    Bush was at 27% at his low point.
    Have you forgotten?
    Obama is going to be re-elected…..it is not mathematically possible for the GOP to secure 65% of the white vote. Even Reagan only got 60%.
    Like Nate Silver says, demographics is destiny.

    tick…..tick…..tick…goes the demographic timer.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Bush only reached that low point late in the second term of his presidency — and again, Bush had all sorts of issues (his inarticulateness, his perceived incuriosity or unintelligence, the illegitimacy of the 2000 victory in many eyes, etc.) that Obama does not.

      I don’t know why you’re paying attention to the general vote tally instead of the electoral college.

      -Tim

  • Gary Allan

    If you have been paying attention, the left uses hate as a tool to advance their agenda. I would love to see what an FBI raid on the computers and emails and documents in the offices of Obama’s czars, would turn up.

  • Jack

    A most fascinating blog and thought provoking responses, thank you. Sadly, the truth of the matter is that there is virtually no real “choice” left in this country, as odd as that may sound given the rhetorical maligning between Democrats and Republicans. There is no choice because “the system” really doesn’t allow choice. Real choice is at the local governance level, in communities large and small that make up the total political fabric of this country. People argue about federal policies and opinions and don’t know who their county commissioner is. Those who do know and participate in that, bring about real change most relevant to their living situation. We are truly at an odd time in this country.

  • Owen Glendower

    “A part of why I think Obama has a tough slog ahead of him is that his greatest strength — his oratorical skill — has practically become a liability. The less consistency you see between words and actions, the more you grow wary and weary of the eloquence.”

    You are correct, which is why people by and large have stopped listening.

  • shawn

    All these comparisons between Bush and BHO are besides the point. The only reason we have Obama is the media. Under “normal” public scrutiny any candidate of Obama’s stature would not have made it past first two primaries. Obama is an illegitimate president in that sense. Everything that pointed toward his true beliefs and administrative incompetence was swept under the carpet in order to protect him and elect him. In a society that constatly whines about racism the 2008 election was also about the color of the skin. And now any criticism is an expression of racism.
    If all facts are laid out on the table in front of the people Obama does not stand a chance.

  • http://www.amvets.org/ Karl Magnus

    Kudos for an excellent comprehensive summation of the reign of B. Hussein Obama, Mr. Dalrymple. The man-child and would-be king, has no clothes.
    Money Quote:

    “What’s so astonishing, though, is not that Obama has extended so many controversial Bush administration policies but the way in which his erstwhile supporters have responded. They face (at least) two options:
    1. Barack Obama is a sellout, “just Bush with a tan,” subservient to the same malevolent political and economic forces that Bush was.
    2. OR the Bush administration was actually pretty reasonable to adopt these policies in the first place, and the Obama administration has been reasonable enough to recognize the fact.”

    Logic should triumph, but yea verily it does not.
    At least now, BHO admits to ABC that he’s “lazy”, as if we didn’t already know.
    While the Leftists, and their “Dear Leader” President SmartPower™ recognized early on with that childish EO to close Gitmo, that while the military will do what they’re told, THIS President is so incompetent and derelict in his duties, what’s a soldier to do?
    Having been “waterboarded” meself nigh on 40 years now, I say that it’s strictly another training exercise to be dreaded, like the Gas Chamber we combat arms troops had to experience twice yearly – just so that we’d never forget what chemical warfare might be like. Once is enough believe me.
    And there are so many key points made in this article, it makes me proud to be an American – an emotion that fades in and out while ChicagØbama rules the roost.
    Imagine that … A man-child in mom jeans trying to be “cöck of the walk”. He hasn’t fooled anyone.
    Perry / Bolton 2012

    Keep up the good work!
    ~(Ä)~

  • LizardLips

    Mr. Obama is the post-progressive president. How fitting that even he now has been discarded. Says more about the people than him.

  • David Davies

    Sotonohito says: ““In war prisoners don’t need trials.”

    There’s a lot to unpack there.

    The overall statement implies that you consider the civil liberties violations involved in the War on Terror to be unfortunate but ultimately necessary and, above all, temporary.”

    Not even close, Soto. I don’t think that being held as a Prisoner of War is a civil liberties violation at all.

    Now. American citizens captured while supporting the other side should be tried for treason and if found guilty, hanged. Citizens of the Caliphate have the right to join their armed forces and fight their enemies (us). If we capture them we have the right to hold them until the end of hostilities. In other words, until either we, or they, give up.


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