A helpful interpretation of his remarks this year:
Last Thursday, the media were all abuzz about one of their favorite talking points, about how the immediate past President of the United States was a horrible, no good very bad man — and people just didn’t like him.
Take a gander at this image from AOL/HuffPo heralding the results of a new CNN poll:
You can bet that the headline writers were just salivating at the chance to write that headline. The same folks who, when showing the economic statistics of his administration report only the job losses at the end, but somehow forget to point out the relatively sound economy for the better part of his term — and the Democratic Congress in place when it went south.
“How might this play out in this year’s presidential election?” wonders Phil Pruitt of Yahoo! News’s The Ticket. ”Don’t be surprised if the Obama campaign mentions the name of George W. Bush at every opportunity, and don’t be surprised if that strategy works,” answers CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
And does Mr. Holland have data showing that strategy works? Or evidence that any president every won reelection running against his predecessor? Why doesn’t Yahoo! inquire into Obama’s “need” to whine about the problems he inherited?
That might require a little more work than dancing with the delight at the bad poll numbers of a favorite media bogeyman — one who, unlike a Mr. J. Carter, doesn’t put himself perpetually in front of the cameras trying to buttress his image.
UPDATE: Three years and (nearly) five months into his term, Obama is still whining about the problems he fought so hard to fix:
The president also said that Republicans, not Democrats, caused the current budget crisis. “I love listening to these guys give us lectures about debt and deficits. I inherited a trillion dollar deficit!” he said. Obama compared Republicans to a person who orders a steak dinner and martini and then, “just as you’re sitting down, they leave, and accuse you of running up the tab.”
Um, actually, Mr. Obama, you asked them to leave and then proceeded to run up the tab even further than they had.
Their image promoting the unveiling of the White House portrait of the immediate past President of the United States:
Recall that North Carolina teacher, now suspended without pay, who upbraided a student for daring to, as she put it, “disrespect” the President of the United States in her classroom. She had told her class that it was “criminal to slander a president”:
“Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?” she says of former President Bush. “Do you realize you are not supposed to slander the president?”
Oh, really, where does it say that in the Constitution?
Nobody, points out blogger Rhymes with Right, himself a teacher,
. . . was arrested for saying bad things about George W. Bush. In fact those who did so became cultural heroes — don’t you remember that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and that Cindy Sheehan was treated as some sort of demigod by those opposed to Bush and his policies?
Yes, even in the dark days when that supposed fascist reigned in Washington, people remained free to criticize the president and were often celebrated for doing so.
I wonder how many of those same people will criticize the North Carolina teacher for criticizing a student who engaged, to borrow an expression they might like, in “the highest form of patriotism.”
Remember the old joke from the 1990s about knowing it’s time to get a new Volvo when the McGovern sticker starts to peel off.
They may have to make up such jokes about anti-Bush bumper strips. Just caught this today and snapped the picture with Canon PowerShot A490, enhancing it via iPhoto:
UPDATE: When I posted this picture on a political group on Facebook, one subscriber wrote, ” If Bush were impeached today, would Cheney become President? ”
If the answer is, “Yes,” I’m all for impeachment.
Democratic-generated complaints notwithstanding, there was nothing wrong with George W. Bush highlighting his leadership in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks as he campaigned for reelection. He was reminding us of how he had handled his job, uniting the nation at a challenging time. And since he was asking us to keep him on for another term, it was entirely appropriate to provide a record of his accomplishment.
Similarly, there is nothing wrong with Obama reminding us under his watch, Navy SEALs got Osama bin Laden. We got it done under his watch. He has every right to take credit for it.
He may be, as Glenn quipped earlier today, overplaying it a bit. And to borrow the metaphor the blogmeister used, the man who scores the touchdown has every right to spike the ball to celebrate his score. Only he should also acknowledge the man who threw the pass as well as the coach — as well as the other members of the team — who helped him into scoring position. In other words, Obama may have been in position to score the kill, but he did it as part of a team.
And that team didn’t just include Democrats. Under Mr. Obama’s Republican predecessor, the team (to stay with the metaphor) moved the ball down the field [See UPDATE below]. The team didn’t score points against Republicans, but against enemies of the United States, enemies shared by both parties.
In other words, it’s one thing to campaign on his own accomplishment, quite another to suggest your opponent wouldn’t have done the same thing. As 2010 CPAC blogger of the year Ed Morrissey puts it:
Obama would be on firm ground to highlight that victory in the war on terror, as he does in his tedious “Forward” campaign video. Implying that Romney would have let Osama bin Laden go under those circumstances is, as [Arianna] Huffington says, despicable.
Didn’t media/Dems get all upset when W used 9/11 photo
in his re-election campaign to help Republican campaigns?
“A year ago today,” the Obama campaign tweeted this morning, sharing again the famous White House photo of President Obama and his staff in the Situation Room as they watched the Osama bin Laden operation unfold.
You can almost see the president pulling the trigger himself. . .
UPDATE: Here’s why I changed the title:
The White House approves of the Republican congressional campaign committee’s plan to sell a photograph of President Bush — taken hours after the September 11 attacks — to raise money for the GOP, a move Democrats call “nothing short of grotesque.”The White House photograph shows Bush aboard Air Force One, talking to Vice President Dick Cheney on the afternoon of September 11.
UPDATE: But, there’s this from the Washington Post:
President Bush’s day-old reelection advertising campaign generated criticism and controversy yesterday, as relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes charged that television commercials using images from the attacks were exploiting the tragedy for political gain.
Although candidate Barack Obama assailed then-President George W. Bush “for wage losses suffered by the middle class” in the 2008 presidential campaign, more “than three years into” his ” own presidency,” reports Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning, “those declines have only deepened“:
As a candidate in 2008, Obama blamed the reversals largely on the policies of Bush and other Republicans. He cited census figures showing that median income for working-age households — those headed by someone younger than 65 — had dropped more than $2,000 after inflation during the first seven years of Bush’s time in office.
Yet real median household income in March was down $4,300 since Obama took office in January 2009 and down $2,900 since the June 2009 start of the economic recovery, according to an analysis of census data by Sentier Research, an economic- consulting firm in Annapolis, Maryland.This decline in income could have a greater impact on average voters than the unemployment rate.
Via Instapundit. With less take-home pay, they have to set aside a grater proportion of their income for housing, groceries and other necessities, leaving less for recreation — and making it more difficult to save up for big purchases, like down payments on homes.
Yesterday, Ann Althouse, reminding us that his predecessor gave up golf when he was chief executive, wondered as the president’s latest effort to appear cool:
Does a slow jam with Jimmy Fallon send the wrong message? Or do we not think about the mom whose son may have recently died anymore? (Obama has no Cindy Sheehan dogging hounding him bothering him… at least not that we see in the news.)
Why is Obama immune from the criticism that normally befalls a President? Back in 2008, running for President, Obama pushed back the press one time with “Why is it that I can’t just enjoy my waffle?”
It’s like that was a really hard question — why is it that he can’t just enjoy his waffle… and his multiple vacations and his golf and his rock concerts in the White House and his slow jam with Jimmy Fallon?
The answer is: Because you have a job. You applied for it. We hired you. Make us believe you’re doing it.
Via Instapundit. Seems he’s more interested in the perks of office than its responsibilities.
It’s not just that we’re still at war, it’s also that the nation has big problems, many exacerbated by the president’s policies in his first three years in office. Our debt is skyrocketing, entitlements face insolvency and the president has neither pushed his fellow partisans in the Senate to vote on his budget nor put forward solutions to reform Social Security or Medicare.
Perhaps, his attempt to be “cool” is part of his campaign strategy. In Commentary, Peter Wehner observed that:
Given his inability and unwillingness to run on his record, the Obama strategy appears to rest on achieving three things: (1) energizing the turnout of his base (minorities, young voters and liberals); (more…)
Last night, Piers Morgan led off his eponymous CNN show by asking his colleague Wolf Blitzer to offer his thoughts on Mitt Romney’s speech. Blitzer agreed that “It was absolutely an excellent speech from — from his perspective because it looked — it looked like sort of an unofficial acceptance speech of the Republican presidential nomination.”
Morgan then turned to Obama campaign spokesman Ben Labolt for the president’s perspective. And by the manner in which he deflected questions raised by the presumptive Republican nominee’s speech, the Democratic flack effectively made Mitt Romney’s point.
When CNN anchor asked Labolt for his ”reaction to Mitt Romney’s speech“, he cited “particularly” the Republican’s “claim that because the president has failed America, he [Obama] will run a campaign, and you are effectively running the press for that campaign, full of diversions, distractions, and distortions.”
Labolt focused on the choice offered by the coming election. In a followup question, Morgan pressed the point, ”What happens if a large number of Americans come November conclude that actually most of the answers [about whether we're better off today than we were four years ago] to that are no?”
Instead of responding, Obama’s spokesman attacked Romney:
Well, the fact is a better title for Governor Romney’s speech tonight than “A Better America” should have been “Back to the Future.” Because he’s proposing the same economic policies that got us into the economic crisis in the first place. More tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, letting Wall Street write its own rules again.
You know we’ve tried those same policies before. We passed those tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. They were supposed to unleash growth. They were supposed to unleash job creation and they didn’t.
Yeah, Labolt did offer a few tidbits of good news in the current lackluster recovery, but his focus was on distorting Romney’s record, diverting attention away from “growth [which] surely feels like stagnation rather than a strong recovery” with personal income which is “flat to falling.” Such attacks are nothing more than distractions from Obama’s real record.
On Monday, when doing cardio at the gym, I looked up to catch President Obama’s speech at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. In the eighteen minutes that I watched the speech (until CNN cut away), I heard little but attacks on Republican policies, with frequent references to the middle class.
Pausing between $10,000-a-plate fundraisers for his re-election campaign, President Obama called on Congress in a highly partisan speech Tuesday to approve a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for programs for the middle class.
This “highly partisan speech” was an official speech, allowing the president to bill taxpayers for the fundraising trip to the Sunshine State, packing the 30-minute address, as he did, “in the midst of three fundraisers in the battleground state, prompting complaints by Republicans that Mr. Obama was fleecing taxpayers for campaign travel.”
In the speech, billed by the White House, as remarks on the economy, the president offered no new policies to strengthen the anemic recovery, choosing instead to fault Republicans for gutting what he calls “investments” (his terms for government grants):
They proposed a budget that showers the wealthiest Americans with even more tax cuts, and then pays for these tax cuts by gutting investments in education and medical research and clean energy, in health care.
. . . .
Now, thousands of medical research grants for things like Alzheimer’s and cancer and AIDS would be eliminated. Tens of thousands of researchers and students and teachers could lose their jobs. Our investments in clean energy that are making us less dependent on imported oil would be cut by nearly a fifth.
Note the conditional of the president’s attacks. People could lose their jobs. Investments in “clean” energy? Has he been paying attention to the number of such companies which have gone belly up (despite receiving federal grants and loan guarantees)? (more…)
Over at Commentary Contentions, Michael Rubin contrasts the media reaction to the actions of a handful of U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison to the murderous shooting spree conducted by one soldier recently in Afghanistan:
The reaction to Abu Ghraib was too often cheap, as pundits and partisans sought to ascribe guilt up to and including President Bush and Vice President Cheney. In the aftermath of the Afghanistan shooting, some Republicans criticized Obama for apologizing—but were roundly and rightly castigated by other Republicans.
That so many sought to transform the evil occurrences at Abu Ghraib into a partisan whip with which to flog Bush was wrong.
The military, as Rubin reminds us, has launched an investigation into the actions at the Iraqi prison before the media got wind of the story. (Read the whole thing; it’s short.)
In both cases, a rogue American service member (or members) committed atrocities, evil in their own right and damaging to the U.S. national interest. In neither case had the president ordered (or the military countenanced) the actions. And yet there wasn’t the same media frenzy for the more recent barbarity.
Wonder why that is.
Playing defense on gas prices, Obama faults Republicans for doing what he (and top Democrats) did when W was in office
For the better part of the past two months, the president has had it pretty easy. We’ve seen some decent jobs numbers. He has not really been in the public eye while the media have focused on the GOP’s internecine struggles. He hasn’t really had to play defense.
Until gas prices started rising. And this reminds us of a lesson we learned in the brief window of the 2008 presidential campaign when he fell behind John McCain in the polls, Barack Obama is not good on defense.
With gas prices rising on his watch, he lashes out at Republicans:
Now, some politicians they see this as a political opportunity. I know you’re shocked by that. (Laughter.) Last week, the lead story in one newspaper said, “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.” (Laughter.) That’s a quote. That was the lead. “Licking their chops.” Only in politics do people root for bad news, do they greet bad news so enthusiastically. You pay more; they’re licking their chops.
You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas. And I’ll save you the suspense. Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling. (Laughter.) We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President. We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.
Well, the American people aren’t stupid.
No, we’re not stupid, Mr. President. If Republican see rising gas prices as a political opportunity, you can take some credit, as Doug Powers reminds us in linking this video:
Or maybe they took the lead from your fellow Democrat, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she called for hearings when the nationwide average price for a gallon of gas was $3.07: (more…)
In one of Best of the Web’s frequent feature, “Two Papers in One,” James Taranto delights in the inconsistent editorial stances in the nation’s one time paper of record Today, he notes how the Times editors shifted their stands on recess appointments. Back in 2006, when the president made recess appointments, they manifested a “regal attitude toward a Congress in which his party holds solid majorities in both houses”
But, today, they praise the president for taking action when Congress refuses to act and dub Republicans “obstructionists” for exercising their constitutional responsibilities. They quote his statement in making the recess appointment as a “welcome new credo”. (Should check and see if they called Democratic Senators obstructionist for holding up the president’s appointments in the first eight years of this century.)
They sure didn’t use that term (“obstructionist”) when they lambasted the immediate past president for making recess appointments when the Senate really was in recess.
To the Times editors, a Republican president making a recess appointment when the Senate really was in recess is taking a “regal action”, but when a Democrat offers just such an appointment when the Senate isn’t in recess, it becomes, in the words of the Times editors, a “welcome new credo”.
Remember back in the early years of this century how many on the left — and in the Democratic Party– faulted then-President George W. Bush for going it alone on foreign policy. Despite the fact that this good man had developed strong relationships with the leaders of a great variety of nations, including the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain (until 2004), Australia, Poland and Denmark to name but a few, his critics all focused on the opposition generated by the then-President of France.
That man, a Monsieur J. Chirac famously rebuked European nations working with Bush on liberating Iraq for losing a “good opportunity to keep quiet”. The problem was not that Bush did not forge strong relationships with our allies, but that Chirac (and members of his government) actively sought to frustrate them.
Seems like the Frenchman has gotten his comeuppance. According to Glenn Reynolds, the immediate past president of the Fifth Republic has been
CONVICTED OF CORRUPTION CHARGES. “Jacques Chirac, mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995, is the first former French head of state to be convicted since Marshal Philippe Petain, the leader of the wartime Vichy regime, was found guilty in 1945 of collaborating with the Nazis.”
George W Bush could not be reached for comment.
“To the extent that there is any European patriotism beyond the expensively furnished lairs of the upscale”, Andrew Stuttaford writes in the Weekly Standard, “it finds its most powerful expression in, significantly, something negative—distaste for the United States.”
Kind of sounds a lot like Democrats prior to the advent of the savior who would halt the rise of the oceans and being the healing of the planet. They found their most powerful expression in, significantly something negative—distaste for George W. Bush.
(Stuttaford’s is a good piece, especially with his references to “an elite unimpressed by its homeland”.)
I can hardly believe that a decade has passed since I was two blocks from The White House and watching the TV in my office as a second plane hit the World Trade Center.
A lot of what drives me as an adult was born on that day. It is hard to believe that 2001 was so long ago. John and I had only met two years before. We enjoyed living in the DC suburbs before that day. None of our current canine companions had been born yet. The creation of the GayPatriot blog was highly influenced by the events of 9/11, but on that day I had no idea what blogs even were. My personal time being invested in politics no doubt increased and I am sure that my convictions about helping to start GOPROUD are rooted in 9/11/2001.
As long time readers know, I don’t talk much about my personal life — but I struggled for a long time to deal with the attacks on America in 2001. As I’ve mentioned before, not only was I in DC that day — but a very close friend was taken from me during the terrorist attacks. I found myself psychologically affected by that day for many years to come. Since 9/11, we moved west to Loudon County, VA…then south to Charlotte, NC ….and now to York, SC. I don’t regret any of those moves, but I can’t honestly say that I would be living where I’m living had 9/11 not happened.
I was thinking about the “9/11 kids” this weekend. It struck me that kids who were 10 & 11 on the day of the attacks are now 20 & 21. I have to believe that they have been profoundly affected by the last decade — perhaps in a way that will never alter that generation’s character.
I’m tired of war, I’m tired of fighting, and I’m just damned tired. But this nation’s founding was an aberration of human history — and I’ll be damned if some two-bit 7th Century ideologues will break my will and take the United States of America down.
It is perhaps instructive that Hurricane Irene threatened to devastate the East Coast almost exactly six years after Katrina did indeed devastate the Gulf Coast in and around New Orleans.
Now, to be sure, then-President George W. Bush did make his share of blunders in responding to the storm, perhaps his greatest being that he respected our federal system and trusted local authorities, who traditionally direct the response to handle natural disasters. The federal government merely plays a supporting role.
“One hundred years ago,” John Hinderaker wrote yesterday about the incumbent’s pretense of taking charge of hurricane relief efforts
. . . people understood that the president had nothing to do with hurricanes. Now, the president is expected to pretend to have control over more or less everything. This has something to do with the inexorable expansion of federal power, and also something to do with the dumbing-down of the American people.
Six years ago, our friends in the mainstream media used this expectation of of presidential responsibility over disaster relief to prove that the then-incumbent was the incompetent they knew him to be. His image never recovered from their assault (though it just might have had he then had a press secretary who was not in a perpetual “defensive crouch“).
As the facts trickled out, it became increasingly clear that local authorities botched relief efforts in Louisiana. Recall, that the storm devastated coastal regions in Mississippi and Alabama, but the chaos centered around Louisiana. The then-Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, dilly-dallied before declining the “dual-hat” command structure to accommodate her concerns about “federalizing the response“. President Bush was concerned about overstepping his bounds and not interfering with state responsibilities.
And because of those concerns for our federal structure, he was blamed for the Democratic governor’s failures. (more…)
“The latest posting by the Treasury Department” showing the national debt has increasing “by $4 trillion on President Obama’s watch” means that in the 2 years and 7 months since the Democrat took office, the nation has accumulated 82% of the debt it accumulated in 8 years under George W. Bush.
And someone thought we had been “living beyond our means” in the Bush era! ”
The debt,” reports Mark Knoller at CBS News, stood at “$10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion“:
It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.
The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The debt now is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama’s four-year term.
Mr. Obama blames policies inherited from his predecessor’s administration for the soaring debt. He singles out:
- “two wars we didn’t pay for”
- “a prescription drug program for seniors…we didn’t pay for.”
- “tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that were not paid for.”
Um, Mr. Obama, we elected you to fix the problems you repeatedly refer to as “inherited.” You don’t fix them by blaming your predecessor, but by offering solutions.
Oh, and since we’re talking about things we didn’t pay for, what about that $800 billion dollar “stimulus” that Congress passed when Democrats were in charge?
H/t Gateway Pundit.