Daily Archives: July 1, 2009

Obama more Clintonesque than Bushy


Leftist columnist and editorial cartoonist Ted Rall is on a kick as of late that President Barack Obama is even worse than was “President” George W. Bush. My guess is that Obama is still learning the ways of the White House more than that he endorses the acts of the unelected Bush regime that preceded him.

I love hyperbole almost as much as I love profanity, but I have to disagree with lefty columnist Ted Rall’s (presumably serious) recent assertion that George W. Bush “was the worst president the U.S. had ever had. Until this one.”

“I liked Bush better [than I like Barack Obama],” Rall writes, adding that Bush “didn’t insult us by pretending to care. Come on, Barack, smirk! Truth in advertising!”

It is true that Obama doesn’t seem to be working fast enough to try to reverse the damage of the past eight hellish years of rule by the unelected Bush regime, but we need to remember here in the United States of Amnesia that Obama inherited a mess that is going to take some time to reverse.

(Giving non-heterosexuals equal human and civil rights, however, takes little time and little to no money, so I don’t give Obama a pass on that one.)

I get Rall’s point that at least with Bush we knew what we were getting; we knew what we were getting right after BushCheneyCorp brazenly stole the presidential election of 2000.

Obama, on the other hand, campaigned as a progressive but thus far has governed as a Clintonesque centrist. Even with the Democrats in charge of the White House and both houses of Congress, I don’t expect Obama’s bait-and-switch centrism to change any day soon.

Even with a razor-thin margin of power, the Repugnicans under BushCheneyCorp never hesitated to “spend” their “political capital” (e.g., Bush “won” “re”-election in 2004 with only 50.7 percent of the popular vote to Democrat John Kerry’s 48.3 percent, but the members of BushCheneyCorp called this a “mandate”), yet here is Obama, sitting atop a mountain of political capital, yet he’s being miserly with it.

There is no good reason to get overconfident and to push things too far, as the Repugnicans did and thus subsequently sent themselves into the political wilderness, but there’s no reason to be too timid when you’re firmly in charge of things, either.

I can’t buy the Obama-is-even-worse-than-Bush argument for several reasons, starting with the reason that at least Obama legitimately was elected by a majority of the people. (Even Bill Clinton, who before Obama was the standard-bearer for the Democratic Party, won the White House in 1992 with a plurality, not a majority, of the votes.) At least nothing like a 9/11 or a Hurricane Katrina has happened thus far on Obama’s watch (and, my guess is, never will). Obama is slow to pull U.S. troops out of the Middle East (indeed, he’s putting more of them in Afghanistan), but he didn’t put them there in the first place; he inherited the mess in the Middle East from the Bush regime. And I can’t see Obama embroiling us in a wholly new bogus war, a la BushCheneyCorp with its Vietraq War.

Obama reminds me more of faux progressive Bill Clinton than he reminds me of George W. Bush. As Clinton faced early in his presidency, Obama is facing the two issues of health care reform and equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals.

Hopefully,  Obama, with a disempowered Repugnican Party and an empowered Democratic Party, will make far more progress than Clinton did on these and other issues.

All of this is not to say that we don’t keep Obama’s feet to the fire. We do.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is widely quoted as having said to the progressives within his party, “I agree with you [and] I want to do it; now make me do it.”

Let’s make Obama do it. Whether he wants to do it or not.

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