Is Obama “Bush Lite”?

posted at 1:36 pm on December 1, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Most people expect Barack Obama to lay off some of the blame for the directionless policy on Afghanistan this year on George Bush in his speech tonight at West Point.  Lee Siegel at the Daily Beast expects Obama to come across as closer to his predecessor than Obama might imagine.  When it comes to pursuing the war in Afghanistan, Siegel — a war opponent — sees Obama as Bush Lite, and the speech as a manipulation of high order:

Once again, Obama is using Bush’s counter-example as a lever to sway the public. Yet to an even greater extent than his predecessor, Obama is proving himself an expert manipulator of public opinion, capitalizing on the McChrystal and then the Eikenberry leaks to give the impression of anguished, many-sided deliberations over whether to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. The good cop/bad cop routine with Joe Biden, who dutifully argued against more troops, was breathtakingly cynical.

Like Bush, Obama wants to wage an escalating war without worrying about how to pay for it—though no doubt, on Tuesday, we will be subjected to the same ludicrous vows not to increase the deficit. And it is almost uncanny to hear, this time from the liberal Obama, the same bloodcurdling rhetoric about nation-building and creating democratic institutions, and so on, that led us into implacably undemocratic Iraq. Warlord-run Afghanistan is nothing like Iraq. It is more like Somalia. Remember Somalia? …

No, Obama is not Bush. More and more, he seems like a continuation of Bush by other means. If anything, he is even more convinced than his divinely guided predecessor that he holds the truth in his hands. Unlike Bush, however, Obama seems to withdraw into a passive funk when he cannot convince his fellow Americans that his truth is also theirs.

Actually, I do remember Somalia.  The original mission for Somalia had nothing to do with “nation building” or “creating democratic institutions”; it was an attempt to deliver food and secure its distribution.    Somalia was a botch-up created by mission creep from a humanitarian, non-combat mission to provide food transport to starving people into a police action against warlords.    We didn’t resource the military properly for the latter mission, refusing to send armored assets to avoid the look of escalation.  And running from Somalia after getting a bloody nose in Mogadishu contributed to the willingness of Osama bin Laden to attack American assets around the world.

Siegel seems to channel David Obey in his conclusion by arguing that the war will crush the progressive agenda Obama was elected to enact by ruining the American economy.  However, the polling on that data shows that Obama and his supporters fundamentally misread that mandate.  While people wanted to see reform in health-care costs, they didn’t want a government takeover of the industry.  And even without the war in Afghanistan, the money for massive new government entitlements simply doesn’t exist.  Even before 9/11, Medicare and Social Security were going broke, and getting to the meltdown point faster than anyone in the Beltway would admit.  The war spending may make that more acute, but even if we withdrew today, it wouldn’t mean that money exists for the statist policies Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are pushing through Congress.

Obama is a manipulator, but not so much on the war.  He campaigned for two years on fighting more robustly against the real enemies of America in Afghanistan.  If Siegel feels manipulated by Obama’s apparent readiness to fulfill that pledge, then Siegel manipulated himself into that position.  Any expectation that Obama would decide differently demonstrates a disingenuousness on someone’s part — but not Obama, in this case.


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MSNBC canned Jesse Ventura because he did support Iraq War

This is not your first venture into TV hosting since leaving the governorship. What happened to “Jesse Ventura’s America,” which ran briefly on MSNBC in 2003?

It was awful. I was basically silenced. When I came out of office, I was the hottest commodity out there. There was a bidding war between CNN, Fox and MSNBC to get my services. MSNBC ultimately won. I was being groomed for a five day-a-week TV show by them. Then, all of a sudden, weird phone calls started happening: “Is it true Jesse doesn’t support the war in Iraq?”

My contract said I couldn’t do any other cable TV or any news shows, and they honored and paid it for the duration of it. So in essence I had my silence purchased. Why do you think you didn’t hear from me for three years? I was under contract. They wouldn’t even use me as a consultant!

When you live in Mexico, your houses all have names. I almost named my house Casa MSNBC because they bought it. I was paid like a professional athlete, and I got very wealthy. For doing nothing.

J_Crater on December 1, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Probably afflicted with DRS. (Dan Rather Syndrome)

viking01 on December 1, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Not really, you could say the same for Lloyd Bentsen, a Democrat who put his kid into the same division. Congressmen looking out for their own interests is nothing new.

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:11 PM

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Yet the point you keep missing is GWB met the expectations and made the grade in a line of work where just keeping the plane in the air and under control can be more dangerous than being shot at. The F-102 in particular was noted for being a handful. So the suggestion that it was politics to avoid danger simply does not wash.

Meanwhile, Zero can only bloviate and shuffle arrogantly while wishing for another bi-weekly vacation.

viking01 on December 1, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Of course not. He was hanging out with his commie eggheads. However Obama also wasn’t in a division that included Dallas Cowboys and Senators’ kids. You know the divisions that were expected to see serious action in Nam.

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Hey, Mary Mapes is here! Find a new job yet?

Or are you really Bill Burkett in drag?

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Bill Clinton: “Ignore those Bimbo Eruptions“.

George W. Bush: “I’m betting my Presidency on The Surge“.

Barack Obama: “We don’t need a Surge in Afghanistan, just a slight swelling“.

Kaisersoze on December 1, 2009 at 3:22 PM

viking01 on December 1, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Talking about Bush’s military record, and the fact that he was is a division with the sons of Politicians and 7 members of the Dallas Cowboys has nothing to do with praising Obama. I called Obama a commie in the same response.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2009 at 3:20 PM

No I am not hypothesizing about missed physicals. I am merely saying that he was in a division that housed the sons of congressmen in addition to members of the Dallas Cowboys, also that it was not a division that was going to see action in Nam. All of this is true. Where am I “making up” facts? Just because the facts appear to point to the obvious isn’t my fault. I know it doesn’t fit in with your idealistic biography, but get over it.

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:26 PM

You’re just jealous.

Yet Bush made the grade and passed his ratings nonetheless. Bush was an F-102 interceptor pilot assigned to engage Soviet pilots for a possible World War III confrontation with the probability of no return flight to base. Completely different from what pilots assigned to Vietnam. Different aircraft, different strategy, different tactics, different ROE. Something Gorebots, Kerrybots and O-bots always seem to miss. Their Bush Derangement Syndrome reaching a fever pitch when GWB made that carrier landing!

Probably afflicted with DRS. (Dan Rather Syndrome)

viking01 on December 1, 2009 at 3:00 PM

It came out over the past few months that Mary Mapes knew that Chimpy had actually volunteered for Vietnam, but deliberately left it out of the C-BS “report” that got her fired.

BTW some of Bush’s Texas ANG colleagues did end up in ‘Nam. Just as today’s Texas ANG has crews in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2009 at 3:26 PM

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Bush’s unit did serve in Vietnam, from 1968 until 1970. Which was while he was still in training.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2009 at 3:29 PM

He is Carter, minus the foreign policy and economic expertise.

DavidM on December 1, 2009 at 3:30 PM

highhopes on December 1, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Laugh when the three lies appear:

1) The Bush years/policies made the Afghan situation worse.

2) The dithering/compehensive review of the past few months now enables us to work smarter over there.

3) He is considering budgetary issues in his new strategy.

And on style

He is not Bush Lite. I wasn’t tuned in then but I can see former President Carter handling the whole process in the same way.

I can’t stand to watch or listen to Dear Leader so I just read the speeches later. The suggestion of a drinking game above has me torn about continuing to do that. Decisions, decisions….maybe I will set some goals and off ramps or progress benchmarks for handling the drinking idea.

IlikedAUH2O on December 1, 2009 at 3:32 PM

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Apparently our modern military has found GWB to be very much one of them despite your sad attempts to detract from his known ability and service to deliver what his commanders expected of him. Most Libs never realize that training very often is just as dangerous as war. Sometimes more-so because the envelope is being pushed to know the limits of one’s weaponry so as to maximize its use.

Meanwhile, the empty-suit named Obama can’t even complete an opening game pitch upon its assigned course. Next season it’s a guess whether to to put in Michelle-O for relief or let the goalie from this year’s Stanley Cup sub temporarily for the catcher. I’ll bet Yale pitcher GWB politely suppressed a laugh upon seeing Zero’s prophetic pitch of things to come.

viking01 on December 1, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Bush’s unit did serve in Vietnam, from 1968 until 1970. Which was while he was still in training.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Source?

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2009 at 3:20 PM

How long are the invidious comments going to run over President Bush’s military service. TANG was a legit organization at that time and there were pro sports players and politician’s kids everywhere.

His decision was a probably a mix of practical and ideological.

I know people who joined the Marines because they got sick of worrying about the draft or got caught stealing cars.

I would love to see the left’s response to a candidate who joined because he loved his country and had the brains to know beforehand that he would be killing people in a hellish enviroment but that was OK, too.

IlikedAUH2O on December 1, 2009 at 3:46 PM

It’s fun to talk politics and get on our soapboxes and shoot off our mouths. But I’m sickened by the thought that Obambi is going to sacrifice American soldiers over there for personal political reasons. It’s like LBJ all over again. Don’t we ever learn?

Metanis on December 1, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Meanwhile, the empty-suit named Obama can’t even complete an opening game pitch upon its assigned course. Next season it’s a guess whether to to put in Michelle-O for relief or let the goalie from this year’s Stanley Cup sub temporarily for the catcher. I’ll bet Yale pitcher GWB politely suppressed a laugh upon seeing Zero’s prophetic pitch of things to come.

viking01 on December 1, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Well yes hanging out with commie eggheads isn’t going to result in you throwing a pitch well, or not bowling like a four year old girl.

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:47 PM

http://www.valorstudios.com/wingmen/thetruth.htm

IlikedAUH2O on December 1, 2009 at 3:54 PM

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Zero probably permanently injured his arm helping William Ayers wrap some “gifts” or from always clapping the loudest at Revrum Wright’s sermons.

viking01 on December 1, 2009 at 4:01 PM

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Here is the link to support the post above which avered that the TANG unit served in Viet Nam. I was curious about it for someone else. I would do nothing to try to change a mind like yours.

http://www.149fw.ang.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123102621

IlikedAUH2O on December 1, 2009 at 4:03 PM

viking01 on December 1, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Very likely. Insults about Obama don’t hurt me. He’s a communist, liar, that can speak well, which makes him very dangerous.

Disliking Bush Liking Obama

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 4:04 PM

the only reason Obama talked tuff on AfPak was that Hillary is a hawk. It was a reaction to HRC nothing more.

ginaswo on December 1, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Now go and review the service record, school records, or perhaps any other record of your guy in the White House and give us a comprehensive report.

IlikedAUH2O on December 1, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Disliking Bush =|= Liking Obama

Ill try this, can’t use inequalities, guess it confuses it for tags.

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Source?

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Well, IlikedAUH2O on December 1, 2009 at 4:03 PM has one link, and here’s one from an anti-Bush site that says the same thing:

http://www.seanet.com/~johnco/bush102.htm

The 147th earned its first Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in 1966 when it was proclaimed, “The most combat ready of all Air Guard units.”

From 1968 through 1970, pilots from the 147th participated in “Palace Alert” and served in Southeast Asia during the height of the Vietnam War.

With the continued draw-down of air defense units in the United States, the 147th FIG came off runway alert on Jan. 1, 1970 to start a new mission: training all F-102 pilots in the United States for the Air National Guard.

Del Dolemonte on December 1, 2009 at 4:15 PM

IlikedAUH2O on December 1, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Thanks. So while parts of the 147th were serving in Nam, they started training pilots on the F-102, which was not going to see action in Nam, and suddenly it filled with the sons of Texas Congressmen and Dallas Cowboys. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

From the article:

History shows that individual ANG units had been flying supply mission in Vietnam since 1965. During Bush’s tenure in the Texas ANG, his unit could have been sent to fight in Vietnam on a moment’s notice. However, such an order to further mobilize the Guard or Reserves would have had to come from President Johnson and/or Secretary of Defense McNamara. According to Lt. Col. William Campenni, who flew with Bush, “Johnson and McNamara . . . deliberately avoided use of the Guard and Reserves for domestic political calculations, knowing that a draftee only stirred up the concerns of one family, while a call-up got a whole community’s attention.”

So they are trying to say that he was afraid that he would lose politically in Texas? I find this rather strange, usually the home state of a politician is the most safe. Now if they called up a unit that had a Senator’s kid, up and coming congressmen, and members of the Dallas Cowboys I could definitely see some political blowback, both in public and behind the scenes on the hill.

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 4:18 PM

This one always gets the liberals in a wad….

Obama – Dumber than Bush

Bleed_thelizard on December 1, 2009 at 4:51 PM

LevStrauss on December 1, 2009 at 4:18 PM

It always comes down to “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight”, doesn’t it? X-{

Dark-Star on December 1, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Somewhere above, a post stated that Bush’s TANG unit served in Southeast Asia during the war.

You asked for a source.

You were either too lazy or too dumb to check for yourself so I supplied some information.

Now you come back with some palaver about NFL players, the political climate and goodness knows what else. Then we have Dork Star adding some class warfare.

You are unhappy with former President Bush’s service record? (41 or 43?) Don’t vote for either one if they ever run again.

I heard lefties knock McCain’s service record…”all he did was chase girls and wreck planes”. And John Kerry had his issues, too.

You would find that rich kids and millionaires die in wars, also. Ever hear of Pat Tillman? The One’s Chosen General was said to have covered that one up. See..We Pick You Click above on the Afghan War.

IlikedAUH2O on December 1, 2009 at 5:44 PM

History will show how absurd any comparison of Obama to GWB truly is. If Bush ends up being the last man to preside over an exceptionalist America, then history will regard him as a tragic figure; among the last true bastions of a bygone era. But if Bush ends up being rehabilitated by a new wave of exuberant free-market conservatives, Bush will end up an almost mythic martyr figure.

Either way, Obama’s obsequious globalist pandering will seat him alongside Wilson and Carter and earn him similar disdain. Even with Bush’s bullheaded determination to prosecute two wars. Fact is History has no patience for craven spinelessness and History enshrines stubborn, determined figures. Thomas Hardy was right when he wrote “war makes rattling good history, peace is poor reading”.

Khorum on December 1, 2009 at 6:01 PM

It’s amazing how Siegel and so many other femmes in the Democrat party completely ignored how 0zero actually said during the campaign that he was going to continue fighting this war. This was the good war, remember?

WarEagle01 on December 1, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Is Obama “Bush Lite”?

No, he’s Jimmy Carter only with less charm.

Oldnuke on December 1, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Obama is not Bush Lite, he’s Carter’s second term. We have three more years of getting screwed by our own government. Each dhimmicrat we elect creates a bigger mess than the dhimmicrat before.

Throw
The
Bums
Out

Mojave Mark on December 1, 2009 at 7:55 PM

And running from Somalia after getting a bloody nose in Mogadishu contributed to the willingness of Osama bin Laden to attack American assets around the world.

What’s your evidence for this? Are you saying that without Mogadishu, we never have a 9/11? That’s a pretty serious charge.

orange on December 1, 2009 at 8:01 PM

“expert manipulator of publc opinion”:Con artist

DDT on December 1, 2009 at 9:31 PM

If Obama had even half of GW Bush’s qualities, he would
have been a better Prez…… But Obama is more like
Carter/LBJ, a concentrated disaster—extra strength…:lol

dec5 on December 2, 2009 at 1:59 AM

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