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Friday, February 20, 2009

A List of Obama Bush Comparisons: 10 Ways Barack Obama Is Just Like George W. Bush

Photo by Pete Souza

Barack Obama's One Month Anniversary as President

If one more person responds to one of my criticisms of Obama by saying "Oh yeah? Like Bush was any different," I'm going to stab myself in the eye with a ball-point pen. That's the point! If as a nation, we generally agree that Bush's presidency was bad for America, it is no defense of Obama to say that his policies are no different from Bush's. At this point in history, that should be one of the worst indictments against Obama.

After just one month of Barack Obama, it is abundantly clear that despite the hype, this administration is just more of the same. Here is a list of ten ways that the Obama Administration is shaping up to look a lot like the Bush Administration.

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1. Lies and Broken Promises

The Bush Administration was characterized by lies and broken campaign promises. His administration looked nothing like the promises he made during the 2000 Presidential Campaign.

The Obama Administration is shaping up to be no different. He promised the following during his campaign and on after his inauguration: "we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it."

He has already broken this promise no less than three times, in signing SCHIP, the Lily Ledbetter Act, and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the "stimulus package"). Meanwhile, he has "reneged on his promise to keep lobbyists out of his administration, appointed a number of scandal-tainted Washington old-timers to key posts and talked the bipartisan talk while walking the partisan walk."

2. Fear-Mongering

As I wrote in my criticisms of the "stimulus" package:

"There are many striking parallels between The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and such misguided policies as the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, and the Global War on Terror. They all: Expand the role, power, and influence of government; Drastically increase government spending; Diminish individual liberties; Have questionable aims and unresolved practical complications; Lack exit-strategies and clearly defined standards of success or accountability; Have been sold to Americans by manufacturing a crisis and claiming that we simply must act, that there is no other way, and that without these laws, the development of some kind of worst-case scenario is inevitable; Have official names that are confusing, misleading, and often contradictory to the real aims and results of the legislation itself."

We should be alarmed at the lack of transparency, the frantic rhetoric, and the shrill fear-mongering. If we have been paying attention these last few years, this should be an all-too-familiar tactic and we should not let ourselves fall for it again. We should call the President to account for himself, especially in light of his promises to change the tone of political rhetoric coming from the White House.

3. Disregard For The Constitution

As President, George W. Bush cared little for living up to the supreme law of the land- the United State Constitution. His record of illegal wire-tapping, undeclared wars, and runaway executive power are evidence of that. Obama's administration is no different. In only a month, he has managed to violate the Constitution more than once. His appointment of Hillary Clinton to the office of Secretary of State was unconstitutional, moving the Census to the White House was unconstitutional and politically motivated, his decision to continue funding faith-based groups that discriminate on the basis of religion was unconstitutional and just plain unseemly for a "progressive Democrat" like himself (more on that later), and as usual, he has received a free pass from the media. Few people seem to be aware that Barack Obama has violated the Constitution three times in just one month as President, and those that are aware don't seem to care. One commenter on this blog even told me that by mentioning it and criticizing it, I'm just "pissing in the wind." The Constitution is what's getting pissed on if you ask me, and I'm not "pissing in the wind," I'm just pissed.

4. Unlimited Executive Power

What was frightening about the Bush Administration was its vast expansion of executive power and usurpation of the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution to safeguard our nation from tyranny. President Barack Obama has continued this tradition by promising to ignore Congress and illegally extend TARP funds to non-financial institutions, despite the legislation specifying that the funds are for financial institutions only (this would actually be a fourth example of Barack Obama violating the Constitution, or at least promising to). Additionally, the Census grab mentioned above represents an unconstitutional assumption of power that will give the White House influence over the redistricting process, creating a glaring conflict of interests as the White House decides how to draw districts which will impact the electoral college and the 2012 election. In just one month, Obama has shown that he does not plan to reign in an out-of-control executive branch. He is more than happy to wield and expand the power handed to him by George W. Bush. One of the most chilling examples is in his policy to continue:

5. CIA Renditions

Says the New York Times:

In little-noticed confirmation testimony recently, Obama nominees endorsed continuing the C.I.A.’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights, and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without trials even if they were arrested far from a war zone.

And the Chicago Tribune:

Under executive orders issued by Obama last week, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, or the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the U.S.

The rendition program became a source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were tortured.

Not so different from Bush after all? This is the change America voted for.

6. Utter Hypocrisy

Just like his predecessor in the Oval Office, Barack Obama is guilty of enough hypocrisy to make any honest person's stomach turn. Despite his claims that our environment is in crisis, Obama's inauguration alone emitted over 500 million pounds of CO2!

He made this statement in May 2008, Roseburg, OR:

We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that every country is going to say okay.

Then Obama was photographed last month without his suit jacket in the Oval Office, in contrast to his predecessor's strict dress code. When asked about it, a senior Obama advisor explained that Obama had the thermostat cranked up! That changed this from an insignificant fashion controversy to an environmental scandal. How dare he lecture us then crank his thermostat?

Obama additionally opposes school choice (he is against a private voucher system that would help families choose the best school for their child, including a private one they can't afford), but enrolled his daughters in a private school both as Senator in Chicago and as President in Washington D.C. Top it off with a ritzy weekend vacation while he claims that millions are suffering and urgent action is needed, and Barack Obama does a pretty good Bush impression when it comes to hypocrisy.

7. Faith-Based Initiatives

Reports Scott Michaels at Perfect Sanity:

Proving he’s no amateur when it comes to tacking as far right or left as necessary to capture some vital constituency, President Barack Obama recently upheld a key Bush administration policy allowing groups receiving federal dollars to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion.

During the campaign, Obama had assured audiences of his intent to keep the Bush White House focus on faith-based groups but with an end to the exception allowing those groups to decide who they might hire based on religious values or principles.

Do you seriously still think Barack Obama isn't Bush 2.0? Puh-lease! I am a person of faith myself, but I absolutely do not support using tax money to subsidize religion because it's immoral and unconstitutional. I thought "liberal" Democrats felt the same way, but I need to hear a little more outrage over this before I'm convinced.

8. Out-of-Control Spending

George W. Bush had the not-so-honorable distinction of being the President to run the biggest deficits in American history, but he didn't get to keep the title for long because with only a month under his belt, Barack Obama has replaced him as the new presidential record-holder for biggest deficits in U.S history. Barack Obama isn't just similar to George W. Bush in this respect- President Obama is much worse. There's simply no comparison:

(Source- PowerlineBlog | Hat Tip: David Boaz, The Cato Institute)

9. Warmongering

Make no mistake- Barack Obama is no dove. He's a warmonger and a hawk. His opposition to the war in Iraq (despite voting for every White House request to continue funding it) seems to obscure from most people the fact that he is otherwise very hawkish and spouts all kinds of war rhetoric. Suiting action to words this week, he "authorised the Pentagon to send an extra 17,000 troops to Afghanistan to tackle worsening insurgent violence." Isn't that what partisan Democrats opposed and ridiculed when Bush offered it as his solution to the deteriorating situation in Iraq? For goodness sake, can't you see that the two Presidents are identical(!)?

Maybe John Stewart can help you out:

10. Corruption

Think Bush was guilty of cronyism and corruption? After only a month, Barack Obama is giving him a run for his money. Obama's Administration has been stained by corruption from the moment he began vetting candidates for Cabinet-level positions. His pick for Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, didn't pay his taxes from 2001 to 2004 and hired an illegal immigrant. Obama stuck by his pick, and the man is Treasury Secretary today.

Tom Daschle, a former House Majority Leader for the Democrats, was Obama's pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Surprise! He didn't pay his taxes either. He owed the IRS over $100,000 in back taxes. Obama was poised to continue defending this pick, like he did with Geithner, but Daschle chose to step down.

On the same day that Dasche withdrew his nomination, Nancy Killefer- Obama's pick for Chief Performance Officer- stepped down for failing to pay her taxes too! And it has come to light just last week, that Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel has been involved in shady dealings himself, failing to report five years of free rent at a US Congressman's property as mandated by congressional ethics rules.


This is the first month people! All of this in one month? My goodness, what are the people who voted for this thinking?

Spread the Word!

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  1. I never looked at the two in this way. Thank you for opening my eyes to the indisputable facts. Dave

  2. Hey Dave. Thanks for your kind comment and your sincerity. You're always welcome.

  3. Interesting post. I just wanted to make a couple comments:

    1. "what are the people who voted for this thinking?"

    As someone who voted for Obama, I can tell you that I am thinking that, while not good, I still think he's better than the alternative. Every one of these points, and more, would have likely been doubly true for McCain. Outside of Ron Paul, when have we seen a candidate who even came close to living out libertarian values?

    2. "Then Obama was photographed last month without his suit jacket in the Oval Office, which is unprecedented in US Presidential history."

    I know this is an unimportant side issue, but this statement is absolutely false. Take a couple minutes and do some Google searches and you'll find pictures of EVERY president going back to Kennedy without his suit jacket in the Oval Office. With so many actual important issues to confront, why do people insist on spreading this kind of stupid lies?

  4. Thanks Ken. I checked out your blog- interesting article on Christianity and Anarchism.

    1. You are right to say the altnerative, John McCain, would likely have been just as bad. We seem to be on the same page in our appraisal of the candidates.

    It would be difficult for me however, to say that either a McCain or Obama Presidency is "the worse" of the two evils, and if I did lean in one of those directions, I still would not vote for a candidate that I considered only marginally "less evil."

    I would "waste my vote" on a third party or stay home.

    2. I agree that this is an unimportant side issue (I could care less about Obama's fashion- as you could tell, I was more interested in his hypocrisy), but I am sorry to have been wrong on that count. I'll correct the article as soon as I finish this comment.


  5. "My goodness, what are the people who voted for this thinking?"

    I dont think they are. Most people that were Obama supporters still are and whenever faced with things such as you posted they take offense, turn it back to Bush, or just plain claim you are a partisan hack spewing stuff just to spew. It is sad not to mention frustrating.

  6. It really is. Thank you so much. It helps a lot to know I'm not the only one with my jaw on the floor, totally confused about how he can have so many people fooled.

  7. While I don't agree with everything he's done since he took office (or everything he said on the campaign trail) a lot of what's in this article is really stretching to make sense. For example:

    1. I'll give you this based on the facts presented, but it's still quite a flimsy argument and picking nits a little if you ask me.

    2. "Have been sold to Americans by manufacturing a crisis and claiming that we simply must act, that there is no other way"

    So... the economy isn't in shambles then? It's all just been made up? Whew! What a relief! And here I was worried that we were in the midst of an actual recession and not a manufactured one.

    Sorry, but I just don't buy this argument. At all. I've heard nothing out of Obama that comes close to "fear-mongering". A sense of urgency? Sure, but there are some real issues out there that need to be dealt with and bold action needs to be taken.

    3. The Hillary thing... for one, it's the smallest form of technicality and to be honest, I just don't care that much. She's qualified for the position and, to me, that's all that matters. It's like one of those outdated laws that say men can still beat their wives in front of the county courthouse on Sunday morning.

    The census thing I agree probably is politically-motivated, and I do actually agree about the faith-based initiatives. It really surprises me that Obama would agree to continue this stuff.

    4. Ehhh.... I suppose so, but again, you're picking nits. Is Obama using his power, in some ways, to his own advantage? Yes, he is. Has there ever been a President that didn't in some way? Probably not. Extending TARP funds and messing with the census doesn't quite strike me as a Bush-level executive power grab.

    5. This has been going on for decades. It didn't start with Bush and it won't end with Obama. I'm not saying it's right or that I agree with it, but you can't expect any President to change the way the CIA has operated for the better part of its entire existence.

    6. Oh dear. I probably shouldn't even bother responding to this, but... his thermostat? Seriously? I suppose it is a tad bit hypocritical of him, but do you really expect the President of the United States to not run his A.C.?

    As for his daughters attending private school; that, to me, is a personal matter. It's none of our business where his daughters go to school and to be honest, I'd have done the same thing regardless of how I feel about private school vouchers. There are some things that shouldn't be a part of politics and a man's family is one of them.

    7. Already said I agree with you on this issue. It is rather surprising to see Obama supporting these initiatives.

    8. Okay... so after JUST ONE MONTH Obama already has replaced Bush as the new record-holder for the biggest deficits in history?! Please, do you really expect that argument to hold water.

    Nevermind that it was Bush who left him with the VAST majority of it, but there's a HUGE difference between spending recklessly on undeclared (and unnecessary) wars and passing a stimulus bill to jump-start a dead-in-the-water economy.

    9. First of all, Obama said all throughout his campaign that he planned to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. Second, the two wars are totally different. One was a response to 9/11 and very necessary; the other was little more than Bush Jr's attempt to impress his 'poppy.'

    I can't believe you're actually comparing Bush and Obama on being warmongers. Nevermind that Obama has also pledged to END the war in Iraq.

    10. I admit that things haven't worked so well in this regard for Obama, but do you honestly believe he knew about this stuff? Surely if he had, he would have picked someone else simply to avoid the bad press (like this article) he'd get from it. It's not as if he specifically chose them because of these issues.

    Conclusion: While you do make a few good points, I found most of this article to be either nit picking or stretching to find similarities where none exist. While I did vote for Obama, I also have no problem calling any politician out when they make a mistake.

    Truth be told, Obama has made his share of mistakes early-on, but he's far from the Bush clone you've made him out to be.

  8. Thank you for actually engaging my arguments! This is the most well-thought-out and earnest reply I've gotten on or off the Internet to this list of accuasations. Thank you for being the first person not to deflect, evade, or resort to ad hominem arguments. I can tell that you are in earnest.

    I do disagree with some of your rebuttals, and if you'd care for any further dialogue, I think my response would go beyond the scope of a comment on this thread. So I hope it's cool with you if I do a post sometime this week pointing out (and praising) your comment to the rest of my readers and listing my responses to your rebuttals (in addition some of the items on the list need updates as more information has come to light).

  9. Done:

  10. 1) The best you can do is a website update? Come on.

    2) It's funny that your "criticisms" of the stimulus don't make a single economic argument. Here's one possibility: this really is a horrible economic climate ("worst since the great depression), the stimulus really is necessary, and your libertarian ideology won't allow you to see this.

    3) Census, ok maybe. Faith-based. Agreed, but all he needs to do is put a non-discrimination clause in the funding provision (as he said he will). Because if the best bang for the buck is with faith-based organizations then this makes absolute sense. But yes there needs to be a non-discrimination provision. But, Hiliary give me a break. Go look up the word "doctrinaire". Even if this is true, it doesn't matter. No one cares about this tiny stipulation. We probably should amend the Constitution, but that is a TREMENDOUS hassle: "No Senator or Representative shall....unless the previous administration issued an executive order for pay increases so that a congressman can be appointed to a cabinet position". You've got to be kidding me. The framers never saw this coming, and I'm sure would allow for this provision.

    4) Any institution..including but not limited to Institution - "an established organization or foundation"

    5) Closing Guantanamo, yeah sounds different from Bush to me.

    6) You're joking, right? 0.0000000038% of the global emissions of CO2 (most of which was beyond his control)? Did you want us to get rid of all inaugurations? Look, how about we go after what matters to fix this problem.

    7) It's not subsidizing RELIGION, it's using tax-dollars with those intimately tied with communities. Look, if there was a group out there really efficient at spending dollars and led the biggest bang for the buck, wouldn't you choose them?

    8) Remember TARP was on Bush's watch and goes into FY09 (700Billion), so Cato's plot is a bit misleading if you're trying to blame this ALL on Obama. But deficits in themselves aren't a bad thing. The worry is we do nothing/little get an L-shaped recession, and have another mini-GD or a Japanese-like "lost decade" or with the growth we experienced compared to a protracted rescission these deficits would easily pay for themselves.
    "There's no question that our deficits and debt levels will get bigger in the short term, and that's acceptable--it's not a good thing--it's acceptable." --David Walker U.S. Comptroller

    9)For goodness sake can't you see their different! Bush took us into both wars. Obama is trying to leave responsibly. Are you really trying to compare an urban, smaller-population, smaller-area, one-state, non-911 related war with one that is opposite in every way? After all, the surge worked. I hope Obama realizes it and decides to proceed accordingly.

    10) I do think it's horrible that these people didn't pay their taxes. But the question is 1) Did they do it deliberately, and 2) how common is it. If you look back in history this tax issue comes up all the time. It a fault of a complicated tax code. But EVEN IF this isn't possible, and EVEN IF these people did it intentionally, this doesn't mean that they aren't the best qualified, and that they don't have America's interests at hart. I would personally rather have a someone very qualified who didn't pay taxes, than someone who isn't and did. Obama knows Geitner, and his qualifications are incredible. If I was in Obama's shoes and I trusted Geitner, then I would still appoint him too.

  11. You disappoint me (assuming you're the same "anonymous" -that's the trouble with anonymous comments). I bragged to all my readers about how cool and level-headed you seem to be, but now I'm getting the same old evasions, obfuscations, and lame excuses.

    Anyone else reading this, here's the article which the commentator claims doesn't "make a single economic argument. Decide for yourself whether you think this commentator is being reasonable (or even read it at all before commenting on it).

    1) I don't see your meaning. What would be better than a website update?

    2) This isn't an argument, it's a convoluted ad hominem fallacy. I'm a libertarian, so I must be irrational and biased?

    3)On the census thing your answer is "maybe"?? Would it be "maybe" if Bush had done this, or would it be "what a stupid, fascist policy!"?

    Funding faith-based organizations is unconstitutional any way you slice it. You hated this under Bush and now you're making excuses. That's bias.

    And you have confirmed that on the issue of Clinton's appointment violating the Constitution, your attitude is that it doesn't really matter. I'm sorry you feel that way.

    4) It uses that definition to define "financial institution." Yes, it may not be limited to those, but it is limited to financial institutions. Not by any stretch of the imagination are some of the TARP I and II recipients financial institutions. Now you're nit picking.

    5) If he closes Guantanamo, but continues to allow CIA renditions, he's still using methods that are morally outrageous, even above and beyond what happened at Gitmo. This answer was an evasion.

    6) Like my thermostat? Does turning that down matter? Obama said it does, but heating my house emits far less carbon than heating Obama's house, or throwing the most lavish inauguration in history during an economic downturn and an alleged climate emergency. HE'S- A- HYPOCRITE!

    7) First of all, you're going to have to give me some figures to show that faith-based organizations are most cost effective, but even if they are- NO. I wouldn't use them because it's unconstitutional.

    8) Did you really reference Japan's lost decade to support stimulus? Their stimulus spending was what caused that.

    9) For goodness sake, can't you see they're the same?! Obama's Iraq withdrawal is on a longer timetable than he promised us, and it leaves tens of thousands of troops in Iraq, so it's not really a withdrawal. Meanwhile, he's sending 17,000 more into Afghanistan (and this week it's now 4,000 more on top of that). He's putting missle defense shields in Russia's back yard and stepping up rhetoric against Iran and Pakistan. The man is not a peace president. God knows we haven't had one of those in forever. We keep electing warmongers.

    10) It's not that complicated. If you don't pay your taxes for three years it's not because it's complicated, it's because you're evading taxes or you're not competent. If he filed and was off by some or even a lot, you could blame the tax code, but if he just flat out didn't pay his taxes, then you can't. Quit making excuses. I am not the one who is ideology driven here.

  12. When will a true president who is not a puppet come to power? when will we see the days of peace love and joy... the days of joy which were taken from us after 1700 BC when the British came and invaded the lands, when America was formed.... all we were left were was with war death and destruction.... another puppet.... another war...

  13. I'm sorry I have nothing stimulating to add to the conversation. Just wanted to mention I thoroughly enjoyed your article. Thanks for the post!

  14. No problem, Rachel! Thanks for your kind words.

  15. This is news? LOL

  16. Just to add a point to this whole post:

    The finacial mess we were left in has been building for a long time now. Alot of Obama supporters will say that Clinton was the best president ever and our economy was never better under his presidency. They also claim that Bush got us into this whole mess. If you know anything about the housing crisis you will understand that it was Greenspan who created these bubbles under Clinton's presidency. I am in no way a Bush supporter, and agree fully that his presidency was the worst ever. What I am saying is that every presidency has been worse than the last for longer than I have been alive. In my opinion, the last president that tried to stand up to the criminal FED, was shot for doing so (see Executive Order 11110). Our government literally is a bankrupt corporation and has been since 1933. So all we're doing is pointing fingers at the store managers and never talking about the owners of the company. This country is not a bankrupt company. It is a land of 50 united states, run by the people, for the people, We must separate ourselves from these criminal enterprizes by recognizing our birth rights as Americans and exercising them to the fullest. These criminals aren't here to preserve your rights, they're here to take them away in order to maximize finantial gain for the foreign stockholders they work for.

  17. Great comment! You sound like a truly vigilant patriot. Keep it up.

  18. Excellent! The Left wingnuts are in stiff armed salute to their cult leader, while clicking their heels together. While they sing their "Heil Obamas!" most Americans are waking up to the fact that Juan McCain really was a bad choice, but so was Barrack Hussein Obama.

    I'll be using this and update it through 2012 as the cult tries to extend its grab on power from the people.

    Thanks for taking the time to document well thought out points of view.


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