Obama Distances Himself From Bush 43
There is a belief that presidential politics runs in a 20-year cycle. I have never given the theory much mind until I heard President Obama’s national address on Libya this week. The President made his case for the military action he ordered against Libya and reminded the world that it was a multinational effort. There was another message in his speech that was equally important and far from subliminal: I am not President George W. Bush. When the President gave his reasons for not using the military to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi, he said, “To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq.”
What he should have said was, we went down that road EVENTUALLY in Iraq. In attempting to distance himself from comparisons to George W. Bush, he sounded eerily like another president and another Bush: George H. W. Bush.
[SIGNUP]It was 20 years ago when the first President Bush, much like President Obama, touted a 34-nation coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. But then Bush was criticized for not finishing the job, for not sending American troops into Baghdad to take out Saddam Hussein.
It was 20 years ago to the day that Bush 41 seemed unbeatable; he enjoyed sky-high approval ratings, and the Democratic presidential field—dubbed “the Seven Dwarfs”—appeared too weak to mount a serious challenge. But a sluggish economic recovery and a primary challenge from Pat Buchanan fueled by extremists in his own party who were disappointed with the president’s moderate positions, coupled with the decision not to take out Hussein, caused the first President Bush to lose his reelection bid to one of the seven dwarfs, a young Southern governor named Bill Clinton.
We are a year and a half away from the 2012 elections, and a lot can happen. But at this moment in time, with a slow recovery, grumbling from the far left about Obama’s moderation and Gadhafi still in power, it is feeling like 1992 déjà vu.
Barack Obama won the presidency by campaigning as the anti-George W. Bush, but he is starting to look a lot like George H. W. Bush.