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The end of "Blaming Bush"

Earlier this week, the ubiquitous Karl Rove penned a brilliant op-ed for the Wall Street Journal entitled Flip-Flops and Governance. Here is a sample:

Barack Obama inherited a set of national-security policies that he rejected during the campaign but now embraces as president. This is a stunning and welcome about-face.

For example, President Obama kept George W. Bush's military tribunals for terror detainees after calling them an "enormous failure" and a "legal black hole." His campaign claimed last summer that "court systems . . . are capable of convicting terrorists." Upon entering office, he found out they aren't.

He insisted in an interview with NBC in 2007 that Congress mandate "consequences" for "a failure to meet various benchmarks and milestones" on aid to Iraq. Earlier this month he fought off legislatively mandated benchmarks in the $97 billion funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama agreed on April 23 to American Civil Liberties Union demands to release investigative photos of detainee abuse. Now's he reversed himself. Pentagon officials apparently convinced him that releasing the photos would increase the risk to U.S. troops and civilian personnel.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama excoriated Mr. Bush's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, insisting it could not succeed. Earlier this year, facing increasing violence in Afghanistan, Mr. Obama rejected warnings of a "quagmire" and ordered more troops to that country. He isn't calling it a "surge" but that's what it is. He is applying in Afghanistan the counterinsurgency strategy Mr. Bush used in Iraq.

As a candidate, Mr. Obama promised to end the Iraq war by withdrawing all troops by March 2009. As president, he set a slower pace of drawdown. He has also said he will leave as many as 50,000 Americans troops there.

These reversals are both praiseworthy and evidence that, when it comes to national security, being briefed on terror threats as president is a lot different than placating MoveOn.org and Code Pink activists as a candidate. The realities of governing trump the realities of campaigning.

Rove's article also includes a discussion about economics and fiscal policies. But the theme that resonates throughout his article echoes what conservatives have been saying for the last two years, which is perfectly encapsulated in this famous quote from Eric Hoffer: "Mister, it is easy to be full of rage. It is not easy to go to work and build something." In other words, the realities of actual policy formation and implementation, combined with the weight of having to live with the consequences of those policies, is much more difficult than simply calling the other guy names.

Victor Davis Hanson puts it this way:

I think we now have come to the end to the five-year left-wing attack theme of Bush "shredding the Constitution."

Except for the introduction of euphemisms and a few new ballyhooed but largely meaningless protocols, there is no longer a Bush-did-it argument. The Patriot Act, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, military tribunals, Predator drone attacks, Iraq, Afghanistan -- and now Guantánamo -- are officially no longer part of the demonic Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld nexus, but apparently collective legitimate anti-terrorism measures designed to thwart killers, and by agreement, after years of observance, of great utility in keeping us safe the last eight years.


I doubt we get any more movies about ongoing renditions, redactions, any more Checkpoint-like novels, any more waterboarding skits and reenactments, any more late-night comedians doing their Bush tapped, intercepted, tortured, renditioned, tribunaled poor suspect X routines ... We are now in the age of a sober and judicious President Obama who circumspectly, if reluctantly and in anguish at the high cost, does what is necessary to keep us safe.

And we won't see a brave young liberal senator, Obama-like, barnstorming the Iowa precincts blasting a presidency for trampling our values with the shame of Guantánamo, wiretaps, intercepts, renditions, military tribunals, Predators, Iraq, etc. That motif just dissolved -- or rather, it never really existed.

It short, all the fury, the vicious slander, the self-righteous outbursts, the impassioned speeches from the floor, the "I accuse" op-eds by the usual moralistic pundits -- all that turned out to be solely about politics, nothing more.

I have always believed that history will ultimately be kind to George W. Bush. Now it seems that we have Barack Obama and the Democrats to thank for it.


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Comments (22)

The Democratic hypocrisy ha... (Below threshold)

The Democratic hypocrisy has become so blatant, they no longer even try to hide it. You can expect even more in the future. But you should call it what it is; "lying through your teeth".

I have always beli... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I have always believed that history will ultimately be kind to George W. Bush. Now it seems that we have Barack Obama and the Democrats to thank for it.

I would say "Now it seems that we have reality to thank for it."

Republicans can criticize the left for criticizing Bush because Obama vindicates Busy when he does the same things. However, Republicans can't criticize Obama for doing what Bush did, but can criticize him for not acknowledging that Bush had it right all along.

That goes a long way in rehabilitating Bush's image and historical legacy, the thought of which reactivates the left's BDS. That's good for Republicans politically for a number of reasons. As we have seen the Democrats have suffered far more political damage in going after Bush and Cheney then they have inflicted. As the Democrats continue to run against Bush they miss what's going on with Republicans who are actually in office and/or who will run for office in 2010 and 2012.

I encourage the left to keep bashing Bush because BDS is a real disease and if you resist it you'll eventually succumb to reality and become a Republican.

I don't care why BO reverse... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

I don't care why BO reverses himself. I'm just happy when he does it. Reverse BO is good for the country.

I never cared what the left... (Below threshold)

I never cared what the left thought of GW or his policies. Like anything in business, you checked the results. We have been safe and Iraq is still growing. The left would sell this country out for political gain. GW would never entertain that idea. ww

I don't care why BO reve... (Below threshold)

I don't care why BO reverses himself. I'm just happy when he does it. Reverse BO is good for the country.

And with a good soap and deodorant, the BO won't even be noticeable...

Seriously, agreed on the reversal. I think BO is finding that his campaign rhetoric is hard as anything to translate into real life. There's all these people and countries that just disagree - and how's he supposed to handle THAT?

But he can't ignore reality, much as he'd like to.

Blaming Bush will never go ... (Below threshold)

Blaming Bush will never go out of style.

There still will be a few d... (Below threshold)

There still will be a few die hards, who believe that Bush/Cheney were the epitome of evil while in office and even worse now. These people live in their basements watching Keith Overbite and reading the Daily Kos and Democratic Underground, while the rest of the world passes them by. If they ever got a look at the real world they would see it in a different perspective (I doubt it, but hope springs eternal). Some these die hards even post here.

Victor Davis Hanson in my h... (Below threshold)

Victor Davis Hanson in my humble opinion is the most articulate and incisive conservative writer in America today. He never disappoints.

Obamas campaign rhetoric ha... (Below threshold)

Obamas campaign rhetoric had no grand design other than to get him elected.

He knew it was BS when he was saying it.

Ref #9. You are correct, al... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

Ref #9. You are correct, all politicians say what they have to so they can be elected/reelected. Obama is no different than McCain was. Both of them spouted manure, Obama was just better at that job than McCain was.

The bottom line is; one party taxes and spends, the other party borrows and spends. Guess what, in the end we all end up paying for it. Doesn't matter if it is a unjust war, and no bidding jobs awarded, or bailing out auto companies. We, the taxpayers end up paying the bill.

I have to laugh about some people claiming people have BDS. Those same people had CDS, and now they have ODS. When will people realize that all taxpayers are getting screwed, no matter who is in office?

The end of "Blaming Bush" c... (Below threshold)

The end of "Blaming Bush" can only mean the beginning of "Blaming Cheney."

#10, Spot on.

"Victor Davis Hanson in ... (Below threshold)

"Victor Davis Hanson in my humble opinion is the most articulate and incisive conservative writer in America today. He never disappoints."

Actually, Hanson is a classical liberal. A dying breed, unfortunately, where intellectual honesty is the order of the day. And were I not a happily married woman I would be batting my eyelashes furiously at him just to be in the proximity of his mind.

I particularly relish his responses to those who comment on his writings in opposition. It's like watching an adult gently straighten out an emotional 5 year old.

I have to laugh ab... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I have to laugh about some people claiming people have BDS. Those same people had CDS, and now they have ODS. When will people realize that all taxpayers are getting screwed, no matter who is in office?

Never in the history of the United States as an administration tried to criminalize policy differences it has with the previous administration, nor has any administration so often blamed and bashed the previous administration. BDS is real and it's victims fabricate excuses to hide their illness. Laughing at the diagnosis is one of the symptoms.

What would you expect from ... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

What would you expect from the least qualified individual ever to hold the office of President of the United States. Raised by left wing hippies, educated, not by merit but by race, in radical leftist thinking, no record of anything he ever accomplished except the destruction of God knows how much crack cocaine by smoking, no written record of lectures or anything he did in school. In fact no record to even prove he was born in America. No legislation authored by him in the Illinois Senate, nothing, yet people voted for this magic negro. They bought a lemon and the only remedy is????

During clinton's administra... (Below threshold)

During clinton's administration he used illegal, domestic wiretaps to further his and his crony's interests. He used the IRS to threaten individuals. He introduced us to rendition. Now that obama is embracing the Bush Doctrine for protecting our country, I am very worried. He will use the techniques to increase his power, not to protect us. If President Bush had used these techniques for his own power, we would have seen a very different second term.

a classical liberal. A d... (Below threshold)

a classical liberal. A dying breed, unfortunately,

I happen to think we're making a comeback. More Republicans are growing weary of the GOP's takeover by neo-cons like David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and his aide, Scooter Libby, Doug Feith, and Bill Kristol. They're learning that periodicals such as National Review, The National Interest and The Weekly Standard really aren't intellectual after all.

Do you wonder if you're a neocon, paleocon, or libertarian? Take this quiz.

If your surprised to find that you're a neocon, quickly pick up something written by Ludwig von Mises or Friedrich Hayek and don't talk to anyone until you're done. There is hope for you, if you turn your brain on.

There is always a scapegoat... (Below threshold)
Christina Viering:

There is always a scapegoat.

When will people realize... (Below threshold)

When will people realize that all taxpayers are getting screwed, no matter who is in office?

Reagan was the last decent president we had. But, even he was for a bigger government than his words belied.

We've been screwed by every president since Calvin Coolidge, who gets my vote for the last conservative president. In addition to being a success in crafting truly conservative economic and foreign policies, Coolidge was the last president to follow the path of the founders in that he didn't attempt to be 'the president of everything', since he insisted that Congress be responsible according to their own constitutional powers, and he limited his own powers in keeping with the Constitution. Coolidge cut taxes in 1924 and 1926, eliminating Wilson's excise taxes. This action alone unleashed private investment to produce a solid and robust economy. He was a true free-market advocate -- not a supply-sider. He insisted that his tax cuts be accompanied by spending cuts (what a concept). He cut the immigration quota to 150,000 annually. He restored confidence in the integrity of the presidential office by appointing two special counsels -- one Democrat and one Republican -- to investigate and prosecute scandals held over from the Harding administration. A footnote in history shows that Harding had no connection to the scandals.

Take a lok at the political landscape of today. Who are the true conservatives of either major parties? Alas, there is not one.

Only on Wizbang would you f... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Only on Wizbang would you find, in 2009, a spirited defense of Calvin Freaking Coolidge's presidency.

Bruce Henry, If you'... (Below threshold)

Bruce Henry,
If you're soooooo unhappy about what is
being posted on Wizbang, maybe you'd like
a holiday from reading/commenting here.

Actually, Bruce, I would've... (Below threshold)

Actually, Bruce, I would've thought that a liberal as yourself would appreciate a passioned plea for a return to classical liberal principles. For instance, how about the principle of non-interventionism in supporting each country's right to self-determination? I believe you argued against Bush for his imperialistic foreign policy. Are you now prepared to defend Obama for the same? Why are we still in Iraq? Why are we sending more troops to Afghanistan? Why won't the Democrats fund the closing of Guantánamo? Why is it not a problem for you that Obama is continuing the entire Bush doctrine?

Open your eyes, Bruce. You voted for Bush.

Clay, I wish I had stopped ... (Below threshold)

Clay, I wish I had stopped in sooner to see your response. I could have clarified my point a little better in a time frame that you'd likely not miss it.

I didn't say I agreed with Hanson on everything or even anything. In fact, I DO agree with him in some ways and on some things. My point was that insofar as we are apt to disagree on some issues, Hanson is at least the type I'd be willing to forge reasonable compromises with because he is a man of honor, conscience and reason.

That was the essence of the point I was woefully remiss in illustrating.






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