Thursday, November 11, 2010

one more thing Bush and Obama have in common

Their policies have been quite similar in type-- in not in extent.

Bush extended Medicare; Obama has health care reform.
Bush went after Iraq and Afghanistan; Obama more or less continues along the same path.
Bush and Obama pursued big spending and deficits.
Bush and Obama both tried stimulus to fix the economy.
Bush and Obama have both been a profound disappointment to those on both ends of the political spectrum.
For former, avid supporters, both have become a bit of an embarrassment.

Yes, I know they're not equivalent-- even roughly so. But the similarities are still surprising.

Here's another similarity: Both were willing to crush their political party for the sake of something that they saw as far more important. In the case of Bush, it was the misguided approach to Iraq and the beat-down experienced by the GOP Congress in 2006. In the case of Obama, it was health care policy and the beat-down just dealt out to the Democratic Congress. Both presidents supported unpopular policies, but these were both seen as more important than an election.

Depending on your view, such stubbornness translates to standing on principle or drowning in stupidity. For the politicians impacted by the deluge, it would not be surprising to find them less willing to stand on principle to avoid the drowning. (See: the recent reports on Mitch McConnell trying to persuade President Bush to reduce troops in Iraq in 2006.)

Of course, it's more complicated than that. Bush and a GOP Congress also irritated people with spending, deficits and the handling of the Flood of New Orleans. Obama and a Democrat Congress have irritated people with even higher spending and deficits, and so on.

But both men were "leaders" in the sense of pushing for what they though was right. In a sense, they can be commended for that-- even though both were wrong.


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