Tag Archives: Bush III

Smart stuff. Too late.

Is there any quote that sums up the worst of both the Bush II (George W.) and Bush III (Barack H.) campaigns than “Smart stuff. Too late“? Both Bush and Obama, lacking the deep knowledge typical of experts, have to fly by the seat of their pants, trusting their instincts and their own self-assuredness. This eventually gets them to the right answer (backing the surge, stopping the friendly fire to The New Yorker), but wastes their most valuable asset: time.

The more Obama blunders around, the less worried I am about him on the issues of globalization. Bush II was great for America. Except for his support of cultural leftism, Bush III (Obama) won’t be bad, either.

Obviously Obama will surrender Afghanistan to the Taliban, but we never invested much in that country in the first place, so small change, I guess.

Victor Davis Hanson on Obama as Bush III

The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard and now Victor Davis Hanson have joined me in noting that Obama recalls no one so much as George W. Bush: An Obama Administration would probably be Bush’s third term:

RealClearPolitics – Articles – Barack W. Bush?
Almost everyone is talking about Barack Obama’s flip-flops, as the Senate’s most liberal member steadily moves to the political center and disowns firebrands like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger.

But less noticed is that Obama is not just deflating John McCain’s efforts to hold him to his long liberal record, but also embracing much of the present agenda of an unpopular President Bush on a wide variety of fronts.

To be fair, there is some difference in how I use the term “Bush III” and how some others use it. I recognize Obama as politically quick, politically inexperienced, and below the baseline competence of the Bush administration. As I once put it, both have huge political advantages in their politically correct births: Bush II is a legacy and Bush III (Barack) is an affirmative action hire. This helps them both avoid a lot of vetting.

However, I also support the Bush Administration. Having a below-average President has its advantages, such as increasing the power of the establishment. Obama is less likely to change things on important matters, such as China, because he does not know enough about the political process to do much. That is a good thing.

Of course, Obama is unlikely to have some traits that also endeared me to Bush. Bush opposes abortion and pre-birth infanticide: Obama does not (I think — he’s flip-flopped on that issue too). And Bush has some traits that at first got him into trouble and them helped him. His stubbornness helped make the “post-war” in Iraq as violent as it is: his stubbornness led to the Surge, which reversed his mistakes.

So is Obama a rock-star or not? And will it help the tdaxp plan?

Weekly Standard can’t seem to decide:

Dean Barnett says “yes,” so Obama (Bush III) will crash like Bush I and Bush II.

Gary Andreas says “no,” so Obama’s likely to loose.

Regardless, at a time that the price of gas is the voters’ top concern, Obama seems to have adopted the tdaxp plan. Supporting high gas prices while providing energy rebate checks is pretty close to what I advocated. I hope America goes for it.

Obama as Bush III: If only he goverened as he fought…

President George Walker Bush is famous for being an astonishingly effective politician (until the post-presidency), but not much of a technocrat. Why, some asked, can’t he govern as he fights? From Veterans Affairs, to the Iraq War, to Education, a clever and effective politicla campaign is often met with a slow-moving, error-prone policy based on stubborness, and waiting for things eventually to be successful.

In truth, this combination shouldn’t be surprising. Controlling buzz and running a government as quite different. Obama’s good at the Buzz — he’s even going to accept his party’s nomination in a football stadium! But as far as understanding government, not so much.

Th elatest is Obama’s belief that the Join Chiefs are in fact not primarily budget-warriors for their armed services (as everyone else believes), but rather have operational control over actual wars (which no besides Obama believes):

The Weekly Standard
Before the long weekend began, Barack Obama made a semi-flip-flop regarding the situation in Iraq, even allowing that the surge had achieved some stability and that the next president would be foolish to fritter away those gains. Predictably, this acknowledgment of the obvious triggered howls of outrage on the left. Obama firmly stuck to his new position for almost two full hours before assembling the press once more to reaffirm his long-expressed intention to abandon Iraq. “I am absolutely committed to ending the war,” the longtime community organizer declared. “I will call my Joint Chiefs of Staff in and give them a new assignment and that is to end the war.”

While everyone has focused on the first part of the statement – Obama’s “absolute commitment” to defeat – I want to devote a little attention to the second part, the mechanism whereby Obama will make that defeat a reality. In Obama’s telling, he will call in his Joint Chiefs of Staff and re-jigger their priorities.

I know Obama is a student of military matters and intellectually voracious, so it is thus rather stunning that he would betray such ignorance regarding the way the military actually functions. In truth, the Joint Chiefs are not part of the chain of command. Indeed, they are specifically by statute not part of the chain of command but instead serve solely in an advisory capacity to the president.

If I was as stupid as some of the anti-Bush II commentators I read, I would ask “Why does Obama hate the troops so much?” But of course, that line of attack is juvenile, worthless, and typical of blogs such as Daily Kos, Wonkette, and other political pornography.

Rather, the question is: is another Bush III administration worth the cost in lives that will be paid because of that incompetence.

My response: probably. Though I’m open to suggestions.

China and the Presidential Election

I just mentioned to Bill that “if I was lukewarm on comprehensive immigration reform, against free trade, against completing the COIN cycle in Iraq, or in favor of pre-birth infanticide, I might support Barack Obama.” This is true, through as I recently commented on Tom’s blog, there’s may be another big reason to support Obama

there is one good reason to vote for Obama: China.

Obama is running for Bush’s third term, in the sense that he is an inexperienced outsider who will have to rely on establishment faces to make his administration work. [1] This means that his defense policy on China will be shaped by the center-left defense establishment, his commercial policy on China will be shaped by the center-left commercial establishment, his diplomatic policy on China will be shaped by the center-left diplomatic establishment, and so on.

In other words, our policy of “separate lanes” will continue.

McCain is smart, experienced, and knowledgeable enough to have a different policy, and implement it.

Novelty can be dangerous, especially if McCain is serious about the “league of Democracy.”

Obama’s said more dangerous things (renegotiating NAFTA, not importing any more Chinese toys, etc), but as outlined above, no one takes his words seriously.

Still, Obama as the less risky candidate for China runs up the common finding that the Chinese Communist Party, like most “Seam” governments, supports the Republicans:

In general, the Republican Party is a minority party, more serious about trade, and more serious about foreign affairs.

In general, the Democratic Party is a majority power, more serious about social justice, and more serious about human rights.

It’s not surprising that from this the leadership of the Old Core admires and trusts Democrats, while the leadership of the Seam admires and trusts Republicans.

So should pro-W Republicans who stand for good Sino-American relations, like me, support Obama (as the Bush III candidate) or McCain (as the Republican candidate)?

WSJ on Obama as Bush’s Third Term

I’ve been saying for a while that Barack Obama is running for Bush’s third term. Now the Wall Street Journal agrees:

Bush’s Third Term – WSJ.com
We’re beginning to understand why Barack Obama keeps protesting so vigorously against the prospect of “George Bush’s third term.” Maybe he’s worried that someone will notice that he’s the candidate who’s running for it.

My thanks to the Weekly Standard, for highlighting this editorial.

North Korea Endorses Bush III (Barack Obama)

The Chosun Shinbo, North Korea’s newspaper in Japan, has endorsed Barack Obama for President.  The best part about this short story is how the realization that Obama stylistically tracks no one so much as George W. Bush is spreading:

DPRK Studies » Blog Archive » North Korea Endorses Barrack Obama
It’s quite understandable that North Korean leadership would prefer Obama over McCain, considering – from statement he has made, data on his website, and information from the CFR – he actually has a grasp of the issues in play over concerning North Korea and will not appease them. This is, ironically, an area where Obama would pretty much continue a Bush policy.

Of course, as Bush II’s policy on North Korea has been unstable, there’s no reason to think Bush III will hold any firmer a line.  More probably, John McCain’s embrace of westernizing countries (Vietnam, etc.) and antagonism to tired dictatorships (Iran, etc.) rightfully spooks Pyongyang.

Bush III’s “Days of Media Mockery”

While I’ve been fascinated by Obama’s backflips on issues such as public finance, warrentless wiretaps, and (most importantly) trade, I’ve stayed away from his stupid new logo. Some issues make fun of themselves:

Obama campaign drops seal on podium – Examiner.com
WASHINGTON (Map, News) – After days of media mockery, Barack Obama has decided to stop using a presidential-looking seal that his campaign designed and affixed to his podium on Friday.

Journalists said the seal, which features an eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch, smacks of arrogance. John McCain’s camp had a field day, calling the seal “laughable, ridiculous, preposterous and revealing – all at the same time.”

The seal was conspicuously missing from Obama’s lectern when he spoke to a group of women in Albuquerque on Monday. Not surprising, given how much grief Obama took from a normally laudatory press corps after unveiling the seal at an appearance in Chicago on Friday.

“What a bizarre and dumb idea,” railed NBC political director Chuck Todd. “It really feeds the arrogance narrative.”

The Bush II metaphor is when George W. began naming his cabinet early the morning after the November 2000 election, when the result was still disputed. I would say more, but Obama’s behavior is ridiculous enough as it is. So instead I’ll conclude on with this link on narratives.

The Audacity of Political Calculation, Part III

And also, free trade.

From CNN Fortune:

“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Props to Eddie of Hidden Unities, who first warned me that I shouldn’t listen to Obama’s words, but rather expect him to do what he needed to do to win.

I get less worried about Barack “Bush III” Obama by the minute!

The Audacity of Political Calculation, Part II

For all those who support a strong executive when it comes to national defense, Obama’s flip-flop in support of Bush’s FISA bill is good news. As “Bush IIII” begins embracing the issues that made us support “Bush II,” many of our fears of an Obama presidency as anything more than a return of the left-of-center Clinton Establishment are being calmed:

The Weekly Standard
Over the weekend, bloggers were buzzing about yet another flip flop from Barack Obama: He now will support the House FISA compromise bill, even though he didn’t back in February.

Obama said he will support the FISA compromise, which Politico’s Ben Smith explains “offers retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies who helped the government listen in on American citizens–which Obama says he’ll fight to remove from the legislation–and expands legal wiretapping powers. Obama praises it for restoring a legal framework and judicial oversight to the process.” He claims that he will “try” to strip telecom immunity from the bill.

The Washington Post’s Paul Kane notes that “Obama sought to walk the fine political line between GOP accusations that he is weak on foreign policy–Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called passing the legislation a ‘vital national security matter’–and alienating his base.” But bloggers on both sides of the aisle just think that Obama is a typical opportunist politician.

If this holds up, it makes FISA (essentially, allowing warrentless wiretaps) the second great betrayal by Obama of his liberal base in recent days, following up on his move to break the campaign finance system. What both FISA reform and abandoning his pledge to have a public-financed campaign have in common, of course, is that Obama faced a choice between his power and his vow, and chose his power.

If Obama is elected President, perhaps his “third Bush term” won’t be so bad after all!