ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Obama distorts opponents like Bush (Well, not really)

Washington Post has an interesting article "attacking" Obama for employing an all or nothing tactic against his opponents. They even compare him to Bush, which is where they lose any credibility with me:

Obama Paints America's Choice as His Plan or Nothing

By Michael D. Shear and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 11, 2009; A06

FORT MYERS, Fla., Feb. 10 -- President Obama likes to portray the battle over the economic stimulus package that passed the Senate on Tuesday as a stark choice between his approach and that of those who would "do nothing."

"Nothing is not an option. You didn't send me to Washington to do nothing," Obama told a gathering of 1,500 here on Tuesday, bringing the crowd to its feet as he campaigned for passage of the more than $800 billion package.

The president used the same language Monday in his first prime-time news conference, suggesting that lawmakers who opposed his prescription want the government to ignore the deepening economic crisis.

"There seems to be a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing," he said.

But in truth, few of those involved in the stimulus debate are suggesting that the government should not take action to aid the cratering economy.

Many of the president's fiercest congressional critics support a stimulus package of similar size but think it should be built around a much higher proportion of tax cuts than new spending. Others have called for a plan that is half the size of the one headed for a House-Senate conference -- still massive by historical standards.

Even those who think that no new government spending is necessary do not advocate a stand-still approach. A newspaper ad by the Cato Institute, signed by 250 economists, argued for removing "impediments to work, saving, investment and production" and said that "lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth."

"I don't know of a single Republican in the House or Senate who thinks Congress should do nothing in the wake of this recession," Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said Tuesday. "We want to do something that will work."

But if Republicans express frustration about Obama's rhetorical device, they need only look back to the man he succeeded for precedent. George W. Bush was proficient at setting up straw men when arguing for his policies, only to tear down the positions of those phantom opponents as irresponsible, unworkable or downright shameful in comparison with his own.

During debates with Democrats about the Iraq war, Bush often cast his rivals as believing that "the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day." He sometimes derided critics of his health-care policies as people "who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care." Talking about the fight against terrorism, Bush often warned of those "who say we are not at war."
[...]

Now, what's the stark difference between Obama's recent use of characterizing his opponents positions on the stimulus vs. the exculpatory Bush examples provided by the Post?

Bush's characterizations weren't lies.

The War Is Lost was a common refrain of Democratic Party, especially by its leaders.

The Democratic Party also repeatedly pointed to the costs and called for an end (timetable for exit) regardless of the situation on the ground.

And who can honestly assert that the Democrats don't think that the federal government should have a clear responsibility for managing the health care system?

And finally, the term "so-called War On Terror" is not something that was coined by the right side of the aisle. When combined with the policies sought by the Democrats to undermine the War On Terror and extend protections typically provided to US criminals to foreign illegal combatants (aka those at war with us), I would say that this isn't a mis-characterization by Bush either.

Just saying...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (1)
commoncents said...

Great post!

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