November 10, 2008

Jonathan Cohn says Barack Obama ought to model himself after George W. Bush.

How's that?
One of Bush’s most remarkable qualities--and one, I admit, that I frequently admired--was his stubborn focus on goals and willingness to push political boundaries aggressively....

Like Bush, Obama is pursuing an ambitious agenda....

When asked repeatedly in the final weeks which of his legislative goals he planned to discard, because of the financial crisis, he refused to play along, insisting his agenda remained the same. Just today, incoming Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said something similar on ABC's "This Week." After making the case for energy independence and health care reform, even in the midst of an economic calamity, Emanuel said "This opportunity, this crisis, provides--as the president-elect has said repatedly--the opportunity to do things Americans have pushed off for years." President Bush couldn't have said it better.
So, this will be the excuse we will hear time and time again. For every aggressive, power-grabbing excess: Bush did it!

Is there anything that is not Bush's fault?

31 comments:

Simon said...

I suppose that one of the silver linings of an Obama administration is that it might help reconcile the left to the unitary executive and dampen the right's enthusiasm for the robust executive. Bush has very aggressively pushed both, and while some retrenchment is in order on the latter, Obama inherits an institution that has largely recovered from its post-Watergate low.

ricpic said...

They continue to murder the language, our elites: pushed off, shouldn't it be put off?

Ann Althouse said...

"Pushed off" is more aggressive. Prepare yourself for more pushing.

AllenS said...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" -- Charles Dickens

"This opportunity, this crisis" -- Rahm Emanuel

LarsPorsena said...

"They continue to murder the language, our elites: pushed off, shouldn't it be put off?"

Nice catch.

michael farris said...

"Is there anything that is not Bush's fault?"

Well the fact that he was in office for eight (instead) of four years is the fault of the people that voted for him. He wasn't astute enough to realize how out of his depth he was, the voters really should have known better.

Mark O said...

One thing that is not Bush's fault: that second terrorist attack.

Bissage said...

Like Bush, Obama is pursuing an ambitious agenda....

That’s funny.

I once pursued an ambitious agenda in my pajamas.

How it got in my pajamas I’ll never know.

Meade said...

"One thing that is not Bush's fault: that second terrorist attack."

The Weathermen?

tjl said...

"Prepare yourself for more pushing"

We should hope that O does exactly that. Everybody benefits if O promptly reveals the full scope of his agenda. The left gets to swoon as its wish list is realized; the right gets energized by real transgressions instead of hypothetical ones; and the center has to face the actual politician behind the cultic image.

Expat(ish) said...

#MarkO - good point. I remember all the Clintonites hanging the attack onto Bush. Wonder if the O will suffer through the same bi-partisan (ha!) rewriting of recent history to protect the oversight that wasn't.

-XC

Doyle said...

It's so weird that you just never really noticed or cared about Bush's abuse of power, and when people refer to it you think it's just a manifestation of BDS instead of, ya know, something that happened.

lgm said...

I disagree. The seeds of failure were planted in the very beginning of the Bush administration -- incompetents. Impatience with hte process, cronyism, putting Republican interests before national interests, and outright sabotage by Cheney, all these led to a perfect storm of bad appointments.

Henry said...

It strikes me that Cohn's statement allows almost any one of Bush's faults to be turned into an Obama virtue. It's an excercise in Mad Libs:

One of Bush’s most remarkable qualities--and one, I admit, that I frequently admired--was his ______________(1). It took a president of uncommon ______________(2) to push such a ______________(3) agenda; America, after all, is not a _____________(3) country by nature.... And while I’d hate to see Obama systematically ______________(4) I wouldn’t mind if, like Bush, Obama showed the same sort of _____________(5).

My entries:

(1) napping skills
(2) narcolepsy
(3) dreamy
(4) sleepwalk through his term
(5) phlegm

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's so weird that you just never really noticed or cared about Bush's abuse of power, and when people refer to it you think it's just a manifestation of BDS instead of, ya know, something that happened.

I guess it's the 'something that happened' part that have people scratching their heads.

Please let me know which of my rights Obama will be reinstating when he's coronated.

Doyle said...

Please let me know which of my rights Obama will be reinstating when he's coronated.

Awww. Somebody's a little cranky!

If you didn't care enough about your rights to pay attention while the boy king was in office, it's probably not worth cluing you in now.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If you didn't care enough about your rights to pay attention while the boy king was in office, it's probably not worth cluing you in now

It's probably too late to clue you in either. Hoosier was expressing sarcasm.

Doyle said...

Hoosier was expressing sarcasm.

Really? You mean he's so stoopid that he doesn't even acknowledge the lawlessness of the Bush administration, and actually conflates executive overreach with individual rights issues?

I had no idea! I gave him so much more credit than that :-)

former law student said...

Is there anything that is not Bush's fault?

Bush set the Presidential bar for achievement low enough for a hamster to step over. Hard to imagine that this "Affirmative Action" candidate could do as poorly as the legacy admit did.

Was W. even a jock? Lacrosse player, or crew perhaps? At least Barack plays roundball.

Doyle said...

Was W. even a jock?

Cheerleader.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Awww. Somebody's a little cranky!

It's Monday, Penn State lost so yeah, I'm cranky.

If you didn't care enough about your rights to pay attention while the boy king was in office, it's probably not worth cluing you in now.

Again, what rights did I lose? I haven't had to show my papers when I travelled out of state. I still own all my guns. I even remarked publicly once that Bush was an asshole and never was yanked off the street by Federal agents. Elections went off without a hitch, Congress wasn't disbanded and martial law wasn't imposed.

So again, please advise me which rights will Obama be reinstating?

Doyle said...

So again, please advise me which rights will Obama be reinstating?

Again, I was talking about Bush's "power-grabbing excess" as Ann put it, which includes but is by no means limited to individual rights issues, and I'm not going to go through the particulars as if you're ignorant of them instead of just indifferent to them.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ok Doyle. I guess I am just indifferent to Bush's 'abuse of power' as I didn't see anything so overreaching as opposed to previous administrations.

Probably because I have the benefit of historical perspective which comes from actually studying history rather than thinking it all began in 2000.

Doyle said...

That must be it!

dick said...

Sounds to me from the sidelines as if Doyle is stuck for coming up with any. I guess there were none that impacted the regular citizen who was not actively advancing the goals of the terrorists.

To Doyle, show 'em if you got 'em. If you don't want to show the things you claim, then it is all a bluff.

Hoosier Daddy said...

To Doyle, show 'em if you got 'em. If you don't want to show the things you claim, then it is all a bluff.

My guess is Doyle is 25 years old, tops whose entire frame of reference in US politics is the Bush Administration.

For excess power grabbing by Presidents see Lincoln, FDR and Nixon. For anyone who took something other than Art History in college, the idea that Bush shredded the Constitution and abused his power is laughable.

Host with the Most said...

Sounds to me from the sidelines as if Doyle is stuck for coming up with any.

Because he can't. That's not Doyle's fault. No one can.

Doyle's fault lies in hanging with the herd mentality: "Are we goona stampede?, Okay, we're gonna stampede!".

Then he likes to come over here and take shots, certain that he's getting the best of everyone else because he's right and their wrong.

Until he's challenged with actual facts. "Facts? Well, uh, you know, uh, what I'm sayin, and uh, if you don't, then your just a doodyhead!"

Sometimes you can't raise intelligence levels on those with a low IQ.

Donn said...

Yeah, isn't it funny how Doyle keeps ducking the question?

My guess is he is searching Kos, HuffPo, and MyDD for "reliable" info.

blake said...

I imagine we will HEAR about this, rather than HERE about it, Ms. Althouse.

Big Mike said...

Simple answer to Ann's question at the end of her post: No.

hdhouse said...

Amazing. I thought Bush's underlying process was more of the "I am gonna" rather than "Let's think this through". Facts never got in his way. If that is kewl shoes deal, I've got a lease on a bridge and can sell it to ya' for a song.