Claiming a mandate he never had, the newly reelected president foisted a bold agenda upon Congress and the public, then watched it collapse within months—a victim of scandal, cynical opponents, and his own hubris. One despairing adviser declared, “This is the end of the presidency.”
That was George W. Bush in 2005. Or was it Barack Obama this past year? Reading Peter Baker’s extraordinary account of the Bush-Cheney era, Days of Fire, I found a striking number of parallels between Bush’s fifth year in office and the atrocious first 12 months of President Obama’s second term.
My takeaway: Obama needs to shatter the cycle of dysfunction (his and history’s) or risk leaving office like Bush, unpopular and relatively unaccomplished.
Fournier then goes on to list nine supposed similarities between Obama and George W. Bush.
Of course, there are a few major differences between the two men. For a start, Bush helped shepherd the US economy after 9/11 to new highs, while Obama helped shepherd the US economy after the 2008 meltdown to new lows. Bush took a hard line and made hard choices regarding the war on terror, while Obama sent in the drones and turned his back on the men in Benghazi. Bush supported our allies in Eastern Europe and our ally Israel, while Obama gave them the cold shoulder. Bush got bipartisan support for most of his key initiatives throughout his eight years in office, while Obama no longer even receives much support from within his own party. Finally, during the entire eight years of his presidency, a bitter, hateful national press told every lie imaginable and twisted every fact they could in an effort to tarnish Bush’s reputation, turn the American people against him, and run him from office. On the other hand, a fawning, worshipful press has spent the last five years telling every lie imaginable and twisted every fact they could in an effort to elevate Obama to the status of some sort of modern messiah, yet he has still been such a miserable failure that his approval ratings are now worse than Bush’s at this point in his term. Maybe some people in the press owe Bush, and the American people, an apology for not doing their jobs?