2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Shades of George W. Bush in Jim Lehrer’s NewsMaker Interview of Barack Obama

President Obama told Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina today that U.S. combat operations will end in Iraq by August 31, 2010.

But as the new commander in chief promised to wind down the War in Iraq, he had already ordered 8,000 of the 40,000 Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune to Afghanistan, and a brigade from the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg in central North Carolina could soon follow.

Jim Lehrer, an ex-Marine, joined President Obama at Camp Lejeune and interviewed him for the PBS NewsHour this evening.

As usual, Obama self-righteously reiterated his position that he had opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning without mentioning that he had not been a U.S. senator at the time the Iraq War Resolution was passed and was therefore ineligible to vote on it.

Aside from that, our new commander in chief’s answers to several of Lehrer’s questions prompted a strong sense of déjà vu reminiscent of George W. Bush:

JIM LEHRER: And you also said in your speech that it's - one of the lessons of Iraq is that there are clearly defined goals. What are the goals for Afghanistan right now?

BARACK OBAMA: Well, I don't think that they're clear enough, that's part of the problem. We've seen a sense of drift in the mission in Afghanistan, and that's why I've ordered a head-to-toe, soup-to-nuts review of our approach in Afghanistan.

In other words, Obama has ordered 17,000 troops to Afghanistan prior to reviewing U.S. strategy there and setting any goals.

JIM LEHRER: You're not the least bit uneasy over the fact as John McCain and John Boehner, the Republican leader of the House, have praised your plan {for exiting Iraq} while the Democrats are criticizing it?

BARACK OBAMA: You know, I don't - I don't make these decisions based on polls or popularity. I make the decisions based on what I think is best. This is consistent with what I said during the campaign. The fact - if anything I think people should be interested in the fact that there's been a movement in the direction of what I thought was going to be the right plan in the first place.

Think about it: how often have we heard Dubya say he didn’t make his decisions based on polls or popularity.

When Lehrer asked Obama about how it felt to send young men and women in the military into harm’s way, we got another statement nearly identical to Bush’s response to the same question.

BARACK OBAMA: You know, it will keep you up at night. I feel an enormous obligation to get it right, which is why I say the last thing I'm thinking about is either applause or cat calls from the public or, you know, the cable stations as I'm making these decisions. I feel a profound obligation to these troops and their families to make sure that the decisions I'm making are the best possible decisions given the best possible information that I have, having canvassed the widest range of viewpoints in order to keep the American people safe.

But perhaps the most chilling trigger of deja vu occurred during the Analysis of Shields and Brooks following Lehrer’s interview with Obama. It came when Brooks expressed concern at Obama’s apparently unflappable self confidence in facing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a global financial crisis, and several other major problems, any one of which would be a heavy burden for a newly elected president with little or no relevant experience.

How many times did we shake our heads in dismay at George Bush’s swagger in facing the challenges of the presidency? Our former president's ego was no doubt as bolstered by his advisors and handlers as our current president's ego is by his.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed.


  1. I continue to have difficulty with determining what moves Obama. I cannot get any kind of notion for his passions/compassion. When I listen to him (whenever that is possible, because I find that to be a chore also) I get the sense that he is just words and those words have been learned not from experience or heart sources, but expediency. I try to give him an open mind, but cannot shake the impression that there is no there there. The man is an empty suit except for notions about what he SHOULD think and feel. I believe he does love his daughters though, in spite of using them for political gain. That is about all I can muster for the guy...

  2. Hi Becky,

    You've got something there. I've always thought Obama was robotic in his speeches and in his interactions with others. I've never figured out why the media keeps insisting that he's a great orator or that his "smooth, laid back style" is something to be admired.

    Maybe it's because the media is accustomed to the printed word and doesn't have a clue about effective communication skills.
    Although I would say that Obama could be a good motivational speaker or maybe even a good evangelical preacher?