Saturday, May 16, 2009

Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and the Likability Factor

In yesterday’s post at Katalusis, I mentioned how Barack Obama is steadily morphing into George W. Bush. Neither Bush, nor Obama was qualified for the presidency and both men attempted to compensate for their deficiencies by picking high profile advisors. Lacking the experience and gravitas necessary to overrule the likes of Rove, Rumsfeld, and Cheney, the likable Bush made one serious mistake after another during his eight-year tenure.

As the Obama spin machine has it, their even more likable guy’s supreme confidence enabled him to appoint strong advisors when it was apparent he was trying to shore up his areas of weakness. Anyone who watched the debates in the Democratic primary knew that Hillary Clinton ran circles around Obama on foreign policy issues, but it’s not Secretary of State Clinton who is now leading our new president astray.

His advisors on the economic front aren't helping much in this worldwide financial crisis. But in foreign policy, it looks like the generals are intimidating Obama on security matters such as prolonging the Iraq War and releasing the torture photos. And don’t expect Obama to stand tall in dealing with the tough be-medalled guys anytime soon.

Tom Ricks at writes:

I am told that General Odierno's objections to the timing of the release of a new round of photos of detainees being abused in Iraq were decisive to President Obama's decision Wednesday to reverse himself and decide against the release of those photos.

I am surprised by Obama's reversal. I wasn't so taken aback in February when he went along with his generals and abandoned his campaign promise to withdraw a brigade a month from Iraq this year, and instead endorsed a plan that kept troop levels there pretty steady this year. But to get rolled twice -- well, he must think he is running up some pretty big chits with them. I know he is trying to do the right thing but at some point he is going to have to say, My way or the highway.

Has anyone else noticed that Obama has begun to emulate Dubya’s – “In Texas we call that walking” – swagger?

No comments:

Post a Comment