Change We Can Believe In?

Is Obama really a change from the past?  Even the Bush years?  Well, yes and no.

There are certainly things that we are seeing in this administration that we would have never seen when Bush was in office.  Simply having healthcare on the agenda, letting the EPA allow California go above and beyond the national air quality standards, having targets for reducing greenhouse gases in Copenhagen.  These are just some of the ways that the Obama administration is different from Bush’s.  But believe it or not, there are some striking similarities.  Unfortunately, they are not small issues either.

For instance, here is a long article by David DeGraw that lays out a lot of facts about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and explains how Obama is worse than Bush.  Some of the comments (beneath the article) were critical of DeGraw’s numbers and sources, so do your own fact-checking, but I think that a strong case could be made that Obama is no better (or perhaps worse) than Bush when it comes to war.

Of course, if you believe Fareed Zakaria, then Obama is doing exactly what needs to be done.  And Zakaria is not exactly a neo-con.

Also from Newsweek is a piece by Howard Fineman that argues that Obama sounded like Bush when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. I don’t know if I would go that far.  Obama is a great speaker and he has excellent speech writers.  So it is hard to argue that Obama sounds like Bush.  But at the same time, Obama seems to say all the right things while he does what he feels needs to be done.  And his words don’t always match his actions.  Unfortunately, it seems that Obama is great at convincing people that he is doing the right thing as he continues down the wrong path.  (An excellent example would be Afghanistan.)

The list of things that Bush and Obama have in common is unfortunately too long.  I could talk about his approval of rendition and indefinite detention.  Or his take on executive privilege and state secrets.  Or stance on “don’t ask, don’t tell” and gay marriage.  Things that were second nature to the Bush Administration.  The funny thing is that when I look at issue after issue, the real difference I see is that while the Bush Administration would do things and not hide it very well (if at all), the Obama Administration is good at talking the talk without walking the walk.

So while it is better to have a Democrat in the White House, it would be much better if we had someone that was as liberal as the Right would have us believe him to be.


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