Columns / Discourse / September 23, 2010

Observing America: Obama and Bush

“Obama is acting disturbingly like Bush,” said liberal journalist Keith Olbermann. The American political arena, starting from the early years of the Bush administration to the 2008 presidential election and finally to our current events, shows common themes. Fiscal irresponsibility, political confusion and a Wilsonian foreign policy are among the characterizations that can describe both the Bush and Obama administrations. The only difference between Bush and Obama is that one is a Republican and the other is a Democrat. It’s time to set the record straight.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the United States had a $236 billion surplus in the year 2000 as Bush entered the White House. Today, our nation boasts $13,201,687,194,814.84 in debt. President Bush flunked economics. Entering with a surplus and leaving with such exorbitant debt leaves one to question what occurred during those mysterious eight years. Invading Afghanistan, invading Iraq, passing a $1.2 trillion dollar prescription bill, enlarging the Department of Education by passing No Child Left Behind, creating the biggest federal bureaucracy in history (Homeland Security), beginning the era of trillion dollar bailouts and lowering taxes while increasing overall spending killed the American economy. President Bush hijacked both Wall Street and Main Street. As he left office, America was at a 7.2 percent unemployment rate. No wonder America is going through a recession and no wonder Americans overwhelmingly voted for President Obama in the 2008 election.

President Obama won in a landslide. People were angry at President Bush. Granted, Obama inherited many of today’s problems and it seems fair enough to blame today’s problems on Bush’s shoulders. However, one might believe that the problems that got Obama elected would get fixed through learning from the failures of his predecessor. Wrong. President Bush left a ten trillion dollar debt, while Obama, in only his second year, has increased spending by 30 percent, totaling the federal debt to an unprecedented $13 trillion dollar debt. Such whopping debt rate makes people not only angry with the federal government but also angry towards their once beloved president. Today, according to Real Clear Politics, 46.7 percent of Americans view the president favorably, while 47.6 percent disagree with Obama’s policy handlings. America has finally woken up because something is very strange in our government today. Obama promised “Change We Can Believe In,” yet walking the walk has proved more challenging. Today’s slogan should be “Status Quo We Can Believe In” because President Obama has continued Bush policies on several fronts. First is fiscal irresponsibility, an issue where Bush and Obama would become best friends because both of them spent America into oblivion (although Obama is spending at a faster rate by introducing America to a bailout mindset). Wilsonian foreign policy follows with President Bush having started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while President Obama kept Bush’s Secretary of Defense, tripled the size of the military in Afghanistan and continues to try to build a stable Iraq. When President Bush passed No Child Left Behind, Homeland Security and the Federal Prescription Bill, we saw the size of the government grow. Likewise, his successor Obama passed the trillion dollar Healthcare bill, increased the size of the IRS, forced the government to own 70 percent of agencies like AIG, and passed new programs like Cap and Tax, where carbon footprints are taxed by the EPA.

The people’s judgment, like our governments, is similarly twisted. “Enthusiasm for a cause sometimes warps judgment” former President Taft once said. America today is experiencing political confusion. Americans voted in 2000 for Bush to make America more conservative by denying America the role “policing the world” and yet they got the short end of the stick by invading two countries while calling several countries the “Axis of Evil.” The same thing occurred in 2008, where people elected a president that promised his people change, once again to get shafted when Obama decided to continue on the status quo. America is confused. The problems that kicked the Republicans out of power in the 2006 and 2008 midterm elections and the 2008 Presidential Election were the wars overseas, government over-spending, immigration running out of control, political partisanship, a tanking economy and healthcare crises. None of these issues have yet been solved. Both Bush and Obama have failed to solve these crises and the American people are hurting. Yes, confusion is in the air but more and more everyday they are getting more certain about one thing: government is not working for us, but against us.

So here I am, writing about how Bush and Obama are not much different. The only difference they have is that one represents a donkey and the other an elephant. There is still a rising unemployment rate, deficit, debt, dead bodies of America’s finest coming from overseas and yet both Democrats and Republicans make us believe they are different. Give me a break. How about some change? I believe America wants it.

Alex Uzarowicz
Alex Uzarowicz has been a weekly conservative political columnist for The Knox Student for three years. He also writes for The College Conservative. Alex will graduate in June 2013 with a degree in political science, after which he will head abroad to begin his Peace Corps service.

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