The Obama website portrait of George W. Bush, who is accused of “broken promises”
Unable to let go of its campaign mantra blaming the nation’s ills on the “failed policies” of George W. Bush, the White House of President Barack Obama immediately posted on its website charges that Bush broke promises and allowed “catastrophic failures” responding to the needs of Americans.
The WhiteHouse.gov website listing for Obama’s “agenda” cites the ongoing reconstruction in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
“President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur,” the agenda states.
“President Obama swiftly responded to Hurricane Katrina. Citing the Bush Administration’s ‘unconscionable ineptitude’ in responding to Hurricane Katrina, then-Senator Obama introduced legislation requiring disaster planners to take into account the specific needs of low-income hurricane victims. Obama visited thousands of Hurricane survivors in the Houston Convention Center and later took three more trips to the region. He worked with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to introduce legislation to address the immediate income, employment, business, and housing needs of Gulf Coast communities.”
The Obama campaign repeatedly criticized the “failed policies” of Bush. A Google search reveals millions of references to the words when linked to Bush.
But among those noting the focus on the “failed Bush policies” during the Obama campaign was a blogger who concluded any “failures” perhaps should generate shared blame.
“The Obama campaign keeps saying that voting for McCain will only be voting for four more years of ‘failed Bush policies.’ While President Bush’s approval rating is low, there is a branch of government with an even lower rating. That branch is the one that Obama is currently a part of, the Legislative branch. Congressional approval ratings are in the single digits, setting a historic record for the lowest approval rating for any person or branch of the federal government since the ratings were first tracked,” the blogger wrote as the election wound down.
“This is the branch that Obama is claiming his record for reform comes from, which, from the approval rating, it appears not much is actually getting reformed,” he wrote.
“So when Obama gets to the White House, what are his big plans? Apparently from what Joe Bide[n] says out on the campaign trail, they will pick up the same failed strategy of working to ‘get’ George W. Bush rather than devoting their time to enact all that ‘change’ they keep talking about,” the blogger said.
White House website attack on President Bush
At the PajamasMedia.com blog, the issue also was raised by blogger Ronald Radosh, an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
“There is a strange symmetry between the Bush hatred that emanated from the Left and what the writer John Avlon calls ‘irrational Obama exuberance.’ Barack Obama has not spent one day as president, yet his admirers speak and write as if he has not and will not do anything wrong,” the blogger said at the time.
“If you consider Obama the closest man can get to God, you are probably among those who think that George W. Bush is the closest man can get to being the devil,” he said.
Radosh wrote that while Bush’s achievements “will only be told by future historians,” judgment already has been issued by “today’s academy.”
“A year or so ago, the eminent historian Sean Wilentz wrote a cover story for Rolling Stone in which he called Bush ‘the worst president in all American history.’ Most of his colleagues readily agreed with his call,” he continued. But, he said, “Bush and his defenders have good reason to be angry at Wilentz’s premature verdict.”
Radosh cited Bush’s work to battle AIDS throughout Africa, his role in keeping America free of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the war in Iraq.
“To the Left and the antiwar activists, the very entry into the war and the toppling of Saddam Hussein was unnecessary, wrong and immoral. Evidently, leaving one of the greatest contemporary tyrants and butchers of his own people in office was not a problem. And although intelligence turned out to be deeply flawed, the spurious charge that ‘Bush lied us into war’ has no mettle. Virtually every major Democrat saw the same intelligence as the Bush administration. …”
On the public forums section of website, several answered the question that was posed by Radosh in his commentary, “Will Bush-bashing end?”
“Obama is the only one who could stop it and he won’t for this one reason: He needs a scapegoat for any policy initiative of his that fails. This way he can blame it on Bush,” wrote one.
“Bush-bashing will only fall from acceptable behavior when history comes by to vindicate him,” said another.
“No, it will not stop. Bush will be the convenient scapegoat for every Obama mistake,” wrote a third.
The White House site, on a page with Bush’s biography, does credit him for working with Congress “to create an ownership society and build a future of security, prosperity, and opportunity for all Americans.”
“Because President Bush believed the strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens, he supported programs that encourage individuals to help their neighbors in need,” the biography states.
MSNBC hosts called the booing “bad form” in their coverage.