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Is Obama worse than Bush?


Partly one's answer depends on the baseline: If hope and change was the expectation, well, it's hard to see how that was anything but a con. To which the answer from Obama's remaining supporters is, in essence, "Presidenting is hard work." I'm not sure that answer is good enough.

There's also the view that Obama is, in essence, the legitimate heir than of, in that he's rationalizing and consolidating everything Bush did. From a moral perspective, judging them as individuals, that makes them the same; from a systemic perspective, that would make Obama a good deal worse. "I come not to abolish but to fulfill...."

And more in the sneaking suspicion category would be the view that Bush represented the end of an era, and Obama represents the beginning of an era: A "pivot," to use one of Washington's favorite words, from something old to something new. That would, perhaps, make Bush and Obama incommensurate, or at least complicate the value judgment. Was Napoleon I worse than Napoleon III? Was Czar Alexander worse than Mao Tse-Tung? They functioned under different systems; how can one say?


No votes yet


lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

Is it worse to lie your way into endless wars, killing hundreds of thousands/millions of people or is it worse the shred the constitution of the premier free-world democracy, eliminating habeus corpus protections in place since the Magna Carta of 1215 and asserting your tyrannical right to execute citizens without evidence?

The first has already resulted in mass devastation but the second has the potential to completely unravel our current flavor of civilization, which appears to be well underway already with drone strikes, the new lawless and legally shielded oligarchy, suppression of dissent and whistleblowing, and increasing poverty and unemployment with no end in sight.

I guess it would come down to whether you prefer outright destruction or pervasive rot from within.

jest's picture
Submitted by jest on

Though I'd like to avoid making this a semantic argument.

Bush never could have turned the so-called liberal base into center-right Republicans. That in itself is a feat I never could have imagined, and I was always somewhat skeptical about Obama.

The Dem party always had problems, but Obama institutionalized them and made the party beyond repair. It's as if Bush is our worst enemy, but Obama is our worst traitor. I can imagine a bigger enemy than Bush, but I cannot imagine a bigger traitor than Obama.

tom allen's picture
Submitted by tom allen on

Was Hoover worse than Coolidge? No, he was mildly better. But Hoover was definitely insufficient to the times.

Obama came in with a mandate for radical change. I should know -- I was an Obot back then. Instead we got a bipartisanship fetish. He's much like Hoover, nothing like FDR. And we shall reap the consequences.

A stick in the eye is better than a knife in the back. But there are other options.

nomad2's picture
Submitted by nomad2 on

"Bush never could have turned the so-called liberal base into center-right Republicans."
That was Obama's signature accomplishment. The subversion of liberals, enabling the
agenda of the right wing corporatist imperialists to advance unimpeded. Who is worse, the initiator of a criminal enterprise or the legitmator of it and the one who establishes it as the new normal? Well, for the treachery and going in further than Bush with atrocities (especially the drones), although it's a close call, I have to go with Obama. And that is astounding, because Bush was so abysmal I never thought there would ever be a worse president. Yet that's what we have with Obama. I can't imagine there being a bigger traitor than Obama either. That doesn't mean there won't be one, however. The electorate has a short memory. And though you would think they would never again fall for such a con; they probably would. And there will certainly be no shortage of ambitious charming political psychopaths willing to lie to become president.

reslez's picture
Submitted by reslez on

I lean with those who believe Obama -- who legitimized and expanded the lawless, soulless policies of Bush -- is worse than Bush the mere innovator.

Bush created strong and vocal opposition to his policies. Obama showed us the futility of change within the system.

Bush made us yearn for for an election. We believed that after Bush we might have someone better. Obama shows us how hollow election choices really are. It's like that Aliens vs Predator movie: Whoever wins in 2012, we lose.

Obama taught an entire generation of the young that change can't be accomplished with politics, that politicians can never be trusted, and that Democrats are worse (or is that better?) liars than Republicans. And Obama taught those of us paying attention that the "left" in this country is farther right than Nixon. Maybe Obama is useful because he woke more of us up. It's obvious we can no longer depend on anyone or anything within the system.

Yes. It will be better for everyone if Obama loses. (He even seems like the sort of guy who wants to have been President. Clinton at least seemed to love the actual presidenting stuff... Obama not so much.) The establishment will draw the wrong conclusion from this, but that's because the only conclusion they ever draw is "more to the right". I will vote my conscience. If you do not, you are to blame.