Tags: George W. Bush

Sheila Jackson Lee Claims Dems Never Tried to Impeach Bush, Too Bad She Cosponsored the Effort


On Wednesday, Democratic representative Sheila Jackson Lee spoke out against Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama for executive overreach. She argued that the lawsuit was a “veiled attempt for impeachment” because it “undermines the law that allows a president to do his job.” She then made the following claim:

A historical fact: President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because, as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.

But, as BuzzFeed’s Katherine Miller points out, Democrats, did, in fact, attempt to impeach former president George W. Bush, and Sheila Jackson Lee happened to be a cosponsor of the bill:

You may remember Representative Jackson Lee from other hilarious gaffes, such as 2010’s “today, we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working” and her 1997 claim that Lance Armstrong had walked on Mars.

Tags: Sheila Jackson Lee , George W. Bush

Obama’s Approval Rating Today Matches Bush in September 2006


Reminder: This is not a popular president.


Back in September 2006, heading into a midterm election cycle as President Obama is today, on the same RCP average, President George W. Bush was . . . around 41 percent approval, around 55 percent disapproval.

But hey, you know . . . maybe President Obama will win back Americans’ hearts by going out for burritos.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush

Good News for Jeb: ‘No Republican In South Carolina Today More Popular than George W. Bush’


Jeb Bush might like to hear that his brother is the most popular Republican in South Carolina, the early primary state where George W. Bush won a key victory in his bid to secure the presidential nomination in the 2000 cycle.

An aide to Senator Lindsay Graham, who defeated several challengers in his Tuesday primary, shared this detail from their internal polling. “There’s no Republican in South Carolina today more popular than George W. Bush,” Kevin Bishop told NRO. “He is incredibly popular in South Carolina.”

That’s a far cry from where Bush was at the end of his presidency. “Bush fatigue was real in South Carolina,” Bishop said. ”But now, six years later, after President Obama, every day his star looks brighter.”

That might be good news for Jeb Bush, given the worry that voters would resist the idea of another Bush in the White House. National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar pointed out that Jeb Bush’s “vulnerabilities in a Republican primary would be remarkably similar to those [Eric Cantor] faced,” but George Bush supported immigration-law overhauls disliked by the base (and Lindsay Graham wrote one) so it’s not guaranteed that the issue would be toxic for him in the early-primary state.

It’s also not certain that George Bush’s approval rating would transfer to Jeb Bush in a 2016 primary. Another South Carolina Republican suggested that Jeb Bush’s difficulty wouldn’t be that he is another Bush, but that South Carolina voters think of him as the wrong Bush — less George W., more H.W.

“Around here, George Bush is a real, big-time conservative and Jeb is a moderate,” the campaign consultant, tying Jeb Bush to the Chamber of Commerce, said. “George Bush is the guy that you’d have beer and pretzels with and Jeb Bush is the guy that you’d have wine and cheese with.”

Tags: Jeb Bush , Lindsey Graham , George H.W. Bush , George W. Bush , 2016

How Does Obama’s Approval Rating Compare to Bush’s Today?


The Washington Post asks Americans how they feel about President George W. Bush today, and the results may surprise his critics:

Days before his second term ended in 2009, Bush’s approval rating among all adults was 33 percent positive and 66 percent negative. The new poll found 47 percent saying they approve and 50 percent saying they disapprove. Among registered voters, his approval rating today is equal to President Obama’s, at 47 percent, according to the latest Post-ABC surveys.

Apparently Douglas Adams was off by a bit; the answer isn’t “42,” it’s “47 percent.”

“You know, you may not believe it at this moment, but by 2013 we’ll be equally popular.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Polling , George W. Bush

The Demonization of the Iraq War Ensures No Syria Intervention


A busy Morning Jolt today, looking at Marco Rubio giving the response to the president’s State of the Union Address, some bad reviews for Chuck Hagel, some messaging issues on the president and skeet shooting, and then this point about the increase in cries to intervene in Syria:

No, World, We’re Never Going to Militarily Intervene in Syria.

This column, by Roger Cohen of the New York Times and International Herald Tribune, has garnered a bit of attention in recent days:

The United States does not want to get dragged into another intractable Middle Eastern conflict. Americans are tired of war. My colleagues Michael Gordon and Mark Landler have revealed how Obama blocked an attempt last summer by Hillary Clinton to train and supply weapons to selected Syrian rebel groups.

Nor does Obama want to find himself in the business of helping Islamist extremists inherit a Syrian vacuum. The opposition coalition is divided and lacks credibility. But the net result of these concerns cannot be feckless drift as Syria burns. Senator John McCain was right to say here that, “We should be ashamed of our collective failure to come to the aid of the Syrian people” and to answer a question about how to break the impasse with two words: “American leadership.”

An inflection point has been reached. Inaction spurs the progressive radicalization of Syria, the further disintegration of the state, the intensification of Assad’s mass killings, and the chances of the conflict spilling out of Syria in sectarian mayhem. It squanders an opportunity to weaken Iran. This is not in the West’s interest. The agreement that Assad has to go is broad; a tacit understanding that it is inevitable exists in Moscow. The Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, spluttered in justified incredulity at the notion the opposition would sit down with a regime that has slaughtered its own.

It is time to alter the Syrian balance of power enough to give political compromise a chance and Assad no option but departure. That means an aggressive program to train and arm the Free Syrian Army. It also means McCain’s call to use U.S. cruise missiles to destroy Assad’s aircraft on the runway is daily more persuasive.

Everybody knows we’re not going to intervene in Syria, right?

Part of this is because we have Obama as president, part of this is because Americans consumed with our own domestic issues right now — a consistently floundering economy, immigration — but mostly it’s because of Iraq.

Dear world . . . do you remember how you greeted the invasion of Iraq?

The invasion of Iraq was treated as the greatest crime against humanity in the history of the world, denounced far more frequently and loudly than any act by Saddam Hussein, Bashir Assad, the Iranian regime, or North Korea.

Giant protests in lots of American cities. Giant protests in every foreign capital. The 2004 Guinness Book of Records described the anti-war movement around the globe as the largest mass protest movement in history — eclipsing any popular opposition to any act of the Soviet Union or any other totalitarian regime around the globe, ever. Among the elites in Paris, Berlin, and most corners of London, the Iraq War was the single-most important issue, and denouncing the evil of George W. Bush was the most important goal, not building a stable and peaceful Iraq. You recall Kofi Annan denouncing it, and the United Nations delegates scoffing when Hugo Chavez called our president the devil.

You recall the cries of “Bushitler,” the ubiquitous Code Pink interrupting every event in Washington, as if some ninny shouting during a press conference ever spurred sudden reversals in U.S. national security policy. You recall Hollywood’s relentless cavalcade of movies demonizing the war and those fighting it: “In the Valley of Elah,” “Stop Loss”, “Green Zone,” “Redacted,”  “Grace is Gone,” “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Hey, my Turkish friends so upset by a bloody civil war across the border and a flood of refugees, remember “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq”? Remember when that film suggested that Jewish U.S. army doctors in Iraq were harvesting organs from Iraqi civilians to be sold in Israeli, and that U.S. soldiers use Iraqi children as human shields? Yeah, remember that? Well, go solve your #*%&^ border problems yourself.

The Davos set is horrified to learn that after spending the better part of a decade screaming at the top of their lungs that an American intervention to topple a bloodthirsty Arab dictator is the absolute worst thing imaginable, suddenly Americans are no longer interested in toppling bloodthirsty Arab dictators.

(Slap, slap) Wake up, anti-war movement! You’ve got what you wanted! The United States is out of the armed intervention business, besides the occasional “leading from behind” in Libya, or the occasional covert mission in Pakistan.

And this is what you get:

The United Nations said earlier this month that more than 60,000 people had been killed during the 22-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad. This figure was based on 59,648 individuals reported killed in Syria between March 15, 2011 and November 30, 2012.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Monday that the number of Syrian refugees and individuals awaiting registration is 714,118. This includes 5,417 Syrian refugees registered in North Africa.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated in a report on January 17 that 4 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance across all 14 governorates in Syria. Of the total, 3 million lacked food and 2 million were internally displaced.

But wait, there’s more!

Outbreaks of hepatitis A and other diseases spread by poor hygiene are now becoming problems among Syrians displaced by the civil war, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. It is one of at least four United Nations agencies seeking to add a new sense of urgency to the humanitarian crisis afflicting the country.

Further aggravating the health of Syrians, the organization said, is a breakdown in the delivery of safe water throughout the country; the closing of at least one-third of Syria’s public hospitals; an exodus of doctors; and an acute shortage of ambulances, many of them damaged by fighting or impounded by the military or insurgent forces for use in combat.

But don’t worry, world. We may not be using our military force to influence the events in Syria, but we are taking action:

President Barack Obama released a video statement to the Syrian people attesting to the U.S. commitment to their humanitarian needs amid fresh reports of civilian killings by the Assad regime.

The three-minute video with Arabic subtitles was circulated today by the White House in connection with a U.S. announcement of $155 million in new humanitarian assistance to Syria. The move comes days after Obama indicated in an interview no move toward U.S. military intervention.

“The relief we send doesn’t say ‘made in America’ but make no mistake, our aid reflects the commitment of the American people,” Obama says in the statement.

I’m sure everyone in the civil war zone will appreciate that video statement.

Hate our quasi-isolationist policy, world elites, but don’t be surprised by it. We’re just giving you what you demanded. Maybe in a generation, we’ll be interested in intervening abroad again.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush , Iraq , Syria

Biden, Just Flat Wrong on Pressure on Iran in 2008


Vice President Biden, today: “When we took office, let me remind, there was virtually no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem,” the vice president said. “We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe.”

Of course, the facts are that the United Nations Security Council passed five resolutions against Iran between July 2006 and September 2008, banning the import of nuclear-related materials, freezing assets, expanding the freeze of assets, calling for the search of Iranian ships and planes, and so on.

Then, of course, throughout President Bush’s final year in office, diplomatic efforts generated new levels of pressure on Tehran.

March 2008: “The UN security council today approved a third round of sanctions against Iran with near unanimous support, sending a strong signal to Tehran that its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment is unacceptable and becoming increasingly costly. For the first time, the resolution bans trade with Iran in goods that have both civilian and military uses. It also authorises inspections of shipments to and from Iran by sea and air that are suspected of carrying banned items.”

June 2008: “Even as Bush won new support from the Europeans, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran responded by mocking attempts to rein in his country’s nuclear program, which Iran maintains is for peaceful development of nuclear energy.”

June 23, 2008: “European Union states agreed on June 23 to impose new sanctions on Iran, including an asset freeze on its biggest bank, over its refusal to meet demands to curb its nuclear programme.”

In August 2008: “The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany have agreed to seek further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program after the Islamic state missed a deadline to respond to council incentives, the State Department said Monday.”

And then in October 2008, “Australia has imposed targeted autonomous sanctions in relation to Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear and missile programs and efforts to contravene United Nations Security Council sanctions.”

So besides the ugly, knee-jerk claim that until President Obama took office, the United States was “the problem” in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, Biden is just plain wrong on the facts.

But hey, at least Obama can tout the tough new sanctions in place today, and how his diplomacy has unified the world on cutting off Iran… oh, wait, what’s that on foreign television?

Ah, an Iranian trade delegation visiting Indian officials in New Dehli, discussing ways to “overcome U.S. and European sanctions.”

Then again, Jeanne Kirkpatrick warned us about Biden’s type: “They always blame America first.”

UPDATE: The Romney campaign distributes Policy Director Lanhee Chen on Vice President Biden’s comments on Iran that “we were the problem.”

“All too often, President Obama and his administration have sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden’s reckless statement today blaming America for – of all things – the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, has reached a new low. The problem is not America.  It is the ayatollahs who oppress their people, threaten their neighbors, and are pursuing nuclear weapons. President Obama’s naïve approach to Iran has given the regime valuable time to get closer than ever before to a nuclear weapons capability. Vice President Biden’s comments are wrong and completely inappropriate. Mitt Romney will stand up for America and our allies, and he will not apologize for America’s leadership role in the world.”

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush , Iran , Joe Biden , United Nations

Obama Has Created More Debt than Bush, in Less than Half the Time


Over the weekend, Steve Eggleston checked the latest numbers from the Treasury Department and credited me for an accurate prediction: that upon the Ides of March, President Obama reached the milestone of raising the debt by $4.93 trillion since taking office.

On that day, the debt’s increase under Obama surpassed the amount it increased during George W. Bush’s two terms in office, $4.89 trillion.

In other words, Obama ran up as much debt in 3.15 years as Bush ran up in eight years.

(You can see my post with the prediction and calculations here.)

Remember, on the campaign trail, Obama said that adding $4 trillion in debt over Bush’s eight years was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”

Oh, and recall that Obama declared in his debate with John McCain that he would enact a net spending cut.

Tags: Barack Obama , Debt , George W. Bush

U.S. Set to Reach Another Debt Milestone Under Obama


The total U.S. public debt will probably hit $15.5 trillion today.

On Tuesday, according to the Department of the Treasury, it was $15,499,023,629,682.44, to be precise.

That figure was $10.6 trillion the day Barack Obama took office.

That is an increase of $4,872,146,580,769.36 — let’s just say $4.8 trillion — over 1,142 days.

Remember, on the campaign trail, Obama said that adding $4 trillion in debt over Bush’s eight years was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”

That’s an average of $4.26 billion — $4,266,328,004.18 — in new debt per day during Obama’s presidency.

For comparison, the national debt increased $4.9 trillion — $4,899,100,310,608.44, to be precise — during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush.

In other words, when the debt increases another $27 billion — $26,953,729,839.08 — Obama will have run up as much debt in three years and a couple of months as Bush ran up in eight years. Obama will reach that milestone in a few days. (Back in August, I predicted Obama would hit this milestone on the Ides of March.)

Oh, and recall that Obama declared in his debate with John McCain that he would enact a net spending cut.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush , National Debt

President ‘Cut-the-Deficit-in-Half’ Spends More, Again


Today, President Cut-the-Deficit-in-Half unveils his newest budget, projecting a deficit of $1.33 trillion.

You’ll recall Obama promising to “cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.” (Note that many Americans probably heard that and thought he meant to cut the overall, outstanding, now $15.3 trillion debt, not the annual, more than $1 trillion per year deficit.)


You’ll also recall that in 2007, the deficit was… $160 billion. You know, about 12 percent of the total deficit Obama’s budget would create this year.

But, as you undoubtedly know, Obama hasn’t even come close to cutting the deficit in any significant way in any year of his presidency:

Fiscal 2009 budget deficit (technically the last year under Bush):$1.41 trillion.

2010 budget deficit: $1.3 trillion.

2011 budget deficit: $1.3 trillion.

2012 budget deficit projection in Obama’s numbers today: $1.33 trillion.

In the video above, Obama says, “In 2008 alone, we paid $258 billion in interest on debt, one in every ten taxpayer dollars. That is more than three times what we spent on education.”

I’m not quite sure where Obama is getting the $258 billion figure, since Treasury lists significantly larger figures for interest on the debt for each year. But for what it’s worth, the recent payments for each year:

Fiscal 2007: $429 billion.

Fiscal 2008: $451 billion.

Fiscal 2009: $383 billion.

Fiscal 2010: $413 billion.

Fiscal 2011: $454 billion.

We’re up to $169.2 billion in the first four months of this fiscal year. Again, we’re paying more in interest in the debt in the first four months of the year than the sum of the total deficit in 2007.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush

Is Santorum’s Vision . . . a Conservatism of 2000?


In the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt, Rick Perry shares his thoughts on the Iowa caucus process, the mistakes of Bachmann are reviewed (with a thought on a possible future path for her), and then this big question for the week ahead:

Rick Santorum, Big Government Conservative?

A big portion of the debate in the coming week will focus on whether Rick Santorum’s vision of government can properly be classified as a rerun of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” or in some people’s eyes, “Big Government conservatism.”

For the prosecution, David Harsanyi at the Blaze:

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently celebrated his working-class appeal, newfound viability and economic populism, noting that the former Pennsylvania senator’s book “It Takes a Family“ was a ”broadside against Barry Goldwater-style conservatism” — or, in other words, a rejection of that Neanderthal fealty for liberty and free markets that has yet to be put down. Santorum’s book is crammed with an array of ideas for technocratic meddling; even the author acknowledges that some people “will reject” what he has to say “as a kind of ‘Big Government’ conservatism.”

Santorum grumbles about too many conservatives believing in unbridled “personal autonomy” and subscribing to the “idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do . . . that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom (and) we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues.”

Perhaps Santorum confuses libertinism with libertarianism, but for him “cultural issues” go way beyond defending the life of the unborn or opposing gay marriage. Santorum believes that conservatives should recognize “that individuals can’t go it alone,” which sounds a lot like the straw-man justification for nearly every state expansion in memory.

For the defense, Rush Limbaugh:

Conservatives do want an activist government defending what’s right and attacking what’s wrong. Big government may not be the term, but, for example: Conservatives do think that it’s the role of government to protect the sanctity of life, as does Rick Santorum. If government doesn’t, who else will? And it stems from our founding documents: Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence.

Clearly the government has a role here in defending life. If they don’t, who will? Also, the government should be used effectively to fight crime. Conservatives are all for, for example, the government fighting illegal immigration. Now, is that big government or is that responsible government? Big government is being misused here when applied to Santorum. Big government as it’s used today means welfare state, and Santorum does not believe in a welfare state. So the left is playing a rhetorical game here, folks, and I want to alert you to this. “Big government” has a specific meaning today, and it means welfare state. It means redistribution. It means high taxes. It means command-and-control of the economy. And that’s not what Santorum believes. So the left knows that “big government” is a negative. It is a harmful term to attach to somebody, and that’s why they’re trying to attach it to Santorum. But Rick Santorum does not believe in the big government of Barack Obama. It’s totally different thing for him.

This will be a big, and worthwhile discussion in the coming week, perhaps lost in the avalanche of attack ads. Almost every Republican endorses “limited government” in the abstract. But what does that mean?

ADDENDA: Over in Politico, Bill Schneider offers this cheery thought: “This year’s presidential campaign will be a war of total annihilation.”

Tags: George W. Bush , Rick Santorum , Rush Limbaugh

When Will Obama Outspend Bush’s Two Terms? Beware the Ides of March


Elaborating on some calculations by CBS News’s Mark Knoller . . .

On January 20, 2009, the total outstanding public debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08 ($10.62 trillion).

As of Tuesday, the debt is $14,649,289,670,347.85 ($14.64 trillion).

In 946 days, Obama has increased the national debt by $4,022,412,621,434.77 or $4.02 trillion.

That amounts to $4,252,021,798.56 per day ($4.25 billion).

When the debt increases another $877,587,378,565.23 ($877.58 billion), the debt accumulated under Obama’s presidency will equal the debt accumulated under Bush’s two terms.

Obviously, this can change, but barring some sudden shift in the federal government’s borrowing and spending habits, this milestone will be reached in 206 days from August 23, 2011. That would be March 15, 2012.

Beware the Ides of March.

If spending continues at the normal pace through Inauguration Day 2013, it would add an additional $1,326,630,801,150.72 ($1.32 trillion) to the debt total.

Obama will have, in one term, raised the national debt by $6.22 trillion, 22 percent more than George W. Bush did in two terms.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush

Thinking Back to When Presidential Vacations Were Bad...


As I prepare for vacation and President Obama prepares for his 10 days in Martha’s Vineyard at a $50,000-per-week rental of the 28-acre beachfront Blue Heron Farm, let’s take a moment to remember when our friends on the left used to get outraged about presidential vacations. From Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11:”

You see, Bush was a president who had a sliding approval rating, and “already beginning to look like a lame duck president” (because his approval was in the mid-40s, see?). I’m sure if Moore had more time, he would have emphasized that in summer of 2001, the unemployment rate had jumped from 4.3 percent to 4.9 percent! This was an economic crisis! People were hurting! How dare the president go play golf or hang around the New England when people were hurting!

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush , Michael Moore

A Motivational Poster for George W. Bush’s Library


A motivational poster, sent in from a reader:

 When the loudest critic of your policies achieves his greatest success because of them."

In case the font is too small, the words at the bottom are: “VINDICATION: When the loudest critic of your policies achieves his greatest success because of them.”

I can hear the liberal cries of outrage, so to recap: The interrogations of KSM (which included waterboarding) and the interrogation of Hassan Ghul (held in “black site” prisons) were key to identifying the courier; the president then authorized military action in a foreign country without going to the United Nations or informing the host government; the military action was unilateral, and we did not consult with our allies; Congress was not informed of the military action; and it increasingly appears that no serious effort was made to treat Osama bin Laden as a criminal (reading him his rights, etc.). The monitoring of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s phone call was a result of an extensive global wiretapping system. Furthermore, as Charles Krauthammer notes, the helicopters used in the raid came from Bagram and Jalalabad; if we had withdrawn from Afghanistan on the antiwar Left’s timetable, we would have had no bases from which to launch this operation.

Well done to one president for enacting all of these policy changes, and well done to his successor for keeping them in place.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush

Rummy: Obama Team ‘Has Wisely Chosen to Continue’ Bush Policies


Reaction from Donald Rumsfeld:

The man who once called the United States “a paper tiger” and issued a fatwa to “kill all Americans” believed that our nation would not strike back if provoked.  Today that man, responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans on September 11th, Osama bin Laden, is dead.  It is an achievement of which our country can be proud.

Credit belongs to the courageous special operators who executed the mission.  As America awoke to celebration this morning, these professionals quietly went about their work, for they know as well as any that this fight is not over.  

Recognition should also go to the intelligence professionals who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to collect information on al Qaeda.  Initial reports indicate that intelligence efforts at Guantanamo Bay may have played an essential role in this success. 

All of this was made possible by the relentless, sustained pressure on al Qaeda that the Bush administration initiated after 9/11 and that the Obama administration has wisely chosen to continue. 

This is an important victory in the fight against Islamist terrorism, but the struggle will go on.  We must not have any illusions that it ends today or that America can afford to let down its guard tomorrow.

His statement made me look up this memorable exchange from December 2001, including Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers:

Myers: And I just — let me just add, Mr. Secretary, it was effective. I mean, we’ve been on the ground and it had the desired effect. (Cross talk.) 

Q: Which was what? What was the desired effect? 

Q: Can you describe to us anecdotally what the – 

Myers: The desired effect was to kill al Qaeda. 

Q: What sort of results are you aware of? What did your people on the ground see? 

Myers: Dead al Qaeda. (Laughter.)

Tags: Barack Obama , Donald Rumsfeld , George W. Bush

The National Debt Was Growing, Even Before George W. Bush


A common tactic of Obama and his defenders is to suggest that the debt and deficit were non-issues until the presidency of George W. Bush.

Obama in Annandale yesterday:

For a long time, Washington acted like deficits didn’t matter. A lot of folks promised us a free lunch. So I think everybody needs to recall, we had a surplus back in 2000, 11 short years ago, but then we cut taxes for everybody, including millionaires and billionaires. We fought two wars and we created a new and expensive prescription drug program, and we didn’t pay for any of it.

But it’s worth noting that the national debt – as in the total public debt owed – increased on Clinton’s watch, and like all recent presidents, Clinton left the country with more than a trillion dollars deeper in debt than when he began — even with the late 1990s economic boom.

According to U.S. Treasury figures at Debt to the Penny, on January 20, 1993, as Bill Clinton took office, the total outstanding public debt was $4.1 trillion. On January 19, 2001, that same figure had increased to $5.7 trillion.

As I’ve noted before, the debt during Bush’s eight years in office increased from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion, or $4.9 trillion over eight years. That’s bad; that’s basically $610 billion per year. But in the less than three years Obama has been in office, the debt has increased from $10.6 trillion to $14.2 trillion, a $3.6 trillion increase in about 27 months.  In other words, Obama is increasing the debt by $1.6 trillion per year, three times as fast as Bush.

Bush’s record on increasing the national debt is bad and Obama’s is worse. Clinton’s record is “best,” but it’s not clear that most Americans would characterize increasing the national debt by $200 billion per year as “good.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Clinton , George W. Bush

Obama Barely Beats Bush . . . 43, We Mean.


This is a poll result that is . . . somewhat surprising: “Asked who they’d vote for if George W. Bush was allowed to run against Barack Obama for a third term next year, voters only go for Obama by a 48-44 margin.” Detail: “PPP surveyed 600 registered American voters from February 11th to 14th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.0 percent.”

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush

Gallup Finds George W. Bush With Higher Approval Than Obama


A bit of interesting perspective from Gallup:

Of the nine U.S. presidents who have served in the past 50 years, John F. Kennedy continues to earn the highest retrospective job approval rating from Americans, now 85%. Ronald Reagan ranks second, with 74%. While these presidents’ ratings are largely unchanged from 2006, Bill Clinton’s rating has improved, putting him in third place, while Jimmy Carter, at 52%, has dropped from third to sixth. Richard Nixon remains the lowest rated.

They provide a handy chart:

A list of presidential approval.

Notice Pres. George W. Bush’s approval is at 47 percent.

Meanwhile, Gallup also finds President Obama’s current approval is . . . 45 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush

This and That From the Jolt Headed Your Way


A pair of highlights from today’s Morning Jolt . . .

So What Do We Owe the Debt Commission?

I didn’t have high hopes from this bipartisan panel that’s supposed to save us from the deficit; bipartisan commissions of former lawmakers are traditionally the last resort of lawmakers who have run out of real ideas. Only the 9/11 commission, broke with tradition and generated a report that everyone wanted to read, and it’s hard to imagine a subject more dramatic or more likely to have high levels of public interest. Since then, we’ve heard from or heard demands for more commissions on every major issue — Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 financial crisis, and finally, the oil spill. Does anyone remember anything useful coming out of any of these? Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton generated more widely-ignored sequels than Freddy Krueger . . .

John Boehner, Coming Soon to a Flight Near You

This seems like a good idea, and a wonderful contrast with his predecessor, but it’s easy to see some complications down the road: “House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday he intends to take commercial flights home when he moves up to speaker in the new Congress. ‘Over the last 20 years, I have flown back and forth to my district on commercial aircraft, and I am going to continue to do that,’ he told reporters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, took heat in 2007 when she started flying an Air Force jet that could go nonstop back to her congressional district in California.”

There’s a brief discussion of the security concerns, but there’s probably a 99 percent chance that it will never a major issue. But you can imagine the day it is, right?

“This is terrible! A terror attack has incapacitated the President and Vice President! Where’s the Speaker of the House? We need him to take the oath so that we have a commander-in-chief to oversee and authorize the military response!”

“He’s stuck in a holding pattern over Akron, because of a weather pattern over the Appalachians, wedged in coach between a traveling salesman and that hyperactive rapper who Mitt Romney incapacitated with the Vulcan neck pinch, trying to get his seat to recline.”

Also note that I’ve heard from a Bushie I trust that the story of President Bush telling Gordon Brown he was willing to endorse Barack Obama, mentioned in yesterday’s Jolt, is untrue, denied by the former president himself. I suspect that this is an off-the-cuff joke being wildly stretched.

Tags: George W. Bush , John Boehner

Tell Me This Is Some Obscure Texan Humor


From the Morning Jolt:

Er . . . You Did Vote in 2008, Right, Mr. President?

This anecdote from Alex Barker of the Financial Times smells about half-true: “The venue was the Oval Office. A group of British dignitaries, including Gordon Brown, were paying a visit. It was at the height of the 2008 presidential election campaign, not long after Bush publicly endorsed John McCain as his successor. Naturally the election came up in conversation. Trying to be even-handed and polite, the Brits said something diplomatic about McCain’s campaign, expecting Bush to express some warm words of support for the Republican candidate. Not a chance. ‘I probably won’t even vote for the guy,’ Bush told the group, according to two people present.’I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.’ Endorse Obama? Cue dumbfounded look from British officials, followed by some awkward remarks about the Washington weather. Even Gordon Brown’s poker face gave way to a flash of astonishment.”

Was Bush kidding? Sarcastic? Blowing off a little steam? Pulling Gordon Brown’s leg?

“I wish I could say I didn’t vote for McCain,” quips Zip at Weasel Zippers.

ADDENDA: Over at Ace of Spades, Slublog notices that liberals, having been dealt a setback in the midterms, have embraced a new cause: a petition demanding TLC cancel “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” before it airs.

That . . . is really quite sad.

President Bush wouldn’t really have endorsed Obama . . . would he?

Or would it have been a brilliant, reverse-psychology strategy to ruin Obama’s credibility with his base? “Strategery”?

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush , Sarah Palin

When ‘Blame Bush’ Fails, What Do Democrats Do?


Incumbent Democrats: Sure, you’re not all that pleased with the job we’ve done, but remember how much you didn’t like Bush, and we’re not him.

Voters in swing districts: Actually, we’re starting to miss Bush, and we prefer him to the current guy.


A prominent Democratic pollster is circulating a survey that shows George W. Bush is 6 points more popular than President Obama in “Frontline” districts — seats held by Democrats that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sees as most vulnerable to Republican takeover. That Bush is more popular than Obama in Democratic-held seats is cause for outright fear.

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush

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