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Obama Following Bush Path to Second Term Collapse?

obama bush

In, “This Is the End of the Presidency,” Ron Fournier argues that President Obama’s second term is headed for the same sort of disaster that characterized his predecessor’s and for many of the same reasons. Most notably, he argues that “Both men convinced themselves that they were reelected because of their agendas, rather than because of negative campaign strategies that essentially disqualified their rivals” and consequentially both over-reached and acted with arrogance that would result in bitter backlash from an already-polarized opposition party.

It’s an interesting argument and one that’s reasonably well-argued. At the same time, however, Fournier minimizes the differences.

As controversial as ObamaCare has been from the beginning, and as flawed as the website roll-out has been, equating it with the debacle that was the Iraq War is silly. The latter—which I supported—is orders of magnitude higher on the scale of presidential miscues. Similarly, while the response to the Benghazi attack was horribly botched, it’s not exactly Hurricane Katrina. To be sure, Obama’s problems have been almost entirely of his own making whereas Bush’s were mostly thrust upon him; but they’re nonetheless of completely different magnitude.

Additionally, while it’s true that both presidents faced tremendous pressure from both the most rabid elements of their base and an opposition party fueled by levels of animus not seen in living memory, Bush got far more cooperation than Obama, even in their first term.  Bush benefited from a rally effect after 9/11 and managed to generate considerable Democratic support for not only his domestic agenda (notably the ruinously expensive prescription drug benefit) but also for the incredibly controversial Iraq War.

Interestingly, however, Obama actually has a lower approval rating than Bush did at this same point in his tenure:

Just 43 percent of Americans currently approve of the president’s job performance, down 11 points from this time last year, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Disapproval is 55 percent, up from 42 percent last year. A CBS News/New York Times poll released last week showed Mr. Obama with a 42 percent approval rating and disapproval at 50 percent.

The president’s approval rating is even lower than it was – 49 percent – when his party suffered a bruising loss in the 2010 midterms , and puts him lower than almost all other recent two-term presidents at this point in their presidencies.

All post-World War II presidents except for former Presidents George W. Bush and Richard Nixon had approval ratings at or above 50 percent at this point in their second terms. Nixon’s fifth year ended in 1973 with an approval rating of 29 percent because of the Watergate scandal, Bush’s approval rating was47 percent - above Mr. Obama’s current rating - with 52 percent disapproving.

I’m not sure what to make of that, really.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    His approval is actually falling slightly faster than Bush’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Dave Schuler: Yes; I was in the process of updating the point to add that point as you were commenting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. C. Clavin says:

    And today in JJ’s ODS…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 18

  4. Stan says:

    The Affordable Care Act will, I think, be viewed by history in the same light as Social Security and Medicare. That’s one administration accomplishment. Another was the bailout of the auto industry, and still another is the extrication of the US from its Mideast wars. So I disagree in a major way with Fournier’s analysis and with the almost equally wrongheaded viewpoint of our host.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

  5. Facebones says:

    To be sure, Obama’s problems have been almost entirely of his own making whereas Bush’s were mostly thrust upon him

    Yes, I remember how Bush was forced – forced, I tell you! – to invade Iraq under false pretenses.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 66 Thumb down 2

  6. Tillman says:

    To be sure, Obama’s problems have been almost entirely of his own making whereas Bush’s were mostly thrust upon him; but they’re nonetheless of completely different magnitude.

    Could you expand on this? I don’t think I follow.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  7. Just Me says:

    I think the 24/7 media probably doesn’t help with approval ratings.

    The Internet has also changed things-it is a great tool to use when you are campaigning but it also makes it hard to control things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  8. James Joyner says:

    @Stan: It’s conceivable that ACA will be viewed as a success long term, although I think it’s more likely to be a blip on the way to universal coverage. I can’t give Obama credit for sticking with the Bush timeline on Iraq withdrawal and for a massive ramp-up in Afghanistan before winding down.

    @Facebones: While Iraq wasn’t a direct response to 9/11, 9/11 made Iraq much more likely. And Katrina was a natural disaster.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 32

  9. beth says:

    @James Joyner:

    While Iraq wasn’t a direct response to 9/11, 9/11 made Iraq much more likely.

    If you were George W Bush or Dick Cheney. There were plenty of people who didn’t see it that way.


    And Katrina was a natural disaster.


    And Bush’s handling of it was a man-made disaster.

    I’m sorry but I really don’t see how either of these disasters were thrust upon Bush, either. There were many other options and actions he could have taken.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 2

  10. Facebones says:

    @James Joyner:

    While Iraq wasn’t a direct response to 9/11, 9/11 made Iraq much more likely.

    That is simply ridiculous. Do we need to once again go over all the lies that administration told to get us into Iraq? Yellow cake? WMDs? “He tried to kill my daddy?” Rumsfeld’s first response of how do we tie bin Laden to Hussein? They were going to invade Iraq; 9/11 was the convenient pretext.

    But, no. He was “forced” into it. Right.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 2

  11. rudderpedals says:

    Obviously a concern troll. The 9 analogies are really weak even after allowing for Ron Fournier.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  12. beth says:

    And by the way, why is it that when Republicans get re-elected it’s because Americans support their agendas but when Democrats get re-elected, it’s because they somehow played dirty and used negative campaigning to win. That’s a huge bunch of bullsh*t right off the bat and casts a shadow on the whole premise of this article. Mitt Romney lost because he was a stiff, out of touch rich guy whose party and platform ignored the very real concerns of the majority of citizens. Is he really trying to tell me that Obama got re-elected because he said bad things about Mitt Romney?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 3

  13. michael reynolds says:

    Republicans who are typically more convinced of their victimization usually rally when attacked. Democrats, more inclined by character to be self-critical, usually scatter. It’s Obama voters making the difference in these polls. Means very little in the end. I’m critical of Ovana and still support him.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3

  14. michael reynolds says:

    Seriously iPhone autocorrect? Ovana?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  15. merl says:

    did Ron say that Obama just has to “lead”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. ptfe says:

    To the broader point of the post, the middle of 2005 was when the Bush A/D numbers crossed over for good, and he had brief forays into the 42/55 range at the end of ’05 and beginning of ’06. See here and here for comparisons. And note that Obama has been in basically a uniform band his entire presidency (ups and downs, but staying pretty consistent), whereas Bush “started” from 90/10 after the attacks and made a long, pretty consistent descent to 30/65 by the time he left.

    @michael reynolds: Perhaps ovana was a Freudian slip?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. edmondo says:

    The Affordable Care Act will, I think, be viewed by history in the same light as Social Security and Medicare.

    Uh, no. The only way they would be comparable is if FDR had put Goldman Sachs in control of SS and LBJ had said Blue Cross was now every seniors’ healthcare insurer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

  18. JKB says:

    @beth: There were plenty of people who didn’t see it that way.

    Almost none were in Congress at the time, Democrat or Republican.

    And Bush’s handling of it was an man-made disaster.

    The man-made disaster was the federal government, if there was one. NO flooded, not due to Katrina, but because the government flood control system failed after the storm passed. Keep in mind, NO was not on the bad side of the storm.

    The federal government failed to take up the slack after the governor of LA and the mayor of NO proved incompetent…and they didn’t request federal assistance which is actually the proper way to get the federal government to take over.

    And the federal government was caught out after decades of giving the impression that FEMA was more than a late responder to disasters.

    On the storm damaged side of things in MS, the state and local government responded well. They got thing stabilized quickly, the FEMA arrived after the Labor Day holiday in DC. The MS government even responded well in the hardest hit area, Hancock County, where the main law enforcement weathered the storm on top of their station and all their vehicles were flooded out.

    Whereas in New Orleans, the police ran, the mayor ran and the indigent population was left to fend for themselves. Then when they did respond, they spent most of their time harassing homeowners who had provisions and had remained in to defend their homes.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 21

  19. Ron Beasley says:

    I stopped reading anything by Ron Fournier when he was still at AP. He was never more than a right wing political hack pretending to be a journalist.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  20. JKB says:

    Obama’s problem is, he’s got some hard body blows coming. Right now people are distracted but come January, the lack of insurance coverage is going to reign. The penalties will kick in. The lack of a functioning backend to pay the insurers or get valid info to the insurers will push the webpage debacle into the back ground.

    And let’s not forget the rubber meeting the road when people start to use and have experience with their new plans. Higher deductibles, higher co-pays, less doctor/hospital choice and lower quality care as the docs have to waste time on the Obamacare questions instead of clinical services.

    And he’ll probably see Dems running in 2014 start throwing punches. Not to mention some softening up by potential 2016 Dems hoping to separate themselves from Obama and Obamacare.

    Oh and even if government threats keep the 2014 cancellations from going out before November, they’ll still go out. Not only increases on the current victims but the all new small biz plan victims of Obamacare.

    In short, it is unlikely to get easier down the road.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 21

  21. anjin-san says:

    @ James

    And Katrina was a natural disaster.

    So was Sandy. Yet “Katria” is now a universally understood buzzword for “epic crisis management fail” and Sandy is not.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 2

  22. David M says:

    @JKB:

    but come January, the lack of insurance coverage is going to reign. The penalties will kick in. The lack of a functioning backend to pay the insurers or get valid info to the insurers will push the webpage debacle into the back ground.

    And let’s not forget the rubber meeting the road when people start to use and have experience with their new plans. Higher deductibles, higher co-pays, less doctor/hospital choice and lower quality care as the docs have to waste time on the Obamacare questions instead of clinical services.

    Could you kindly point us to the conspiracy loon website where you get your nonsense from? I could use a laugh today, and I”m pretty sure they believe all kinds of other goofy fantasies as well.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Well, considering that even with the present system we’ve got sufficient evidence to drag the insurance bastards out and hang them higher than Haman, I think people will have a certain tolerance for any quirks in the roll-out.

    Going from “I can be summarily thrown off my health insurance plan because I forgot to tell them about some asthma medicine I took 15 years ago” to “damn, it’s going to be another 15 dollars per month” is a great benefit.

    I think you forget exactly how bad the prior system was.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @Ron Beasley:
    So what does that make a right-wing hack repeating his tripe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  25. john personna says:

    I think psychologically people are kind of “over” Obama. I’m not sure that is such a big deal.

    Sure, the ACA will need some work in coming years, but I don’t think it will be a “mistake and ignominious withdrawal” like, say, Iraq.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  26. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    JKB is one of the ponies and rainbows libertarians who believed that if we could just remove government, coronary bypasses would cost no more than lattes.

    Nothing can compete with that dream.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  27. anjin-san says:

    While Iraq wasn’t a direct response to 9/11, 9/11 made Iraq much more likely.

    Yes, it made it much easier for Bush and Cheney to implement the PNAC agenda. Not really sure how relevant that is though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  28. john personna says:

    Fundamentally, most people want the things in Obamacare, even if they hate “Obamacare.”

    I mean, we’ve had those amusing polls where people support the ACA but not Obamacare, or support lists of ACA featues but not Obamacare, it goes on and on.

    That’s what will be true when the dust settles and Obama is on speaking tours.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @john personna: That’s why I wonder whether a vote to get rid of Obamacare would in fact pass. People may bitch and grumble about it, but I suspect that if in a year’s time the Republicans had a chance to get rid of it, people would turn on them with the fury of a thousand white-hot suns.

    NO ONE wants to go back to the prior system, the rescission, insurance death panels, lifetime limits, prior conditions mess.

    Except psychopathic libertarians, whose view of the world is ME ME ME.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    You won’t see anything about it here on OTB…but insurers are putting big $$$ behind Obamacare.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  31. Nick says:

    It’s an interesting argument and one that’s reasonably well-argued.

    No, the basic premise is flawed.

    Most notably, he argues that “Both men convinced themselves that they were reelected because of their agendas, rather than because of negative campaign strategies that essentially disqualified their rivals”

    Fournier actually advised Karl Rove in 2004 to follow what he is now labeling “negative campaign strategy”– the most egregious example was to use Pat Tillman (most decidedly not a Republican) as a Bush 2004 campaign prop after his death when he couldn’t speak for himself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  32. David M says:

    The GOP may continue to try and sabotage Obamacare, but repeal is out. As it is now, the news media had a field day with the “oh noes, someone may have to pay a little more for health insurance” stories, most of which turned out to be bogus. People weren’t losing insurance, they were changing policies.

    Assuming the GOP could actually repeal Obamacare, those stories would actually turn out to be true, as millions would lose health insurance and be unable to get replacement policies. The GOP doesn’t have anything to replace Obamacare with, so they would be introducing a massive disruption into the health care market, but with no upside for them. They are watching the current political problems with the Obamacare implementation and are seeing what would happen if they repealed it.

    Eventually the dead-enders will give up on their obsession and the controversy over the moderate, incremental health care reform will end. Hopefully voters will start punishing anyone who campaigns on a platform of taking health care away from millions of people, to help the GOP come to their senses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  33. C. Clavin says:

    Let’s just let Sully take apart Fournier…and of course James for giving him bandwidth… without the least critical thought.

    If you exclude all this context and focus on superficial Washington games and tropes, you can maybe concoct a theory of the past five years that makes Fournier’s analysis seem plausible. It’s just that you have to erase the actual events from your brain and your memory.

    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/12/17/fournier-digs-in/

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  34. Moderate Mom says:

    @C. Clavin: Well, of course they are. The more people they can get to sign up (especially the young and healthy) the more their profits are going to skyrocket. If I was the CEO of an insurance company, I’d be thrilled with the ACA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  35. C. Clavin says:

    @Moderate Mom:
    But I thought it was socialism?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  36. edmondo says:

    If I was the CEO of an insurance company, I’d be thrilled with the ACA.

    They paid for it – of course they love it. And they got an Insurance-Salesman-in-Chief thrown in for free.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

  37. David M says:

    People seem to be forgetting all the parts of the ACA that make life difficult for insurance companies, like the medical loss ratio minimums.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  38. C. Clavin says:

    @edmondo:
    But you said it was socialism?
    Now you are complaining that it’s private sector?
    Talk about ODS…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  39. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    But I thought it was socialism?

    It’s time for the pivot. Obamacare has survived, even some Republicans are admitting that, and the “socialism” attack failed. So now it’s time to try something new: attacking it as a give-away to Wall Street.

    Hey, people whose tiny minds can encompass Obama as simultaneously Sharia-lovin’ and Communist, as well as totalitarian and weak, can absorb any contradiction, so long as the result is hate for Obama.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  40. Dave Schuler says:

    I think there’s an argument to be made that dwindling presidential second term approval rates are a relatively new and permanent feature of the American political landscape. The Internet never forgets, social media, etc. No man is a hero to his valet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  41. edmondo says:

    @C. Clavin:

    But you said it was socialism?

    I wish.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  42. edmondo says:

    @David M:

    People seem to be forgetting all the parts of the ACA that make life difficult for insurance companies, like the medical loss ratio minimums.

    Quick question: Will these rules be enforced by the same Administration who could find absolutely no wrong-doing after Wall Street caused the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression? Oh, I thought so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  43. David M says:

    @edmondo:

    the stupid, it burns

    The MLR rules and rebates aren’t new and have been in effect for several years. Anyone discussing Obamacare should be aware of them, unless they aren’t interested in actual facts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  44. Woody says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well, True Americans have always been at war with Eastasia Obama.

    They have literally nothing else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  45. Scott F. says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I also enjoyed the evisceration provided by Charlie Pierce.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  46. Pinky says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    I think there’s an argument to be made that dwindling presidential second term approval rates are a relatively new and permanent feature of the American political landscape.

    I don’t know if survey data on popularity was available before now. Second terms are nearly always disappointing. Washington faced a rebellion. Jefferson caused a recession with the Embargo Act. Madison’s White House was set on fire by the British. Et cetera.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    The other pivot is the high deductible plans…which the Republicans championed…until they didn’t.
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/12/heritage-uncertainty-principle.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  48. Pinky says:

    It’s not just a coincidence, either. The administration’s best and brightest are burned out by the second term. The president’s closest advisors retire, replaced by party machine people. The agenda is less focused. Any simmering scandals become public.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  49. JKB says:

    @David M: Could you kindly point us to the conspiracy loon website where you get your nonsense from?

    Most recently, the New York Times which ran a story about many NY professionals who were experiencing the joys of Obamacare since the Democrats specifically outlawed the association health plans.

    And, of course, it was Obama’s own administration that is pressuring insurance companies to illegally extend current plans to cover for the fact Obamacare isn’t properly enrolling people for insurance come January 1.

    Plus the Washington state Obamacare program that is stealing from people who ventured onto their site by repeatedly debiting from people’s bank accounts, without lawful authority.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  50. Paul Hooson says:

    Many second terms don’t work out well, but this seems weaker than most in so many ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  51. JKB says:

    Ruh Roh, G W Bush is a hipster icon now

    Turns out, time goes on and for the Millennials younger than 24 they probably missed the Bush protest movement.

    Look for heads to explode, starting…..in 3, 2, 1….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  52. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Ruh Roh, G W Bush is a hipster icon now
    Turns out, time goes on and for the Millennials younger than 24 they probably missed the Bush protest movement.

    As I recall, Democrats did not impeach Bush. Essentially they let him govern without constant obstruction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  53. David M says:

    @JKB:

    So you got nothing. Some random fearmongering from the NY Times with no comparisons to policies on the state exchanges and a clerical error. The world is clearly ending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  54. Davebo says:

    It would appear James has developed “The Courage to Believe” that Limbaugh is always talking about.

    Sad, but not entirely surprising.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  55. Dave Schuler says:

    @Pinky:

    We’ve had that information, basically, since WWII. We know that Nixon’s second term approval rating went below 30% while Reagan’s stayed above 50%.

    See here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  56. David M says:

    So we keep hearing about people losing their insurance but are unwilling to shop on the exchanges. Given the success stories that are now rolling in, it’s hard to have much sympathy for them.

    As a reminder JKBs NY Times article presented a woman who was paying $10,000 a year for insurance, but no info on eligibility for subsidies, prices for policies on the exchange, or how the policy benefits compared. So we know nothing about how the law will affect her, other than it will require her to get a new policy. Not exactly news worthy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  57. Tyrell says:

    Second terms since 1956:
    General Eisenhower: health problems
    Lyndon Johnson: Vietnam (actually his first elected term)
    Richard Nixon: Watergate
    Ronald Reagan: Iran/contra
    Bill Clinton: Lewinsky
    George Bush: Iraq
    If President Obama manages to avoid a major scandal or military blunder he will probably go down as successful. First thing is to rethink taking pictures.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  58. wr says:

    @JKB:Yeah, when I want to know what the cool kids are saying these days, I check out Ann “Peggy Noonan on the cheap stuff” Althouse. Because she’s like wired in, man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  59. MarkedMan says:

    James, I have to admit I am surprised that you feel Bush’s downfall was due to events thrust upon him. Frankly, every major decision his administration made was poor to disastrous. Putting a political hack in charge of FEMA. Sending new grads over to be the on-the-ground guys for the Iraq reconstruction because they weren’t tainted by ‘experience’. Believing the self serving things bankers and rich people told them and fighting tooth and nail to implement those things into policy – over and over and over again. And making the USA, for the first time in our history, into a country that officially tortures people. My god, he pinned medals on the torturers.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  60. Rafer Janders says:

    To be sure, Obama’s problems have been almost entirely of his own making whereas Bush’s were mostly thrust upon him; but they’re nonetheless of completely different magnitude.

    I’m sure people upthread have already mentioned this, but how exactly was the unprovoked attack on and invasion of Iraq “thrust upon” Bush? It was entirely of his own volition. It was “thrust upon” Bush the same way that beating up his wife is “thrust upon” an abusive husband.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  61. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    And Katrina was a natural disaster.

    Yes, it’s certainly impossible to plan for and anticipate those, or to craft an effective and component response to deal with them….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  62. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders: It was entirely of his own volition.

    With the full support of multiple UN resolutions, overwhelming support by both parties in Congress, super majority support by the American people, and material support of a large coalition of nations from around the world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  63. David M says:

    @JKB:

    Given their use of fabricated intelligence to scare people, I’m not sure the fact that other people supported Iraq too means anything. Although you are consistent in believing nonsense pushed by the GOP and treating public support of it as much more important than the opposing views, regardless of any truth involved.

    And supporting UN inspections of Iraqi facilities is not the same as supporting the needless invasion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  64. JKB says:

    @wr:

    She simply cited a Vanity Fair article and a Rush Limbaugh transcript. Just calm down. Bush being cool with the young is going to trend over the next week. Just watch. It’ll be fun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  65. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    While Iraq wasn’t a direct response to 9/11, 9/11 made Iraq much more likely.

    Say my wife divorces me, and in response I go to a bar, get drunk, drive home and cause an accident. While there may have been a proximate cause that made the drunk driving more likely than it would have been without that cause, that doesn’t make my drunk driving “thrust upon” me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  66. Tyrell says:

    @Pinky: You brought up a very good point about the cabinet. I would say (without having researched this) that most second term cabinet members are not up to the first term. Also, it seems most presidents spend their first term trying to get their programs passed, while the second terms lack this sort of drive and energy. They have also generally used up their influence, capital, and favors with the congress. If their party loses seats in the second term, things will get even worse.
    Second terms tend to be more on the damage control side. Much like a team trying to hold a lead for the entire second half.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. Pinky says:

    @Tyrell: Sure. And even if you subscribe to a “random events” type theory, the more times you flip a coin, the worse your chances are of getting heads every time. Eight years is a long stretch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  68. Steve V says:

    @Tyrell: Clinton survived Lewinsky pretty well, leaving office with approval ratings around 60%, IIRC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  69. Moosebreath says:

    @JKB:

    “Bush being cool with the young is going to trend over the next week.”

    Proving once again how the media is often called liberal, but in reality not so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  70. wr says:

    @JKB: Hey, the only person in the world who knows more than notable nut Ann Althouse about Kidz Today is Rush Limbaugh. You are really plugged in there.

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  71. Tyrell says:

    @Steve V: Bill Clinton was one of those people who was very hard to dislike.

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  72. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “Bill Clinton was one of those people who was very hard to dislike.”

    Not if you were a Republican. Or maybe you’ve forgotten the accusations of murder and cocaine smuggling.

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  73. jukeboxgrad says:

    Facebones:

    Do we need to once again go over all the lies that administration told to get us into Iraq?

    Yes, unfortunately. I hang out at NR, and there are still lots of people who say Bush didn’t lie. But then I show them proof (link) and they usually shut up.

    JKB:

    With … overwhelming support by both parties in Congress

    Not exactly. Most Ds in the House voted against the war, and the people who voted for the war had been fooled by intel that Bush cooked. Link, link.

    MarkedMan:

    Sending new grads over to be the on-the-ground guys for the Iraq reconstruction because they weren’t tainted by ‘experience’.

    This is a good moment to recall what candidate Bush said on 10/11/2000:

    I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation building. … I mean, we’re going to have some kind of nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not.

    For some reason that never won a prize for Lie of the Year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  74. jukeboxgrad says:

    David M:

    Assuming the GOP could actually repeal Obamacare, those stories would actually turn out to be true, as millions would lose health insurance and be unable to get replacement policies.

    Yes. Conservatives are telling us Obamacare is bad because it’s causing many people to lose their insurance, so they’re going to solve this problem by killing Obamacare, which will cause many people to lose their insurance. Makes perfect sense. They are hoping everyone will forget that they made a big deal about how wrong it is to cause people to lose their health insurance.

    The GOP doesn’t have anything to replace Obamacare with

    Indeed. The GOP cannot present a GOP alternative to Obamacare because Obamacare itself is the GOP alternative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  75. anjin-san says:

    “Bush being cool with the young is going to trend over the next week.”

    Well, a 15 year old was 5 when Bush took us into the Iraq debacle, so its kinda understandable.

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  76. ernieyeball says:

    test

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