Obama Ties Clinton Policies to Bush’s

In a nice little political jujitsu move, Barack Obama managed to attack both Hillary Clinton and John McCain at the same time, by tying them together and tying them both to Bush:

It’s time for new leadership that understands that the way to win a debate with John McCain is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq; who agreed with him by voting to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; who agrees with him in embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don’t like; and who actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed.

We need to offer the American people a clear contrast on national security, and when I am the nominee of the Democratic Party, that’s exactly what I will do. Talking tough and tallying up your years in Washington is no substitute for judgment, and courage, and clear plans. It’s not enough to say you’ll be ready from Day One — you have to be right from Day One.

I think that this is an excellent attack, both in the fact that its substantive and there’s nothing really unfair about it.

Now that Edwards is out of the race and John McCain is the GOP frontrunner, one of Obama’s great strengths in the campaign is his foreign policy positions. Bush’s foreign policy has become rather unpopular, and the fact of the matter is that McCain’s foreign policy is Bush-plus (Bush isn’t hawkish enough for him), and Hillary Clinton’s, frankly, isn’t much different–especially if we judge by her campaign advisors, her Senate voting record, and her husband’s record while in office.

It’s worth noting that while it’s a fashion among the punditocracy that there’s “hardly any policy difference” between Clinton and Obama, that isn’t exactly the case. True, large portions of their domestic economic policies are similar, but on crucial issues like civil liberties and foreign policy, there are important differences. Unfortunately, these aren’t exactly covered well by the media. Or at all.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Iraq War, , , , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Now that Edwards is out of the race and John McCain is the GOP frontrunner, one of Obama’s great strengths in the campaign is his foreign policy positions.

    How is the fact that Imam Hussein Obama’s foreign policy views–shaped by his training in an Islamic Madrasa–be a “great strength”?

    The fact that he has been anti-troop since day one is pretty unsettling.

  2. Ron Chusid says:

    Triumph who comments above is obviously someone who will not vote for any Democrat, so it doesn’t matter who gets the nomination.

    In reality Obama never attended a Madrassa, he certainly is not an Iman, and he has never been anti-troop. Those who are really anti-troop are those who sent them to be in the middle of a civil war with inadequate supplies and a reluctance to pay for their health care when needed.

  3. > clear contrast on national security

    Yes, it is quite a contrast. Obama doesn’t believe in it.

  4. Triumph is a very weak parody of a Republican who needs some new material. I think the writer’s strike has got him down.

  5. yetanotherjohn says:

    I would be more impressed with Obama if he would stop talking about the idea of change and start talking about the specifics of what that change would look like. It is one thing to say you don’t like how things are. It is quite another to put together (or even have) a cogent idea on how to actual implement policies that would improve things.

  6. Tlaloc says:

    It’s worth noting that while it’s a fashion among the punditocracy that there’s “hardly any policy difference” between Clinton and Obama, that isn’t exactly the case. True, large portions of their domestic economic policies are similar, but on crucial issues like civil liberties and foreign policy, there are important differences.

    I wish.

    The fact is that Obama talked a good game when he wasn’t in a position where he had to actually do anything. He said the right things about the war and torture. Since getting elected a senator his performance has been less than stellar. His voting record is so similar to Hillary’s as to be indistinguishable.

    Unfortunately for the dems the only significant difference between the candidates is leadership style, not policy substance. I almost envy the republicans who at least had 8 different flavors of crazy to choose from…

  7. Steve Plunk says:

    Once again late to the fight.

    YAJ strikes down the idea this is “substantive”. I couldn’t agree more. Substance would entail actually describing how those positions are flawed and what alternatives he would provide. I see none of that there.

    Associating these opponents to a President who is not running for office exposes a lack of leadership abilities. He wants to fight an adversary who is not in the ring. Tell us what you will do Sen. Obama, tell what ideas you have and why we should support them.

  8. Pug says:

    How can you tell you are about to read something written by a fool?

    He starts off with something like this, How is the fact that Imam Hussein Obama’s . . ., thereby discrediting himself in advance.

    It might sell with the low-information bigot, but other than that, whatever he has to say is pretty worthless.

  9. Michael says:

    It’s not enough to say you’ll be ready from Day One — you have to be right from Day One.

    Whomever wrote that line deserves a raise.