(AP Photo/LM Otero) Texas Governor Rick Perry waits to be introduced at a gun shop in Dallas, Thursday, September 16, 2010.
In 1999, as he was preparing his run for the White House, George W. Bush made an important purchase. The son of a president and grandson of a senator, born in Connecticut and schooled at Andover, Yale, and Harvard, bought himself a ranch. Over the next ten years, he would repeatedly bring photographers out to document him clearing brush, always with Stetson atop his head and gigantic belt buckle firmly in place.
Ta-Nehisi Coates isn't worried that Rick Perry might be too dumb to be president:
I'm sure there some level of imbecility which would be too much for Americans, but it seems that the ability to understand and speak to the ambitions of a critical mass of the electorate is much more important. Intelligence might help that effort. But empathy--or at least the ability to communicate empathy--with your audience seems much more important.
My post for Greg today is on Obama's recent dip below 40 percent in the Gallup Daily tracking poll--and how the administration should ignore the daily numbers and worry more about the economy:
What should worry the Obama administration is the reason Reagan won and Bush lost — economic growth. Strong economic growth in the later stages of the first Reagan administration resulted in his winning reelection by a landslide—while a faltering economy ensured the elder Bush would lose reelection to Bill Clinton.
I want to address a separate claim from Kevin Drum's defense of Obama's effectiveness as a politician, specifically Drum's argument that "in two years Obama has done more to enact a liberal agenda than George Bush did for the conservative agenda in eight."
What's more, Obama also won passage during his first two years of a stimulus bill, a landmark healthcare bill that Democrats had been trying to pass for the better part of a century, a financial reform bill, and much needed reform of student loans. And more: a firm end to the Bush torture regime, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a hate crimes bill, a successful rescue of the American car industry, and resuscitation of the NLRB. Oh, and he killed Osama bin Laden too.
The New York Times had this chart on display as part of a Sunday opinion column on the source of the federal budget deficit:
At $1.44 trillion to $5.07 trillion – a difference of $3.63 trillion – President Obama’s policies have been far less expensive than that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. By and large, our large deficits owe most of their existence to policies pursued by President Bush – his tax cuts on middle- and high-income earners, and his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not long ago, the Obama administration argued that they didn't need congressional approval for the military operation in Libya, because according to their interpretation of the War Powers Act, it doesn't qualify as "hostilities." This position was roundly mocked from all quarters.
Jesse Taylor points out that back in 2009, David Brookswrote that "These are the realistic choices for America’s Afghanistan policy — all out or all in, surrender the place to the Taliban or do armed nation-building," while today he concludes that "Perhaps we don’t know enough, can’t plan enough, can’t implement effectively enough to coordinate nation building with national security objectives."
Former President George W. Bush set the record straight on the important activity he was engaged in when President Obama informed him that Osama bin Laden had been killed:
"I was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies," Bush said when asked what he was doing when he received the call from President Obama
Bush sold himself as the down home, folksy candidate during both his presidential campaigns -- as opposed to John Kerry, an elitist who went windsurfing. Bush was the candidate people would most want to share a beer with.
The death of Osama bin Laden reignited debates over Bush-era detention policy. On Monday, conservatives rushed to claim that the CIA was only able to locate bin Laden as a result of information gained during "enhanced interrogation" sessions. While the details of the hunt for bin Laden are still being laid out, The New York Timesreports that waterboarding and other morally questionable tactics played little to no role in locating bin Laden.