George W. Bush

Joe Biden Slammed NSA Surveillance in 2006

We’ve already covered the conflicting statements that Barack Obama has made concerning government surveillance. As a United States Senator and presidential candidate, Obama said that the Bush Administration “puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and security we provide.” He made a similar statement during his inaugural address, also invoking the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. This rhetoric presents quite a contrast to what Obama is saying today.

Though he’s remained quiet on the current issues with the NSA obtaining the phone records of millions of Americans, Joe Biden wasn’t so quiet on the issue back in 2006. During an interview with CBS News, Biden, who was then-serving as a United States Senator, was very pointed in his oppositition to what he described as “intrusive” surveillance that was being conducted under the Bush Adminstration.

Sanford’s Strong Fiscal Conservative Views Worry Boehner

Mark Sanford

Speaker John Boehner and Republican leaders in the House are apparently worried about Rep.-elect Mark Sanford (R-SC):

Boehner on Tuesday morning suggested that he was less than thrilled about Sanford’s potential return to the House. And while the Speaker tweeted out a quick “congrats” to Sanford with the hash-tag jobs, a comment from his spokesman following the results was less than a bear-hug.
[…]
“He could be an added voice to the opposition — to those who like to make trouble for the Republican leadership,” GOP strategist Ron Bonjean, a former top House leadership aide, told The Hill. “It’ll definitely be a leadership management issue.”

Sanford made it clear in Tuesday night’s victory speech that he wasn’t returning to Washington to make friends — the same approach he took when he was a thorn in the side of GOP leadership during his first stint in Congress in the 1990s, and when he fought tooth-and-nail with the Republican-controlled statehouse during his governorship.

The newly elected congressman said voters had sent a “message to Washington, D.C., and a messenger to Washington, D.C., on the importance on changing things in that fair city.”

Obama’s First Term Regulations Come with a $70 Billion Price Tag

regulations

One of the great myths of the last decade is that the Bush Administration deregulated the economy. President Barack Obama has made this claim on multiple occasions as he and his supporters made their case that more regulation was needed after the Great Recession. But the truth of the matter was that George W. Bush was, as Veronique de Rugy wrote at Reason back in January 2009, the “biggest regulator since Nixon.”

“The Bush team has spent more taxpayer money on issuing and enforcing regulations than any previous administration in U.S. history,” wrote de Rugy. “Between fiscal year 2001 and fiscal year 2009, outlays on regulatory activities, adjusted for inflation, increased from $26.4 billion to an estimated $42.7 billion, or 62 percent.”

But since taking office in 2009, President Obama has ramped up regulation. In fact, he’s claimed the not-so-honorbale mantle of “biggest regulator since Nixon” from his predecessor.

According a new report by James Gattuso and Diane Katz from the Heritage Foundation, President Obama has imposed almost $70 billion in regulatory burdens on Americans, ranging from new financial rules via Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Unlike federal taxation and spending, there is no official accounting of total regulatory costs,” noted Gattuso and Katz. “Estimates range from hundreds of billions of dollars to nearly $2 trillion each year. However, the number and cost of new regulations can be tracked, and both are growing substantially.”

Obama’s Perilous Foreign Policy Path

To both a greater and lesser degree of success, foreign policy scholars have tried to explain the disconnect between President Obama’s soaring idealism of America’s role in the world and his halting political caution about it in discrete situations. That vacillation has drawn criticism, both for being too meddlesome and for not being meddlesome enough.

Daily Caller contributor Adam Bates ably sums up the president’s incoherence as “not based on any particular logic or worldview beyond the president’s own desire to distance himself from America’s foreign policy past without bothering to actually change any policies.” Indeed. As this author has written in the past, specifically on counterterrorism policies,

On the one hand, Obama openly rejected Bush’s ‘with us or against us’ approach to foreign affairs. On the other hand, Obama’s sophisticated demeanor opened him to criticism, with hawks condemning him as too weak and easily manipulated by America’s enemies.

Fusionism is a Necessity: Winning Minds Requires a Conservative/Libertarian Alliance

There has been much debate in recent weeks over fusionism inside the liberty movement, especially now that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has become a prominent national political figure. This debate has been raging for years, but has really taken off for a number of reasons.

Writing yesterday at National Review, Jonah Goldberg, author of The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, noted that conservatives and libertarians have always shared a core belief in economics, making us natural allies:

What often gets left out in discussions of the American Right is that fusionism isn’t merely an alliance, it is an alloy. Fusionism runs through the conservative heart. William F. Buckley, the founder of the conservative movement, often called himself a “libertarian journalist.” Asked about that in a 1993 interview, he told C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb that the question “Does this augment or diminish human liberty?” informed most of what he wrote.

Most pure libertarians and the tiny number of truly statist social conservatives live along the outer edge of the Venn diagram that is the American Right. Most self-identified conservatives reside in the vast overlapping terrain between the two sides.

Just look at where libertarianism has had its greatest impact: economics. There simply isn’t a conservative economics that is distinct from a libertarian one. Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises, James M. Buchanan & Co. are gods of the libertarian and conservative pantheons alike. When Pat Buchanan wanted to move America towards protectionism and statism, he had to leave the party to do it.

Obama Says He’s Not Dick Cheney — Dick Cheney Disagrees

Dick Cheney

During a recent closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats, President Barack Obama fended off questions about his controversial drones program, which could put American citizens accused of terrorism in its crosshairs. In seeking to downplay his administration’s use of drones, President Obama claimed that he is no Dick Cheney, whose hawkish foreign policy views carried significant weight in the Bush Administration:

President Barack Obama’s defense to Democratic senators complaining about how little his administration has told Congress about the legal justifications for his drone policy: Dick Cheney was worse.

That’s part of what two senators in the room recounted of Obama’s response when, near the outset of his closed-door session with the Senate Democratic conference on Tuesday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) confronted the president over the administration’s refusal for two years to show congressional intelligence committees Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memos justifying the use of lethal force against American terror suspects abroad.
[…]
“This is not Dick Cheney we’re talking about here,” he said, according to Democratic senators who asked not to be named discussing the private meeting.

Dick Cheney apparently didn’t get that memo. The former vice president spoke positively of President Obama’s drones program last month in an interview with Charlie Rose. Cheney said, “I think it’s a good program and I don’t disagree with the basic policy that the Obama administration is pursuing now in those regards.”

Oliver Stone says Americans are living in an “Orwellian state”

Oliver Stone

While he isn’t exactly friendly to the free market point of view, you have to hand it to Oliver Stone, at least he’s consistent in his criticism of presidents who overstep their constitutional boundaries.

During a recent interview, Stone, who directed JFK and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, told the Russia Today that the United States “has become an Orwellian state” and called President Barack Obama a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

While many on the Left have given silent consent to the policies of the current administration, including reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act and robbing Americans of due process through indefinite detention and drone strikes, Stone expressed shock and outrage at Obama, who was supposed to be “a great hope for change.”

“I think under the disguise of sheep’s clothing [Obama] has been a wolf,” Stone told the Russia Today. “That because of the nightmare of the Bush presidency that preceded him, people forgave him a lot.”

He added, “He has taken all the Bush changes he basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them.”

Stone, who has recently co-authored a new book with Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States, showed concern for what contempt President Obama has shown during his first term and what his second term may have in store. He explained, “[W]e are going into the second administration that is living outside the law and does not respect the law and foundations of our system and he is a constitutional lawyer.”

“Without the law, it is the law of the jungle,” Stone noted. “Nuremburg existed for a reason and there was a reason to have trials, there is a reason for due process – ‘habeas corpus’ as they call it in the United States.”

Karl Rove’s actions speak louder than his words

Karl Rove

Coming under fire for his new PAC — the Conservative Victory Project — Karl Rove, a former White House advisor under George W. Bush and founder of American Crossroads, said this weekend during a visit on Fox News Sunday that the Republican Party needs “fewer Christine O’Donnells and more Rand Pauls.”

Here’s the segment, in case you missed it:

That’s interesting. While you’re not going to get an argument from me that O’Donnell was a terrible candidate, Rove wasn’t exactly fond of Rand Paul during his bid for the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky back in 2009. On December 10, 2009, Rove penned an editorial on the GOP’s chances of taking back the Senate. Complimenting candidate recruitment for that cycle in Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio, Rove wrote, “Only Kentucky’s open seat vacated by Jim Bunning causes the GOP squeamishness.”

Once proud civil libertarians, Democrats have now accepted Bush’s policies

Barack Obama and George W. Bush

During his 2008, presidential campaign, Barack Obama spoke forcefully against then-President George W. Bush’s expansion of executive power, leading many to believe that he would strengthen civil liberties. In March 2008, Jeffrey Rosen wrote at The New York Times that “[i]f Barack Obama wins in November, we could have not only our first president who is an African-American, but also our first president who is a civil libertarian.”

That was the great “hope” about Obama, to borrow a phrase from his 2008 campaign. There is no question that Bush waged an assault on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by signing the PATRIOT Act, approving warrantless wiretaps, among other concerning policies he enacted.

But since taking office in 2009, President Obama has not only kept these policies of his predecessor in place, but he actually greatly expanded them — and he has done so with the approval of neo-conservatives, who were frequent targets of the Left during Bush’s presidency. During an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS just this morning, former Vice President Dick Cheney praised President Obama’s drones program.

The irony here is thick. BuzzFeed noted recently that there are several aspects to Obama’s presidency that not many Democrats are willing to acknowledge — from the troops surge in Afghanistan to the “kill list” and drones to torture of terrorist suspects — though when Bush pushed them, they absolutely lost their minds.

No, Saxby Chambliss is not a fiscal conservative

Taxby

In a significant win for grassroots fiscal conservatives, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) announced on Friday that he would not seek re-election in 2014. It didn’t take long for many establishment Republicans begin railing about the loss of another potential compromiser in the Senate.

Over at Slate, Dave Weigel, who runs a great blog that is a must-read, tried to point out that Chambliss isn’t the moderate that many on the right have made him out to be:

[W]hat non-conservative votes did Chambliss ever cast? Bush tax cuts? He was an aye. Iraq War? Aye. DOMA? Aye. Gay marriage constitutional amendment? Aye. Ryan budget, which was never going to pass in the Senate? Aye. Partial birth abortion ban? Aye. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal? Nay. Assault weapons ban? Nay. And so on.

All Chambliss did, to irritate conservatvies, was 1) providing a vote for a compromise, when said compromise would pass without him, and 2) talking to Democrats about maybe passing a deficit deal that might have raised taxes. He didn’t stick a dagger in Robert Bork, as Arlen Specter did; he didn’t work out a bipartisan health care bill that was mined for Obamacare, as Bob Bennett did. The role of “unacceptable compromiser” is being defined downward.

It’s true that Chambliss has carried the traditional conservative line on social issues and the Second Amendment, points that Weigel specifically makes. There is no argument to the contrary. Being from Georgia, I can tell you that there is much more to the dissatisfaction with Chambliss than his willingness to compromise, though that certainly is a significant factor.

 


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