Diana West

I think that's because if Republicans were to discuss the past decade's wars -- what worked, what didn't, whether the USA should fight for constitutions that enshrine Shariah (Iraq's and Afghanistan's) -- they would have to discuss the president whose tenure was dominated by these wars. And the last thing they want to discuss is George W. Bush.

This is a grave political mistake. The fact is, President Obama has continued much of the Bush war agenda in both Iraq and Afghanistan -- an agenda polls indicate most Americans don't support. For much of Obama's term, key war-making personnel were Bush holdovers, from Defense Secretary Bill Gates to Gen. David Petraeus. The war plan for "Obama's war" in Afghanistan came off the Bush drawing board.

Even Obama's withdrawal from Iraq was on Bush's schedule. Opponents, including most GOP candidates, seem to forget that Obama agreed with them. After all, he pleaded with Iraq to allow some U.S. forces to remain.

How does this play out in Election 2012? Without a GOP strategy to confront the essentially non-conservative mistakes of the Bush presidency, I predict GOP defeat. Come November, having failed to repudiate George W. Bush's bailouts and stimulus spending, Mr. GOP will be unable to make the clear case for free markets, let alone for repealing socialized medicine. Reverting to Republican "good manners," he won't argue against leaving a redistributionist and collectivist in the Oval Office, either (and forget about the phony birth certificate). He'll probably think he has an ace in the hole -- foreign policy, traditionally the Republican strong suit.

But, no. Failing to have distanced himself from key Bush policies, the GOP candidate has failed to distance himself from Obama's, too. Then Obama shows his cards, the pieces de resistance: the hit on Osama bin Laden (operationally insignificant, but no matter); the killing of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (never mind the USA actually supported al-Qaida allies to get it done); more drone-killed hilltop jihadis than Bush ever got. In a campaign endgame, such strokes could give Obama the empty but winning boost.

Sure, Iraq's al-Maliki can clam up about everything, but we know better. Or do we?


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).