Is Obama an Overreaction to Bush?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Oct 25, 2008 12:46 PM
It has long been observed that each presidential election is really just a reaction (or overreaction) to the sitting president. 

For example, George W. Bush's promise to restore honor and integrity to the office of president was an obvious contrast to the eight years of Bill Clinton.  Some might even say electing the plain-talking Texas governor was an overreaction to the Clinton years...

This phenomenon is alive and well -- and appears to be working especially well for Barack Obama this year, as is evidenced by this quote from Ken Adelman:

"Granted, McCain's views are closer to mine than Obama's. But I've learned over this Bush era to value competence along with ideology. Otherwise, our ideology gets discredited, as it has so disastrously over the past eight years."
... First, it is ironic that Ken Adelman -- the man who assured us Iraq would be a "cakewalk" -- would criticize Bush's competency.  Second, if Adelman values conservative philosophy above all else, shouldn't he consider a "competent" liberal be the worst possible combination?  After all, an incompetent liberal might not be able to pass liberal legislation -- but a competent liberal would use his intellect and ability to pass tax hikes, create more departments, nationalize more industries, etc.

In 2000, the thing to value was character and integrity, because it was perceived that Clinton lacked that.  In 2008, the thing to value is competence, because it is perceived that Bush lacked that.  It's funny how the thing to value changes, depending on who the previous president was ... 

Barack Obama was smart to anticipate this election would be a referendum on George W. Bush.  As such, he has sought to craft an image that contrasts Bush in both substance and style.  It has worked remarkably well -- even some Republicans are falling for it ...