Of course any direct comparison is impossible because we are talking about two different times in history. As we all know, many of President Obama's biggest challenges since coming to office have been to try to clean up the messes made by the Bush administration. When it comes to the kind of issues emos are usually referring to with this lie, one of the most vexing is the question of what to do with the small group of detainees at Gitmo who are the most dangerous but can't be tried in a court of law due to the torture they were subjected to by the Bush administration. I could go on with tons of examples like this, but lets let that one suffice.
The other way of making a comparison is to think about what the Bush administration would have done with the issues faced by President Obama. Since the former president has taken himself off the national stage, we don't have much of a read on what he thinks about current events. But we all know that it was actually Bush's vice-president who was calling the shots when it comes to this discussion.
Right on cue comes Dick Cheney's speech in Wyoming over the weekend. According to reports, he not only called President Obama's national security nominees "second rate," he criticized the president's reduction in defense spending and lamented the lack of military intervention in Iran (as well as the countries involved in the Arab Spring).
Bush's would-be successor John McCain talked way back in 2008 about his desires to "bomb-bomb-bomb Iran." In addition, McCain is now terribly disappointed that we haven't gotten ourselves involved in another war in Syria.
If these are any indications, it doesn't take much imagination to think about how different a Bush/Cheney administration would have been over these last 4 years from the one we've witnessed with President Obama. They took us to the brink of an apocalypse financially and might have sent us over the edge in a war against Iran/Syria with at least the covert alignment of Russia and China against us.
But perhaps our emo friends would want to limit the comparison to Bush/Cheney's war on terror. You have to wonder if they'd really buy the idea that Dick Cheney would have engaged in a discussion about how to actually limit executive power in a way that could lead to the end of that particular war.
An administration official who spoke of the White House deliberations on the condition of anonymity said President Obama had asked his security and legal advisers a year ago “to see how you could have an independent review” of planned strikes. “That includes possible judicial review.”Yeah, right. It would require nothing short of magical thinking to assume Cheney would go there given that consolidating executive power was his raison d'être.
Yes, President Obama made the decision to wage a war on al Qaeda (a complete re-focus from the war on terror). And due to the mess Bush/Cheney made of things, along with the spinelessness of Congress, he hasn't closed Gitmo. Those are things that reasonable people could have a discussion about.
But the reason we call them emos in the first place is that they say really ignorant stuff like Obama = Bush. That kind of stupid has no place in a reality-based conversation.
UPDATE: If you think I'm overstating the prevalence of this argument amongst the emos, Glenn Greenwald has done us the favor today of rounding up many of the quotes from people who are spouting this kind of nonsense.
I am once again reminded about how much the arguments of Greenwald and other emos about this are dependent on their belief that President Obama has accepted the idea that this is a perpetual war. Of course that is what they see because that is what they want to believe. A reality-based look at the evidence would suggest otherwise.