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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So What If Bush Did It Too?

Mike Allen at Politico created news yesterday, by reporting that Shoe-bomber Richard Reid was read Miranda rights in December 2001.

The argument goes that since the Shoe-bomber was given Miranda rights while George Bush was President in December 2001, Obama is insulated from criticism for the decision to read Miranda rights to the Undie-bomber in December 2009.

Tom McGuire takes that argument apart on the facts, showing very different circumstances in December 2001 versus December 2009.

But the argument, which Steve Benen adores, is even weaker than the weak factual comparisons.

If Bush were wrong in hindsight, that would not make Obama right for doing the same thing with the benefit of the hindsight Bush did not have. I think we all learned a similar principle in kindergarten.

It would be similar to saying that because we may have exited a bus at the wrong stop once, we must do so forever despite knowing of our prior error.

Given all that we learned in the eight years between the two failed bombings about al-Qaeda networks, the policy changes in the interim, and the creation of the legally-valid Guantanamo military tribunals capable of trying such individuals, the Obama administration can find no solace in a "Bush did it too" argument.

Benen is correct that some people have been "acting like shameless, transparent, dishonest hacks" on this issue. But it's not the Republicans.

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  1. This "argument" is very frustrating for the reasons you state. Not only is it intellectually dishonest but it also relies on a logical fallacy (which, I guess, is also intellectual dishonest if the fallacy is understood as such as it seems to be).

    The same principle applies to BO's statement during his SOTU that he's following JFK and Reagan in nuclear disarmament. The idea that either President Kennedy or President Reagan would, in this world with all that is going on with Iran, N. Korea, and terrorists (not to mention the fact that we are all but broke), do what they did THEN, in a different world, facing a totally different threat, is absurd at best. There is no way that either man would be as naive and ignorant as BO is about foreign policy, and I doubt very much that either man would be talking about disarming while Iran is busily building up a nuclear program and likely to share said nukes with terrorists.

    Everything BO says and does is suspect as far as I'm concerned. He's dangerous and leading us all straight into a nuclear war. Bummer for him that Bush didn't do that first or he could use that as "justification."

  2. It might be a bad argument, but it seems to be the only argument that Obama has. It also underscores the problem of Republicans acting like Democrats for 6 years. If you are going to campaign as the party of limited government, strong national defense, etc.. you cannot act like Democrats. For, as we see now, Democratic ideas can never fly with the American people unless they can say "well, the Republicans did it too."

    So, while the argument is flawed, it is the only thing Obama has, and the only thing he can use to push his unpopular ideas. So, the blame here is not on Obama for doing what he must. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of George Bush, and the majorities that he had in Congress for 6 years.

  3. Not to mention the fact that the left thinks that everything Bush did was wrong, so when they pull up the "Bush did it" defense, I ask, "Oh, so you APPROVE of how Bush handled things!"

  4. In reading the article note that they used the wrong questioning process from the beginning. I have worked around a number of police in the South and they use a much different technique. If one in injuried and has not told everything that is in their personel history, then their wounds are not usually a primary concern. Their is nothing like the sight of maggots on your skin to loosen the tongue.

  5. Couldn't agree more. I can't believe people can make this "Bush did it" argument with a straight face. It's the same pathetic argument being used to justify Obama's insane spending. The circumstances surrounding terrorism and how to cope with it were very different in 2001 than they are now. Ecnomic circumstances are very different now than they were just a few years ago.

    Even if you cringed at Bush's spending - as I did - do the mistakes/sins of a past president justify the mistaks/sins of the current president? That is certainly the desperate argument of the left. Absurd. What a ridiculously backwards argument.

    @Phoenix - Ha! That's an excellent comeback - turn it back on them.

  6. Wasn't Bush using precedents set by Clinton when dealing with the individual who did little or limited actual damage?

    History is not a segmented function, it is continuous. That is what allows hindsight, the experience factor, which this president seems to think can be avoided by the power of his high intellect alone, unless of course his intellect fails him, then it is important that we learn a little history.

    Bush is a poor miserable sinner who failed Obama by thought, word and deed; by things he has done and failed to do. For this he deserves his eternal punishment and he seems to be getting it.

  7. I hate this argument.
    It assumes that:

    I, and other conservatives, agreed with all Bush did

    That the world is exactly the same as it was at whatever time Bush did whatever he did

    That now enlightened liberals agree with Bush (so why don't they stop blaming and bashing him if so much of what he did was good because Obama is now finding the same things make sense)

    It's a lame and illogical argument made by those who cannot defend Obama because his acts are indefensible with logic, or they are so uneducated that they just can't think of any other argument. You know it works with most liberals though as they don't care about facts or logical arguments.

  8. Obummer is a lawyer...like Holder.
    They do not follow the Constitution...they rely on stare decis...judicial history of decisions...thus, is some judge messed up a ruling, that ruling governs all going forward judicial arguments...forget about what the Constitution might ACTUALLY hold.
    So..Obummer and Holder are just doing the lawyer thing...and they get to blame it on BUSH...the "mistaken judge" that came before them...so since BUSH did it, the Obummer is supposed to do it and use BUSH as the excuse for why he is CORRECT.

    Kind of makes the whole "change" thing look like a lie, doesn't it?

  9. I've learned that virtually all criticism that comes from the left, almost without exception, is driven by clinical projection. Liberals can not see their own defects of character, but they imagine them in others where those defects do not, in fact, exist.
    In this case, defenders of the administration see its critics as being partisan hacks who are cynically trying to score political points against the president. They believe this because they themselves spent 8 years acting like partisan hacks making cynical attacks to score political points against President Bush. Deep down, they assume that their opponents' motives are as shallow and mendacious as they subconsciously recognize their own motives to be.
    The result is that they are satisfied to answer criticism by taking a swipe back to even the score. It never even occurs to liberals to ask themselves if the policy is good or bad, as long as they can use it as an opportunity to attack their opponent. This is why liberal Democrats can not be trusted with the security of our nation, plain and simple.