The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

Alexis de Toqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The Continental Congress

The Continental Congress

George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington at Valley Forge

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Obama Vs. Bush

From Town Hall:


Bill O'Reilly

Obama vs. Bush

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America is a fascinating country. If you don't believe me, consider this: In the space of just ten years, we have elected two men to the presidency who could not be more opposite. That fact was clarified for me last week when I spent some time with George W. Bush.



After disappearing for almost two years, President Bush is back in the public arena with a book about his decision-making during the eight years he spent in the Oval Office. But the former president is not interested in commenting on Barack Obama, nor does he want to reinvolve himself in the political process. He simply wants to sell some books and go back to the golf course. In a televised interview, he told me that he would most likely not campaign for Republicans in 2012 and would only offer private advice if it is sought.



Also, the former president feels no obligation to comment on his policy decisions (or lack thereof) that continue to this day -- things like Iraq, Afghanistan and the brutal economy. Simply put, Bush did his time and believes he has no further obligation to the public.



This was my fourth televised conversation with Bush, and it is clear to me that he is a reactive guy, not a proactive person. His major decisions were all made after something happened. They were not foisted upon the country. The one exception is Social Security reform. He tried to change the system and got hammered. Aside from that, Bush basically watched events dictate which way his presidency turned.



Contrast that with President Obama's administration, and you have two different galaxies. Obama is proactive to the max, seeing his mandate as to reshape the nation into a more just society. Obama has a huge agenda and is not shy about blaming the country's problems on his predecessor. It is hard to imagine Obama going quietly into the night once his tenure is over. He sees himself as a reformer, a person who must fight for change he can believe in. I don't think that will stop when he returns to private life.



Bush did not seek much social change because he believes it is not needed. He's a traditionalist, a man who thinks the country is noble and doesn't require an extensive overhaul. Obama is the exact opposite, believing that U.S. policy is flawed both at home and abroad, and that a new set of rules must be instituted. Both men are sincere, but they could not be more opposed in their points of view.



But we the people elected both of them. What does that say about us? Well, it says we are open to suggestions and are willing to give different philosophies a chance. We remain, however, a performance-driven society. The folks want results from our elected leaders.



Both presidents have felt the sting of those expectations. That may be the only thing they have in common.





Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of "Who's Looking Out For You?" and Pinheads and Patriots.

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