Obama’s Thorough Repudiation of Bush
I suppose it’s hardly the most surprising point to make about the change-we-can-believe-in president, but it was striking how willing Obama was to repudiate the Bush administration in announcing his appointments. He’s keeping Bob Gates, indeed, but with direct orders to end the Iraq war. Torture? Both he and Attorney General-designate Eric Holder stressed the “constitutional guarantees that define us as a nation” (Holder) and how “America’s values are America’s greatest export” (Obama) and how “the attorney general serves the American people” — an unsubtle shot at how Bush placed his personal lawyer, Alberto Gonzales, atop the Justice Dept. Rather than sending one of the United Nations’ most implacable enemies to represent the U.S. at the world body, Obama is sending one of his most trusted advisers, and giving her the equivalent of cabinet rank, with the clear mission of “strengthening international institutions.”
I wonder what President Bush must have thought when he heard these announcements. Particularly when Obama delivered this line:
We can shape our times instead of being shaped by them. Together, we will meet the challenges of the 21st century not with fear, but with hope.
It’s pretty clear who tried to met the challenges of the 21st century in the most isolated, intellectually cramped and fearful ways possible.