11103. 09 Comp 1November 12, 2010Comparison/Contrast Essay George W. Bush / Barack Obama Many would argue that former president George W. Bush and current president Barack Obama are very different. While this is true some would be surprised at the similarities between these presidents. The differences between the two presidents go beyond style, of course.
However, if one looked at the major economic and defense policies the differences, when any, are fairly minor. George W.Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut. Bush was the oldest of six children of George Bush, who served as the forty-first president of the United States (1989-93), and Barbara Bush.
He grew up in a well- to -do family who made their money in the oil industry and politics. Bush went to all of the best schools but never excelled in academics or sports. After graduating he then went into the oil business, later selling his company for millions which he used to sponsor his campaign when he decided to run for governor of Texas.
After serving consecutive four-year terms as governor of Texas Bush decided to run as the Republican candidate for the president of the United States. With his inauguration, Bush became only the second son of a president to assume the nation’s highest office. While former president George W.
Bush grew up privileged, from a well-to-do family; President Barack Obama had a very different upbringing. Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was raised by his mother, Ann Dunham and went to live with his paternal grandparents when he was ten years old.His mother was from Wichita, Kansas and his father was born of Lou ethnicity in Nyanza Province, Kenya. He excelled in athletics and graduated with academic honors. Barack Obama worked as a civil rights lawyer in Chicago for several years, helping the underprivileged before deciding to run for the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat. He won the election in 1996. In February 2007, Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
On November 4th, 2008, Barack Obama defeated Republican presidential nominee John McCain for the position of U. S. President. On January 20, 2009 Obama became the forty- fourth president of the United States – and the first African American to hold this office. While one can find many similarities, which will later be mentioned, many differences also separated these two president’s policies and beliefs regarding the Middle East and War on Terror, their bailout and stimulus packages, healthcare reforms, and religion and federally funded faith-based groups.Page 1 To understand the difference between the Bush and Obama world views, a good place to begin is by examining their respective definitions of the strategic threat.
In the aftermath of September eleventh, Bush was faced with a choice: to declare a narrow war against al-Qaeda, with Afghanistan as the central target; or to adopt a more expansive definition of the enemy. Bush went wide. He defined the strategic threat as “Nexus” – as, that is, the convergence of State sponsors of terrorism, terrorist groups, and weapons of mass destruction.
That definition placed the United States in conflict not only with al-Qaeda, but also with Saddam’s Iraq, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Bush did not regard all of these adversaries as direct enemies of the United States; nevertheless the War on Terror drew a bright line, and then lumped together all of these adversaries on the other side of it. Obama considered this lumping process crude. The idea of a War on Terror was a classic example of strategic overreach.
The effort to osterize terror sponsors backfired. It forced a number of potentially helpful countries, such as Iran and Syria, solidly into the enemy camp.These regimes, though unsavory and opposed to Washington on some issues (particularly those relating to Israel) nonetheless share with the United States a deep hostility to al-Qaeda.
A less Manichean approach would, therefore, allow Washington to exploit this overlap in interests. Consequently, Obama has drawn a much narrower definition of the threat. He has declared was on al-Qaeda and related movements. Obama’s perspective is based on the consensus of the foreign policy establishment. In December 2006 this consensus was codified in a athorative document, “The Iraq Study Group Report. The report called for five new major policies: withdrawal from Iraq; renewed focus on Afghanistan; diplomatic engagement of Iran and Syria, and a revitalized Arab-Israeli Peace Process.
Although the report is all but forgotten today, it is of great historical interest, because it captured the bipartisan critique of the Bush foreign policy, which served, in effect, as the operational playbook of the Obama administration when it first took office. The wide and narrow definitions of the strategic threat are reflections of two irreconcilable sets of beliefs about the nature of the international system.The wide definition assumes that the vital interests of the United States are threatened today by the convergence of a series of factors: hostile rogue states, nuclear proliferation, terrorist networks with global reach, indifferent allies, unhelpful international institutions, and competition from Russia and China, among others. Taken individually, each of these problems is manageable; together, however, they form a potent danger. Particularly in the Middle East, the threat is so significant that it requires resolute attention and a readiness, when necessary, to use American military power unilaterally.The bailout and stimulus packages both presidents put into effect were also different.
Under Bush the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was put into effect. It authorized the United States Secretary of the Treasury to spend up to seven hundred billion dollars to purchase distressed assets, especially mortgage-backed securities, and make capital injections into banks. Both foreign and domestic banks were included in the program; With the purpose of purchasing bad assets, reducing uncertainty regarding the worth of the remaining assets, and restoring confidence in the credit markets.Page 2 Supporters of the plan argued that the market intervention called for by the plan was vital to prevent further erosion of confidence in the U. S. credit markets and that failure to act could lead to an economic depression.
President Obama revealed a plan at the start of 2010 to revive our financial system in the short term with a stimulus package which brought in an initial seventy-five billion dollars to the economy, mostly in the shape of tax breaks and cash aimed at seniors, house owners, working class families and those who are without jobs.The plan also contained forty-five billion dollars in backup funds which could be released into the economy rapidly as required, or in case the situation continued to become worse. Some of the smaller parts, but not any less important at all, of Obama’s stimulus package are as follows. Tax breaks of two hundred fifty million would be given to workers and for their families. For seniors, a bonus of two hundred fifty million would be received as part of their social security funds.A tax break of two hundred fifty million extra was also put into place for workers and seniors in the event the situation continued to get worse. Although less specific, provisions to contribute funds to homeowners who have been badly hurt by the economic crisis were also included. Funds were also set up directed specifically to the states which had been damaged the most by the crisis, so that they may be able to continue to provide their services.
One of the most important features of the stimulus package was that it did not need a long and bureaucratic process to be implemented. This meant that the effects could be felt in a much shorter time and across more of society. Both presidents’ health care reforms were also different.
As president, Bush proposed and later passed a health care reform plan to assist uninsured Americans by providing tax credits for the poor and middle class and initiating major reforms in the private health insurance system. The president said his four-point plan would do the following.It would make health care more affordable. It would reduce the runaway costs of health care by making the health care system more efficient. And it was aimed at cutting waste and excess in the present system while getting the growth in government programs under control. Barack Obama’s health care reform plan was a little different than Bush’s.
It was designed to strengthen employer-based coverage, make insurance companies accountable, and protect patient choice of doctor and care without government interferences.Under the plan if a person likes their current health insurance, nothing changes, except their costs will go down by as much as twenty-five hundred per year. If a person does not have health insurance, they will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options. Barack Obama believes we must redesign our health system to reduce inefficiency and waste in order to improve health care quality, which will drive down costs for families and individuals. While the differences are many between both presidents, one might be surprised to learn about some of the similarities also.Their bailout and stimulus packages were different, however, both plans were passed in spite of public disapproval and both bills were presented to the public as something that had to be done to save us all. Both plans were rushed through without giving the public and even Congress enough time to dissect the legislation. One could find too many similarities to defend one but criticize the other.
Page 3 Both presidents’ policies and views regarding the War on Terror and crisis in the Middle East also had many common factors. Bush said the U. S. ould defend Israel against Iran. Obama also said the U. S. will defend Israel against Iran.
Bush warned Israel against attacking Iran. Obama warns Israel against attacking Iran. Both presidents supported financial funding to Israel and both also pledged Aid to Palestine. It’s not that either one was adamantly on one side of the issue.
They both have very similar levels of involvement, action, and proposals. Many times the plans of Bush and Obama in relation to Israel and Palestine have come up in political disputes. However, ultimately they support the same stance.