The Plank

Who You Calling Bush-cheney Lite?

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Netroots grand poobah Jerome Armstrong, who seldom has a nice word for Obama, is apopletic about Obama's Pakistan statement, deeming it

Basically, a continuation of the Bush doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive attacks in the mid-east, with Obama adding Pakistan to the list.

Armstrong goes on to ask:

If a unilateral pre-emptive strategy of attacking a 'target' is the doctrine, then why isn't Saudi Arabia, where Al Qaeda began and home to most of the 9/11 terrorists, also a potential target?

I guess the easy answer would be, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda's senior leadership probably aren't in Saudi Arabia right now, they're probably in Pakistan. Also, presumably, any U.S. action against Al Qaeda in Pakistan wouldn't be "pre-emptive" per se but would be in response to the 9/11 attacks (which is why, in his speech, Obama referred to "the terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans.")

But, putting aside the meager substance of Armstrong's critique, his scorn for Obama may not be insignificant. After all, in some circles, comparing a Democrat to Bush is the rhetorical equivalent of going nuclear. Just ask Armstrong himself, who last week bridled when Obama called Clinton "Bush-Cheney lite", writing:

We, alot of times, use the "Republican lite" term, but "Bush Cheney lite" is quite an escalation. And coming from Obama, whose only serious distinction from Clinton comes from 5 years ago, it seems another slip. Does Obama have anything else to back up the differentiating claim since he's been a Senator? Since he doesn't, what does that say about him as a Senator?

It'll be interesting to see if any of Armstrong's allies in the netroots follow his lead on this one.

--Jason Zengerle

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