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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank notes some striking similarities:

The president promised that American troops would not remain in the Middle East "for one day longer than is necessary" and he said the coming war with Iraq provides opportunities "to settle the conflicts that divide the Arabs from Israel."

Sound like President Bush's speech Feb 26 to the American Enterprise Institute? Well, yes. But the quotes are actually from President George H.W. Bush's address to the United Nations on Oct. 1, 1990.

The current president, as he readies the nation for war in Iraq, has been recycling some of the arguments and phrases his father used more than 12 years ago. In particular, the younger Bush's speech Feb. 26 outlining the future of Iraq had striking similarities to the elder Bush's address to the 45th General Assembly of the United Nations.

Back in 1990, the 41st president said: "We seek no advantage for ourselves, nor do we seek to maintain our military forces in Saudi Arabia for one day longer than is necessary." Bush the 43rd said two weeks ago: "We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more."

Plus, they both have a tendency to mangle their words from time to time. But let's just hope that Bush 41's rhetoric is all that's being imitated by Bush 43. So far, so good, certainly, in that regard. In 1990, Margaret Thatcher famously had to warn the elder Bush not to go wobbly; does anybody think that our current president would ever need the same cautionary lecture? George W might make the wrong decisions, but if so, it would be from miscalculation, not a lack of willingness to stand up for his beliefs. One thing our current president doesn't suffer from, unlike his father, is a dearth of "the vision thing." And that will hopefully make all the difference.


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Comments (2)

Partha Mazumdar:

One thing our current president doesn't suffer from, unlike his father, is a dearth of "the vision thing." And that will hopefully make all the difference.

Prey tell... what's his vision for the economy? For North Korea?


Partha -- Bush's "vision for the economy" is a simple one. More tax cuts at every opportunity, especially if the benefits accrue to the top end of the income distribution. Shielding investment income from taxation, while offering little in the way of tax relief that would benefit lower-middle and middle-class taxpayers, such as lowering of regressive payroll taxes. Easing environmental restrictions that extractive industries oppose. How's that for a start?

As for North Korea, your guess is as good as mine....


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