The election of President Obama was in no small part, a referendum on the administration of George W. Bush, and his victory was interpreted as a sound rebuke to eight years of open ended warfare, a vast and growing police state, the destruction of civil liberties, disregard for the Constitution, unchecked executive power, lies and broken promises, hypocrisy and arrogance, a lack of transparency in government, out-of-control federal spending, fever-pitch fearmongering, rampant corruption, and some really stupid gaffes. But what have we gotten instead?
More of the same. A LOT more of the same. In fact, every negative aspect of the Bush Administration has come back with a vengeance in the presidency of Barack H. Obama. Everything the American people detested so strongly about Bush has not only characterized the presidency of his successor, it's gotten much worse. Don't believe me? The following is a list of 100 ways President Obama is just like President Bush. We might as well consider it a third Bush term on steroids, or call Mr. Obama "Bush 2.0." If you honestly didn't like Bush, you can't possibly justify liking Obama, not unless you ignore the facts:
Open Ended Warfare
One of the most disastrous and destructive aspects of the Bush Administration was a ramping up of the military-industrial complex to a level unprecedented in U.S. history. Bush's Global War on Terror worried critics because of its lack of clear objectives, no set timeline, and no specific enemy (as terror is a tactic, not an enemy). Along with it came the Bush Doctrine of preemptive warfare against countries that had not attacked the United States, which formed the foundation-- along with a few lies and sketchy intelligence-- for the massive, costly, and deadly war in Iraq.
The antiwar movement in America reached a fever pitch under President Bush, and rightly so, but has Obama put an end to this tragic era in American history? He could be forgiven if he had merely taken some time to draw down troops in the Middle East and abroad, but instead, within his first term Obama has actually taken Bush's war machine and put it in overdrive, sending significantly more troops to fight overseas, spending more money on "defense" than even Bush, and engaging the U.S. in even more conflicts on more fronts, sometimes even ignoring the Constitutional separation of powers (i.e. breaking the law) in order to pursue warfare on a level unmatched by the worst excesses of the Bush Administration:
- Iraq - We should have known in 2008 that we wouldn't see any real change from the Obama Administration. Despite campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2004 on a platform of voting against Bush's war budgets, when he became a Senator, Obama voted for every single one of Bush's requests to continue funding war in the Middle East. Apparently, his streak of broken promises started long before campaigning for the White House (and we'll get to those later down the list).
Then right off the bat in February of 2009, a mere month into his administration, President Obama revealed a phony withdrawal plan that would take three months longer than promised, and leave a whopping 50,000 troops in Iraq (out of the 135,000 that were there when Obama assumed office). Eight months later in October 2009, 131,000 troops remained in Iraq, and Obama sent another 1000 at the request of theater commanders in Iraq. Seriously.
- First Surge in Afghanistan - Think Iraq was bad? It gets better! Mr. (Blind) Hope and (Regime) Change kicked off his presidency with a 17,000 troop surge to Afghanistan in February of 2009. 17,000! Don't defend him. Don't say it was necessary to help win the war there. You would not have defended Bush and you know it. Mr. Obama started his presidency by radically escalating Bush's war.
- Second Surge in Afghanistan - But wait- there's more! By December of 2009, less than a year into his presidency, Obama decided to outdo even himself and send another whopping 30,000 troops to Afghanistan! By this point, Al-Qaeda was scattered and devastated. Our troops were overseas fighting someone else's civil war, not defending our freedoms or our safety.
- Phony Afghan Withdrawal - In June of 2011, Obama announced a "troop withdrawal" from Afghanistan, and true to form, it was as phony as his Iraq withdrawal. Even if he stays on schedule and makes the most "radical" withdrawal on the table by the end of 2012-- 30,000 troops-- there would still be more than twice as many troops as there were in January 2009 when Obama took office. Only in the Orwellian world of U.S. foreign policy could something like that be called a withdrawal.
- The Rise of Drone Warfare - The Obama Administration's continued and extensive use of weaponized aerial drones to bomb enemy targets in countries throughout the Middle East (sometimes resulting in the deaths of dozens of civilians at a time when the drone operators or intelligence make a mistake) has touched off a drone arms race with the rest of the world, most notably China. Great. Just great.
- Bombing Campaign in Yemen - Bush bombed in Yemen, but Obama's really been stepping it up.
- Bombing Campaign in Somalia - In Somalia too!
- Bombing Campaign in Pakistan - Under Obama, there have been more drone strikes in Pakistan than there ever were under Bush, and they're also claiming more civilians lives, Pakistanis claim, leading the country into uproar and protest against the United States.
- Bombing Campaign in Libya - In March of 2011, President Obama took America to war in an entirely new country, Libya, taking sides with insurgents in a civil war against a dictator that Washington has supported for years up until now. Expanding Bush's old wars wasn't enough it would seem; Obama had to start some new ones of his own, against a country that had not attacked us and did not threaten us. And get this: in all likelihood, we've been fighting on the same side as Al-Qaeda in Libya's civil war!
- Defense Spending Levels - "Defense" spending has only gone up during President Obama's first term from $616 billion under Bush in 2008 to $768 billion in 2011, and Obama still wants even more. We were promised change. Why are we spending even more on bombs and bullets?
- Record Casualty Levels - Under Obama, the wars haven't just gotten bigger, more numerous, and even more legally dubious than under Bush (more on that later)-- they've gotten deadlier. According to the most up-to-date figures as of this publication, under Obama, the U.S. casualty rate in Afghanistan is five times greater than it was under Bush
- "Overseas Contingency Operations" - Despite ramping the Global War on Terror up to unprecedented levels as detailed above, the Obama Administration decided to seriously downplay its title by renaming it "Overseas Contingency Operations." Chillingly Orwellian, isn't it? And quite typically Obama: make no substantive changes at all (other than to make things worse and accelerate the damage done by Bush), but do make a big deal about changing a name or a logo!
- God and War Rhetoric - To wrap up Obama's continuation of Bush's foreign policy, I give you none other than Jon Stewart, marveling at how similar Obama's war rhetoric is to Bush's, even to the point of invoking God in our fight against other countries, and "refusing to apologize" for our way of life (which apparently includes bombing everybody else):
Bush critics consider his presidency to have inaugurated an era unprecedented in U.S. history for violations of civil liberties, privacy, and the constitutional amendments that protect Americans from unwarranted police actions by the government. The creation of a vast, "national security" state has alarmed critics as something more akin to fascist dictatorship than American republicanism. Yet all of Bush's worst and most tyrannical abuses have not only been continued by the Obama Administration, but taken to a whole new level:
- The Patriot Act - A favorite target of Bush critics, the Patriot Act violates the 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments of the Constitution. Passed and renewed over and over again with little debate or deliberation, this gargantuan bill gave the federal government sweeping new powers to police its citizenry while ignoring the constitutional restrictions our Founding Fathers created to protect us from tyranny.
It should be no surprise that after the failed efforts of one honest Republican senator to prevent its passage, Obama renewed the Patriot Act (from across the Atlantic Ocean by autopen) as president-- he voted for its renewal as a senator. On one of the most important issues of our era, Obama is indistinguishable from Bush. He supports the (un)Patriot(ic) Act.
- The TSA - Created by an act of Congress during the Bush Administration, and organized within the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA has been annoying and harassing passengers at airports for a decade now. But under President Obama, it has become more aggressive and oppressive than it ever was under Bush, with the installment of dozens of radiation-emitting "naked body scanners" throughout the country and directives from the DHS to use "enhanced" pat downs that many critics say amount to sexual assault. Under Bush, the TSA was merely annoying. Under Obama, it is horrifyingly out of control.
- The War on Drugs - The decades-long "War on Drugs" has been a spectacular failure of public policy, resulting in billions of wasted dollars, record levels of incarceration, higher rates of drug fatalities, and the creation of a violent international criminal drug cartel that thrives on continued prohibition. The 2009 Ogden Memo signaled that Obama might change course in the failed "War on Drugs." Nope. In July 2011, the Justice Department published a new memo indicating that things would stay just the same as they were under George W. Bush.
- CIA Rendition - The CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program consists of seizing "terror suspects," detaining them without warrant or trial, and sending them offshore to outsource their "interrogation" to third world countries where they are tortured for information and confessions. Seriously. Torture was one of the big criticisms faced by the Bush Administration, and in February 2009, the Obama Administration wasted no time in quietly retaining the practice of rendition.
- Habeas Corpus - The Obama Administration also continued Bush's suspension of the long-standing legal tradition of habeas corpus, insisting that it has the right to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely without trial.
- You Do Not Have The Right To Remain Silent - The Obama Administration actually had the gall to ask "the Supreme Court to overrule long-standing law that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer is present, another stark example of the White House seeking to limit rather than expand rights."
- ...or Test Genetic Evidence Used Against You -The Obama Administration has also limited "the rights of prisoners to test genetic evidence used to convict them."
- The DHS and Swine Flu - The Obama Administration further empowered the growing police state and set a chilling precedent when it let the Department of Homeland Security manage a health issue, a strain of flu referred to as "swine flu." the DHS declared a state of emergency in the U.S. and got out in front of the (manufactured) swine flu "crisis."
President Bush will be forever remembered by critics for his "imperial presidency," his usurpation of power from the other branches of government in violation of the Constitution. Instead of a nation guided by laws, under Bush our country descended even further into the lawless anarchy of executive tyranny, unchecked by the other branches of government and unrestrained by the Constitution. An autocrat, Bush did as he pleased, whether the law permitted it or not. Obama has been no different. Actually, he's been worse:
- Faith-Based Initiatives - Obama curiously continued Bush's unconstitutional faith-based initiatives (ever heard of the First Amendment?).
- Signing Statements - On the campaign trail, Obama called presidential "signing statements" (letters of interpretation and recommendations attached to Congressional legislation) unconstitutional and promised not to use them... then attached a signing statement to a $410 billion spending bill as president. If you want to know why this is a dangerous usurpation of power by the executive, click that first link above and Obama will it explain it to you himself. This also counts as a broken promise, which you'll read plenty more of soon.
- Hillary Clinton Appointment - Unconstitutional. If you think I'm splitting hairs, you can bite me.
- War in Libya - We already touched on this as one of Obama's expansions to Bush's open-ended warfare, but I didn't mention one key thing: this was was completely unconstitutional. Obama went to war in Libya without a formal declaration from Congress-- without even consulting Congress-- and according to both the War Powers Resolution and the U.S. Constitution itself, it is only the people's representatives in Congress that can take our nation to war, not the president alone.
Even Obama's own defense secretary said that America faced no imminent threat from Libya. Here are Obama's own words on the matter back when he was a senator:
"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."
- Czars - One significant change that will forever characterize the Obama administration is its radical and unprecedented expansion of a policy that started in the Nixon administration-- the unconstitutional appointment of "czars" as "principle officers" of policy within the administration who answer solely to the president without the advice and consent of Congress. By most recent estimates, Obama has appointed 41 of these "czars" to high level posts within his administration.
It is exactly this kind of centralization of executive power, isolated from the advice, consent, and oversight of the people via their representatives that worried Democrats about President George W. Bush. Before he died, even the Democrats' most senior senator, Robert Byrd, condemned Obama "czar strategy" as an unprecedented and illegal power grab that centralizes power in the executive, evades congressional oversight, and violates the separation of powers required by law in the Constitution.
- Distribution of TARP funds - Though you'll read about several broken promises in a minute, one promise Obama has kept is his distribution of TARP II funds to non-financial institutions, which is contrary to the stated intention of those funds in the legislation passed by Congress, making his action illegal, unconstitutional, and an expansion of unlimited executive power.
- Converting federal loans to common stock - In a sneaky, underhanded, unconstitutional power play, Obama moved to convert U.S. Federal loans to banking institutions into common stock, effectively nationalizing major portions of the U.S. banking industry.
- Health provisions in the stimulus bill - Though hardly mentioned by the news media, the health provisions in the 2009 stimulus package passed by Obama represent a giant leap towards fascist medicine in this country. Details here.
- Census Bureau Grab - Obama's move of the United States Census out of the Department of Commerce and under the direct control of the White House was unconstitutional, politically motivated, and a dangerous, undemocratic expansion of executive power.
- Forcing US banks to accept TARP money - What's worse than bailing out wealthy banks with money taken from poor and middle class Americans? Forcing wealthy banks to take the bailout money against their will.
- Rebuking SCOTUS - This was extremely unusual and entirely unseemly for a President of the United States to do during a State of the Union Address.
Lies, lies, lies. The Bush Administration was marred by lies and broken campaign promises. His administration looked nothing like the promises he made during the 2000 Presidential Campaign. The Obama Administration has been no different.
- Non-Emergency Legislation - Obama promised to "publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days... before the President signs it," then broke that promise over and over again. (This is also a big transparency problem... more of those later.)
- Lobbyists - Despite promising to keep lobbyists out of his administration, Obama broke his word again and again (making 17 exceptions to this promise in his first two weeks as president).
- Income Tax Cuts for Seniors - Obama promised to eliminate income taxation for seniors making less than $50,000 a year. He has broken this promise despite numerous opportunities to keep it, including the economic stimulus package and his administration's first budget proposal.
- Tax Credit for Businesses - The President also boasted during his campaign that "During 2009 and 2010, existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired," and has failed to keep his word.
- Retirement Accounts - Obama made it part of his agenda to "allow withdrawals of 15% up to $10,000 from retirement accounts without penalty (although subject to the normal taxes). This would apply to withdrawals in 2008 (including retroactively) and 2009," but didn't include this measure in the stimulus package or his budget proposal.
- The Armenian Genocide - Obama broke his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
- Tax Credit for College Tuition - On the campaign trail, Obama promised a $4000 tax credit for college tuition, but backpedaled when he signed a much smaller $2,500 college tax credit into law.
- The Partisan Tenor - Obama promised a different tone in Washington D.C. and a move past bitter, partisan rhetoric. It took him less than a week as president to berate Republicans and sully the dignity of his office by picking a very public rhetorical fight with a private citizen, Rush Limbaugh.
- Dog-Gone Lies - If you can't trust someone with little things, you certainly can't trust them with bigger things. Obama chose purebred dog, "Bo" for the White House family's "first dog" instead of adopting a dog from a shelter like he promised.
- Spinning the Auto Bailout - Someone explain to me again why a supposedly "progressive" president is lying to justify a coerced (and illegal) loan to a wealthy, irresponsible corporation from hard working poor and middle class Americans?
- Taxing Some Employee Health Benefits - "The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system. The proposal is politically problematic for President Obama, however, since it is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as 'the largest middle-class tax increase in history."
What got critics so especially emotional in their opposition to George W. Bush was not merely his demolition job of liberty and rule of law in America, but the cowboy arrogance and shameless hypocrisy that characterized his administration. Let's see if Obama has been any better:
- "I won." - In his first private meeting with Congressional Republicans, instead of "reaching across the aisle" and seeking earnest dialogue, Obama smugly told them that he should have his way because "I won."
- "Don't think we're not keeping score." - Obama to Rep. Peter DeFazio, one of the Democratic congressman who voted against the stimulus package, "Don't think we're not keeping score, brother."
- I'm smart. You're dumb. - I'm smart. You're dumb. I'm right. You're wrong. Shut up and take it. That's pretty much what Obama said when asked about public opinion against raising the debt ceiling.
- OBL Death - Just watch this video comparing President Bush's announcement after Hussein's capture to President Obama's announcement after Osama bin Laden's death. Notice a difference? Even Bush wasn't this arrogant, and that's saying something.
- Schooled in Hypocrisy - Obama's daughters attend a private school in Washington D.C., enjoying the freedom of educational choice that the Obama Administration has denied to poor children who live in Washington (more on that later... when you read it, you're going to flip your lid).
- Golf - In just "ten months as U.S. President, Mr Obama has already played as much golf as George W Bush did in his entire eight years in power."
- "Mostly basketball." - It's crap like this.
- Inauguration Footprint - Despite claiming our environment is in a state of crisis, Obama's extravagant inauguration alone emitted over 500 million pounds of CO2.
- Inauguration Price - Obama's lavish inauguration also cost a whopping $170 million. (This is the same man who said: "There is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments.")
- Thermostat - After saying "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that every country is going to say okay," journalists discovered that Obama cranks the thermostat in the Oval Office.
- Earth Day Flights - Obama's Earth Day flights burned more than 9,000 gallons of fuel.
- The Race Card - In 2009, Obama said: "we have to get to the point where we can have a conversation about big, important issues that matter to the American people without vitriol, without name-calling, without the assumption of the worst in other people's motives." Then in 2011, we learned that Obama has assumed the worst about the Tea Party's motives: they're racists.
- AIG Bailout - AIG's second biggest campaign donation beneficiary: Barack Obama, who acted angry about the results of a bailout he helped to craft as U.S. Senator.
- The Blame Game - Throughout his presidency, Obama has blamed Bush and stifled criticism by saying he inherited a mess from his predecessor. As you read through this list, however, can't you see how that might be a little bit hypocritical? Blame Bush for the wars while ramping them up and even starting new ones? Blame Bush for the deficit while spending even more than Bush did? Blame Bush for everything, while just making things worse?
A common theme throughout Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign was transparency. Supporters wanted to see an administration that would restore some of the transparency in government that was lost during the Bush years. Unfortunately, Obama didn't deliver:
- Closed door stimulus meetings - Within the first month of the Obama Administration, the country was rushed into accepting a multi-billion dollar stimulus package that was debated in secret, behind closed doors. The bill itself was too big for any of the congressmen themselves, much less the American people, to have an opportunity to actually read it. Then it was not published to the White House website for five days before Obama signed it despite his campaign promise to do so.
- Closed door health care meetings (C-SPAN) - Despite Obama's promise to televise the health care debate on C-SPAN, the debate and ultimate passage of the "ObamaCare" bill happened without a public debate, behind closed doors, in secret meetings. More broken promises. Less transparency.
- HHS "Transparency" - President Obama's rationing czar, who controls the health care of 1 in 3 Americans and has a budget larger than the freaking Pentagon's refuses to answer questions, grant interviews, or testify before Congress.
- DC Voucher Program - The Obama Administration ended funding for Washington D.C.'s school voucher program, while suppressing a study that showed it delivered better results at a lower cost. Less transparency, lower quality education, and higher costs. Brilliant.
- Prisoner Abuse Photos - In 2010 watchdog group, OpenTheGovernment.org found that the Obama Administration, following in the steps of the Bush Administration, continued to block the release of photos depicting prisoner abuse by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan
- State Secrets Privilege and CIA torture - The same group also noted that Obama's administration continued to invoke the state secrets privilege in cases involving alleged CIA torture.
- Declassifications Drop - Further, they found that in 2009, fewer pages (28.8 million) were declassified governmentwide and the declassification rate fell significantly - from 61% of all material reviewed in 2008 to 55% in 2009.
- Only one question - After the Department of Homeland Security circulated a memo to state police departments warning of "right-wing" terrorism, Secretary Janet Napolitano did an interview, but would only answer one question with no follow ups about the memo.
- Tax Returns!!! - Always focusing on appearances, never substantive changes, Obama made a big flashy deal out of releasing the President's and Vice President's income tax returns (oooohh- transparency!), which every President has done for years now. The embarrassing thing is, the Obamas were totally shown up by the Bushes-- according to their respective tax returns, the Obamas gave 6.5% of their 2008 income to charity while the Bushes gave 23% of theirs to charity in 2007.
- Most Anti-Leak Administration Ever - The Obama Administration has proven far more aggressive than the Bush Administration in seeking to punish whistle-blowers within the administration.
Especially during the debt ceiling debate that raged all Summer of 2011, Democrats were quick to point out the "balanced budgets" of the Clinton years. Many of Bush's critics excoriated him for wrecking America's fiscal solvency and running up federal budget deficits unprecedented in U.S. history. It was completely irresponsible. MoveOn.org even made a famous ad showing children working in factories before posing the question: "Guess who's going to pay for Bush's deficits?"
Guess who's going to pay for Obama's even bigger deficits? Those same future generations of children:
- Spending WAY MORE than Bush - Yeah, Bush's deficits were bad. But if you really believe that, you've got to be willing to condemn Obama's even bigger deficits. Here's a pretty good look with some hard figures at just how the two presidents compare. Bush was bad. Obama has been much worse.
- Earmarks - Obama did a shameless 180 degree turn on earmarks by sharply criticizing them (and bragging that he would pass legislation without a single one) and then signing a spending bill with literally thousands of them.
- Stimulus Package - There went $800 billion in productive capital right down the drain.
- Health Care Bill - Another $900 billion.
- TARP - I know this passed while Bush was president. But guess which then-senator gets some of the blame too because he voted to send it across Bush's desk? Barack Obama. $700 billion. Gosh, all these hundreds of billions add up to trillions real fast!
- Bailing out Greece - Meanwhile, as America faces a fiscal crisis in 2011 because of all the aforementioned spending bills in 2008 - 2009, Obama thinks we have enough money to bailout another country halfway around the world.
- Appointing Ben Bernanke - Another continuation of Bush era economics, fiscal policy, and monetary policy: Obama's appointment of Ben Bernanke to another term as Fed Chair. Are you convinced that Mr. Obama is not so different from Mr. Bush yet?
- Measly $100 million "cut" - But remember, this is Obama, so he's got to keep up appearances, which is why he made a big show of challenging his cabinet to cut a measly $100 million from the Federal budget (a .0027% cut in Federal spending... also, he admitted that this doesn't even represent a spending cut by saying that it will free up more money for Federal spending on other things like health and education).
One of the worst aspects of the Bush Administration (and a complicit media) was its use of fearmongering and panic to scare the American people into accepting its relentless march on our freedoms. In 2008, people clamored for a reasoned voice of hope. Instead, they got Obama:
- Stimulus Package - Shrill: "If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The unemployment rate could reach double digits. For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs. More families will lose their savings. More dreams will be deferred and denied. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse."
- Valentine's Day Vacation -And we know it was just fearmongering, because if Obama had meant the above words in earnest, then after passage of the stimulus act, he would not have taken off on a ritzy Valentine's Day vacation in Chicago for the weekend instead of signing the stimulus bill that he said needed to be passed as soon as possible to avert an irreversible economic meltdown. Also file this one under hypocrisy and lies.
- Debt Ceiling - Obama knew full well that he was lying and fearmongering when he said that he could not guarantee Social Security checks would make it out to their beneficiaries if the debt limit wasn't raised by August 2nd. Without borrowing money, the federal government takes in $200 billion in receivables each month, plenty enough to service interest on the national debt, write Social Security checks, and continue military operations.
- Health Care Bill - If you'll remember with me, the level of panicked rhetoric over health care in this country was at a fever pitch during the months leading up to passage of this bill. Along with the sanctimony, the secrecy, the backroom deals, the sudden changes in votes, the lack of public support, the narrow margin of passage, the size of the bill itself, and the fact that no one had actually read it before voting on it, the storyline was no different from passage of Bush's Medicare Part D (which many Democrats opposed).
- DHS Memo - This shrill gem published in the early days of the Obama Administration instructed state police departments that both active and inactive US military personnel are potential domestic terrorists, comparing them to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Additional potential terrorists, according to the memo, included Tea Party protesters, anyone who vocally supports the amendments in the Bill of Rights, and anyone who is vocally pro-life.
- Swine Flu - Jon Stewart says it best.
- Patriot Act Renewal - It was the same old line used by the Bush Administration. We need these tools to deal with the terrorists. If we don't renew the Patriot Act, America will be less safe. Blah blah blah blah blah. Then after renewing it, of course the administration continues bombing other countries and we wonder why there are terrorists out there targeting Americans and why we feel less safe.
- Joe Sestak - Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) was (illegally) offered a job by the Obama administration in exchange for dropping out of the senatorial primary against Obama supporter Sen. Arlen Specter. And Sestak's not the only one. (Proof.)
- Tim Geithner - Obama appointed Tim Geithner to the office of Secretary of the Treasury, even though he was a part of the problem with the economic status quo and evaded his taxes for years.
- Annette Nazareth - Obama also selected Annette Nazareth for the position of Deputy Treasury Secretary, who withdrew after a month long probe into her taxes.
- Tom Daschle - Next there's Tom Daschle, appointed by Obama to the Department of Health and Human Services. He had to resign his nomination for the position because of tax evasion.
- Nancy Killefer - Obama also appointed Nancy Killefer for Chief Performance Officer, but she had to step down because-- SURPRISE-- she didn't pay her taxes either!
- Rahm Emmanuel - There's also Rahm Emmanuel, who served as Chief of Staff even though he failed to report five years of free rent at a U.S. Congressman's property in accordance with IRS policy and congressional ethics rules.
- Louis Susman - "Barack Obama has been embroiled in a cronyism row after reports that he intends to make Louis Susman, one of his biggest fundraisers, the new US ambassador in London. The selection of Mr. Susman, a lawyer and banker from the president's hometown of Chicago, rather than an experienced diplomat, raises new questions about Mr Obama's commitment to the special relationship with Britain."
- Adolfo Carrion - Adolfo Carrion, Director of White House Office of Urban Affairs, "pocketed thousands of dollars in campaign cash from city developers whose projects he approved or funded with taxpayers' money."
- "GunGate" - Obama's Iran-Contra scandal?
Bush's gaffes? While the rest of the world rejoiced at Obama's inauguration, comedians were secretly a little disappointed. For eight years, Bush made such an easy target. Lucky for them, Obama has had plenty moments of his own:
- Bowing - In 2009, President Obama actually bowed to a foreign monarch, King Abdullah. After a few more bowing gaffes like bowing to Japanese Emperor Akihito, it started getting weird when Obama bowed to the mayor of Tampa:
- Lamest Gift Ever - At their first meeting, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown's gift to Obama: "an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet," and "a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert." Obama's gift to Brown: a box set of 25 classic American DVDs... that don't work on European DVD players. Fail.
- England =/= UK - To make matters worse, Obama used "England" to denote the U.K. -a gaffe that people from Scotland, Ireland, and Wales don't appreciate and chalk up to American ignorance and parochialism.
- Thanking Himself - And check out Obama thanking himself for being invited to speak with the Irish Prime Minister because he was having teleprompter troubles.
- Arguing with a teleprompter - And it only gets better: behold the bizarre spectacle of the President "arguing with" a teleprompter during a speech.
- Special Olympics - Yikes, Barack: "I've been practicing bowling. I bowled a 129. It was like the Special Olympics or something." -Obama on The Tonight Show
- All 57 states! - This one is sooo Bush-like.
- Terrorizing NYC - Post 9-11, this is about the least sensitive, most stupid thing you could do: Airforce 1 panics New York City residents with extremely low flight plan for photo op and no public announcement.
- Gulf Oil Spill - Okay, this one isn't really a gaffe, just a long nightmare for everybody that lasted all summer back in 2010. It didn't really fit into any of the other categories, but this was Obama's Katrina for sure. That oil just kept flowing, and Obama just kept golfing.