George W. Bush was easily one of the worst Presidents in United States history, no one can deny that. Not even Republicans could deny that come 2016, hence why, during the primaries Trump constantly insulted the previous Republican president. Rather it was telling Jeb Bush didn’t keep us safe or ripping on the failure of Iraq, Trump tried to set himself as far apart from Bush as possible.
This was clearly part of his overall strategy. John McCain primarily lost in 2008 because he was a Republican, and so was Bush. McCain didn’t even want the endorsement of Bush when he ran for President because that was like a kiss of death for a presidential candidate.
However, these people always bow to the same masters, and Trump enacted many similar policies to the Bush administration. Again, because all Republicans are the same.
Easily the best comparison between Trump and Bush is with Trump’s Trade War with China and Bush’s War On Terrorism. As both have been central aspects to the administrations, and both have striking amounts of similarities.
Let’s star with rhetoric: The main argument made by Bush and his neo-con buddies was that critics of the War On Terror hated America. Sean Hannity, Trump’s best friend in the whole wide world, wrote in his 2004 book Deliver Us From Evil that “Liberals (by which he means critics of the War On Terror) have shown a constant reluctance to confront the enemies of freedom around the world.” Ann Coulter, who only hates Trump because he’s too nice to Immigrants, asked “Why do they hate America?” of liberals (again, which just meant critics of the War On Terror) in her book Treason from 2003. Bush himself famously said “You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists,” on critics of his foreign policy.
Compare this to a statement made by populist-right commentator Pat Buchanan back in March. “What patriot,” Buchanan writes “ would consign the economic independence of his country to the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith in a system crafted by intellectuals whose allegiance is to an ideology, not a people?”
If you are a critic of the trade war you are considered anti-American and pro-China, regardless of context.
This war also has its own version of “love it or leave it.” Now this is one all anti-war commentators remember getting back in the day. This phrase started back during the Vietnam War protests as a response to those who were protesting. However, it has made sure to come back in one of the oddest ways possible.
In the column I just sampled from, Pat Buchanan makes the point that “tariffs are also a discretionary and an optional tax.” He goes on to say “If you choose not to purchase Chinese goods and instead buy comparable goods made in other nations or the USA, then you do not pay the tariff.” The President also echoed this point around the same time. However, this makes no sense because if you choose to buy American products, you are still being forced to spend more money on products that were once much cheaper.
And then there are the enemies. Ronald Reagan once called the USSR an “evil empire,” which, in all fairness, was quite accurate. Bush later tried his hand at something similar by calling Iraq, North Korea, and Iran part of the “Axis of Evil,” a term coined by David Frum. Then Undersecretary of State John Bolton also listed Cuba, Libya, and Syria as compromised nations on 5/6/2002. In November 2018, Bolton — now National Security Advisor — would call Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua of all places part of the “Troika of Tyranny.”
Trump’s Trade War has one enemy: China. “ The hopes for a cooperative and peaceful China have unfortunately been dashed,” wrote right-wing columnist Michael Barone on 5/10/2019. Everything must be done to fight this menace, regardless of how much it would actually help the average American.
Of course, they also have domestic enemies. For Bush and his supporters, it was those darn intellectuals who called out his war for what it was. Ben Shapiro first got on the map for his 2004 book Brainwashed, in which he accuses professors of “teaching for Saddam.” The Anti-Chomsky Reader (which is quite bad, by the way), a collection of essays trying to debunk the famous left-wing figure, came out in response to the publication of Hegemony Or Survival.
Here, the enemies are still intellectuals. However, they are of a different kind, those being free-market economists, often called neo-liberals. These free market supporters that Tucker Carlson sometimes fights against have turned into the villains, the traitors, the Jews — I mean, the bad guys.
The worst and most striking aspect the these two wars share is that there is no way to win. The Daily Show once ran a segment titled “Bush v. Bush,” showing examples of President Bush contradicting himself between his first and second term. One of the most shocking examples was President Bush saying on 3/17/2003 that Terrorism will be eliminated by Saddam getting disarmed vs. saying 1/10/2007 that terrorists have a safe haven after the removal of Saddam.
The Trade War is similar in the sense of it being impossible to end. What action will cause Trump to stop this war with China? As of writing, he has been unable to give a single example of what China could do — and even praised China’s revolution that installed a communist dictator.
Those who don’t learn from history support Donald Trump.