The Bush and Obama Presidencies
• Whereas Bush’s election was too close to call it had to take the intervention of the Supreme Court to stop a vote recount, Obama’s was a clear victory with the largest popular vote tally ever won by a presidential candidate.
• The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was Bush’s policy that went a long way in the fight against the AIDs epidemic and it saved millions of lives in Africa and HIV/AIDS rates declined by 10% in the countries that benefited from it according to a 2009 Stanford University study.
• President Bush started the Iraq War in response to the 9/11 attack, a war that ended up taking lives of more American soldiers. Friedersdorf, a staff writer for “The Atlantic”, writes, “It may cost U.S. taxpayers $6 trillion. That policy guarantees Bush's status as a president who weakened America (2013)." Obama on the other hand saw to it that American troops were withdrawn from the middle east countries where Bush had sent them.
• Guantanamo Bay, a detention center that was built during the Bush administration was infamous for holding people who were considered as a threat to national security and were questioned using torture mechanisms. Closing the prison was one of Obama’s first order of business after his inauguration although the center still stands after he left office.
• Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law whose objective was to create more jobs and to support the people and companies that were most affected by the economic crisis of 2008 – 2009.
• Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
• Obama ordered airstrikes on a total of seven predominantly Muslim countries; almost twice as many as Bush’s four countries as explained by Lauren Carroll and Jon Greenberg on PolitiFact. His drones program led to the deaths of hundred of civilians, and even a 16-year old American citizen. Just like Bush did when he detained suspects without due process and okayed the use of torture against them, Obama’s drone strikes denied his victims due process.
• Amadeo when writing for “The Balance” notes that both presidents spent hugely on defense than any generation since WWII. Obama spent approximately $700 billion annually a slightly higher amount compared to Bush’s $500 billion.
• Bush, after the successful attack against the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces, did not have any plan to ensure the young democracy that the US left in Afghanistan would prosper. He focused instead on Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
• In a similar scenario, Obama had no plans set in place for after the illegal US military intervention in Libya succeeded. Illegal because he did not get the congressional go-ahead for the war.
• President Bush created the Medicare Part D prescription drug program to assist seniors in cutting down on the money spent on prescription drugs. This program, however, had its shortcomings as there was no tax increase to fund it and thus added $550 billion to the national debt.
• Obama passed the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare in 2010 which according to him “sought to increase quality, affordability, and access to healthcare” and its benefits were to be realized four years later. Obamacare cuts health care costs by allowing more people to afford preventive health care. This means the beneficiaries can treat their illness before they get disastrous.
• The two presidents had record-setting budget deficits and huge debts. Bush’s FY 2008 budget, although not affected by the fightback on the recession, had a deficit of $459 billion to fund the War on Terror (Miller Center). His FY 2009 budget had a debt of $1.4 trillion, the largest budget deficit in the country’s history. Obama’s FY 2010 budget had a $1.294 trillion deficit while the FY 2011 topped it at $1.3 trillion. As the economy improved, the subsequent budgets had lower deficit amounts.
“Barack Obama – Key Events.” Miller Center.
“George W. Bush - Key Events.” Miller Center.
“The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.” The Nobel Prize.
Amadeo, Kimberly. “Obama versus Bush Economic Policies.” The Balance. 10 May 2018.
Carroll, Lauren, and Greenberg, Jon. “Fact-checking the war comparisons between Obama and Bush.” PolitiFact. 1 October 2014. .
Friedersdorf, Conor. “Comparing the Failures of Bush and Obama.” The Atlantic. 18 December 2013
Obama, Barack. “United States Health Care Reform Progress to Date and Next Steps.” US Nation Library of Health. < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5069435/>