November 09, 2009
Bush or Obama: The Quiz
By Randall Hoven
1. President Bush was famous for lacking "intellectual curiosity," while President Obama has been called "the smartest guy ever to become President." Who reads more books: Bush or Obama?
2. Bush was often considered to be in the grip of Big Oil. In contrast, Obama is a Harvard-educated lawyer. Which industry contributed more than five times as much as the other to politicians: the oil & gas industry, or lawyers/law firms?
3. Bush's Christian faith was at the core of his political identity, and he was considered to be in the grip of the "religious right," while Obama is considered more open-minded. In fact, Obama has said, "my faith is one that admits some doubt." Which one refers to Jesus more in public speeches?
4. Bush was criticized for excessive federal spending and running up huge deficits. Bush's deficit in 2008 was the largest in history. In fact, President Obama said,
It's a little hard for me to take criticism from folks about this recovery package after they've presided over a doubling of the national debt ... What I won't do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place.
Whose deficit was more than triple the size of the other's: Bush's in 2008 or Obama's in 2009?
5. While Obama criticized Bush for "a doubling of the national debt," the federal debt held by the public went from 35.1% of GDP in 2000 to 40.8% of GDP in 2008 -- an increase of 16% as of fraction of GDP. What is it expected to be in 2016 under Obama's budget plan?
6. Obama criticized Bush for Guantanamo, military tribunals, wiretaps, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and "signing statements." Which one of these Bush practices has Obama ended?
1. Bush. Obama started reading a book in April and had not finished it by June, putting him on a pace of no more than ten books per year. Bush read forty to ninety-five books a year while President, not counting a new and complete reading of the Bible every year. Bush scored 1206 on his SAT, putting his IQ in the 125-130 range, smarter than 95% of the population and in the company of Lincoln, Rousseau, and Thackeray. He graduated from Yale and earned an MBA from Harvard. Obama earned a law degree from Harvard, but has not released any of his academic records. Despite what you might have heard, we know nothing of his IQ, test scores, or grades from any of the schools he attended.
2. Law firms. In the 2010 cycle so far, Lawyers/Law Firms have contributed $33,779,866 (81% to Democrats), and the Oil & Gas industry has contributed $6,293,631 (34% to Democrats). In the 2008 cycle, the numbers were $233,499,989 (76% to Dems) from lawyers and $35,564,322 (23% to Dems). In all, lawyers contributed about six times more to politicians than the Oil & Gas industry.
3. Obama. Per Eamon Javers at Politico, "As president, Barack Obama has mentioned Jesus Christ in a number of high-profile public speeches -- something his predecessor George W. Bush rarely did in such settings."
4. Obama's 2009 deficit, the largest in U.S. history. It was more than three times that of Bush's record 2008 deficit. Per the Congressional Budget Office, the 2008 deficit was $455 B, and the 2009 deficit was $1,417 B. As a fraction of GDP, it was the largest deficit since 1945.
5. The CBO expects the debt held by the public to be 77.1% of GDP in 2016 under Obama's plan, or an increase of 89% as a fraction of GDP, and the highest level since 1950.
* Guantanamo is still open and probably will be into 2010, maybe longer.
* Obama is keeping military tribunals and clandestine wiretapping programs.
* Obama plans to keep most troops in Iraq until the summer of 2010. Even then, he is talking of keeping about 50,000 troops there (compared to about 124,000 now). The number of US troops in Afghanistan increased from 37,000 in January 2009 to 62,000 by August 2009, and Obama is expected to send over 30,000 more. Total number of US troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan has increased under Obama so far (from about 184,000 in January to 186,000 in September).
* Obama has used signing statements himself.
How's that change working out for ya?