As dark clouds continue to gather over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, all but the most diehard Obama worshipers grudgingly concede that his presidency has entered its lame duck phase. Some analysts have drawn comparisons between the second term of the current occupant of the White House and that of his immediate predecessor.
Barack Obama and George Bush have at least one thing in common when it comes to the second terms they won — the first year of their encores have been downers when it came to their public images. Both experienced falloffs in overall job approval and in Americans’ perceptions of their leadership, ability to get things done and trustworthiness.
For one observer, even last night’s State of the Union address had an oddly familiar ring, sounding like something George W. Bush might have said. That’s because the words were something Bush did say. Mark Thiessen, the observer in question and lead Bush speechwriter, had written them for Bush’s 2007 SOTU.
Appearing on “The Kelly File,” Thiessen said:
It was eerily familiar. There were lines like, “Our job is to help Americans build a future of hope and opportunity. A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy. A future of hope and opportunity requires our citizens have affordable and available health care.” “Extending opportunity and hope depends on a stable supply of energy.” All of that came from the 2007 State of the Union address by George W. Bush. So, Barack Obama has gone from blaming George W. bush to plagiarizing George W. Bush.
I went back and took a look at the Bush speech, the text of which is here. Here are the exact lines Thiessen was evidently referring to:
Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and to help them build a future of hope and opportunity. And this is the business before us tonight. A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy, and that is what we have. We are now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth, a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs so far.
If you read the entire speech, you’ll notice there are differences. There is not a single instance in which Bush ridiculed his opponents across the aisle or threatened to use “his pen and his phone” to bypass Congress and the U.S. Constitution.