December 6th, 2009
04:42 PM ET
4 years ago

Matalin: With Afghan surge, Obama resembles George W. Bush

On State of the Union Sunday, Republican strategist Mary Matalin said President Obama's Afghan surge is 'a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.'

On State of the Union Sunday, Republican strategist Mary Matalin said President Obama's Afghan surge is 'a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.'

Washington (CNN) – A leading Republican strategist and one-time aide to former Vice President Cheney said Sunday that President Obama’s recently announced decision to send an additional 30, 000 troops to Afghanistan is “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”

“The [Bush] doctrine is no safe havens [for terrorists intent on harming the United States] and we go after those that provide a harbor [for such terrorists]. That’s the doctrine,” Republican strategist Mary Matalin explained Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Obama’s decision to surge additional troops into Afghanistan is “solid policy,’ in Matalin’s view and “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”

“Every strategic element is from the Bush doctrine. The tactics are from the Bush surge [in Iraq],” she said.

Matalin added that when civilian contractors and forces supplied by NATO allies are considered “there are enough troops” in Afghanistan.

But, Matalin also said Sunday that, by announcing a date to begin to remove some American troops, Obama had sent a mixed message about the United States’ commitment in Afghanistan.

In laying out his new strategy, Obama gave “a discordant speech,” the Republican strategist said of the president’s address last week at West Point.

“It’s hard to reconcile [saying] this is for the security of the whole world, but we’re going to get out in 18 months,” Matalin said.

“The problem for Democrats,” Matalin also said Sunday, “is that they’ve bashed Bush strategy and tactics for so long and now they have to embrace them because they’re the only ones that do work.”

Filed under: Afghanistan • Extra • Mary Matalin • Popular Posts • President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Complete crap.... Obama approved the surge because the generals asked for it in the midst of an ongoing war. The Bush doctrine simply states we don't need to be attacked in order to strike a nation harboring terrorists.

    Afghanistan is already at war. Therefore Obama made his decision based on THAT fact, not any doctrine by Bush....

    The decision doesn't 'resemble' Bush. It resembles any president who has made the hard decision to send American troops in harms way... from FDR to Clinton. None of them operated on the misguided Bush Doctrine. Neither did Obama.

    December 6, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. NotFooledTX

    I've heard all of the delusion baseless criticisms of our President, from the most racist to the crazy, but being compared to GW Bush would have to be the most insulting.

    December 6, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I disagree with Matlin, President Obama's surge has an exit without continued payment to Karzai's corrupt government, Bush's didn't. Karzai himself disagrees with President Obama. I think it's clear we have no friends in the Middle East because if we did Pakistan would play a key role. If Pakistan has the resources and technology to have built a nuclear weapon then they have the ability to find bin Laden and fight terrorism. Think about it.

    December 6, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Economist

    Oh, sure, it's TOTALLY Republican. Except. That's not what Mr. Bush did, was it? Or, to use the argument in another setting: Mr. Obama lives in the White House. Mr. Bush lived in the White House. Therefore, Mr. Obama a Republican.

    December 6, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Patsy, Texas

    Well, thank you Mary Matalin. We were all waiting with bated
    breath your opinion on the subject.

    December 6, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. S M R

    No mary, The Obama plan actually is a plan, with an EXIT STRATEGY

    December 6, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    I now feel I was wrong . for her to think that president Obama is in any way like not only George Bush but his administration is (NUTS )
    8 years of republican lies threats and greed. how in tha name of ___ ____ ___ and NATO is starting to get envoled and the rest of the world wants peace and safety in the world .. so back up MARY . and why not use our education and be possative and not be another ney sayer.. like most of the republicans ..your party lost and you like GEORGE WILL just can't stand it .. and progress is being made in our great nation with out the help from the republicans .. also when the rest of the so called blue dogs (joke) get on board ,our country will see a health care public plane that will set the standard for insurance companies loss of high profit . and it will be a great day indeed 🙂

    December 6, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Another Mama for Obama

    President Obama "resembles" George W. Bush about as much as Matalin resembles Nancy Pelosi! Not even close!

    December 6, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Jay

    Please don't compare Obama to that imbecile. This president isn't stupid or driven by need to help the very few and disadvantage the very many.

    You should be ashamed for suggesting any similarity. You're an idiot who doesn't deserve to be on the air spewing your stupid baloney.

    December 6, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Ms. Matalin you will always be a negative, Democrat-bashing, nabob for the Right. There is a huge difference here vs Jet Pilot. Obama has carefully calculated the need based on the generals' reports and established a firm guideline for withdrawal. Bush didn't care when we got out so long as Halliburton and the rest of the friends of the program got theirs before he would ever consider pulling out. Oh, and it also helps if your taking the battle to the enemy in the right country to begin with, too.

    December 6, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. mario ca.

    She is a republican doesn't know exactly what to think

    December 6, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Larry

    Who cares what Matalin has to say. And I'm real disappointed at Obama that he's excalating a war that can't possibly be won.

    December 6, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. A. Smith, Oregon

    How sick and pathetic it is to compare President Obama after spending 'months' with his advisers before sending any extra troops to Afghanistan, to former Bush jr. that told his advisers, Congress and Senators, 'you are either with us, or again us'.

    After months of daily slaughter by the Shiite Muslims against the Sunni Muslims where dozens of body's were left on the streets of Baghdad every morning for collection, the surge which the utterly disgusting Bush jr. took entire credit for, was greatly effective because of two things:

    1) The Shiite's ran out of Sunni victims to murder.
    2) The Iraqi residents grew tired of having piles of corpses piled in front of their homes and business each night.

    It was Bush jr. who directed the US State Dept. in Iraq to disband the million member Iraqi Security Force, leaving 1 million armed men without paychecks. That directly led to the violence in Iraq. Bush jr. screwed up in a extremely large way. In that poor nation, you don't kick 1 million armed men into the ranks of the unemployed without grave consequences.

    December 6, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Little missy is so confused. First she states that President Obama's plan resembles the former chump-in-chief, and then states President Obama's exit plan complicates the matter.

    What was the exit of plan of HRH King George the II?

    Seems the shrub and the cons want to make this an endless war for his oil and big business buddies to continue to make a buck off the deaths of young Americans without end

    December 6, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. German,Irish American

    This is just too funny, the liberal Bush haters having to admit that Obama followed the Bush strategy in Iraq. General Petraus confirmed this today, along with Obama's secretary of defense Gates. It has to be like a dagger in the heart to see the so-called "intellegent" Obama unable to come up with a better strategy than the "imbecile" Bush. It has to be devasting to the Obama lemmings to find out his intelligence doesn't match up to Bush's. Ah, the irony. LMAO

    December 6, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. charlie in Maine

    Take it back, take it back right now. That crosses the line.

    December 6, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. Mike

    Agree with Robert here. Obama decision is to protect our troops, stop the terrorists from fomenting violence and it sends a message to the Iranians that when faced with a choice we will protect our interests and the interests of freedom. Time honored and correct decision at this point in time.

    We can blame IRAQ on Bush and Cheyney. Not this. We should have surged here years ago.

    December 6, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. bk

    exactly like Bush! No change here.

    December 6, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Jon

    The Bush Doctine?

    If the Bush Doctrine had been in effect in 1941, we would have invaded Korea because Japan attacked us.

    December 6, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Obama/Biden

    Hello Mr. President You are certainly doing a great job and I like your agenda from the economy to healthcare and you are very honest with us when the republicans are not. They partner with the insurance company to lye to us with adds just to oppose change that is good for the people. Mr. President, I heard John McCain waiting to sit with you on Afghanistan and you should never sit with him and I believe that you have your advisors for that reason. So you do not need his advice. McCain went to war long time ago and the same old strategies that he has in his head from Vietnam cannot be used in Afghanistan because it is a different war. We need twenty first century approach for Afghanistan which I believe you and your advisors understand.

    December 6, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Alex

    Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is a war in which we were attacked first. We were the aggressors in a war that was waged for false reasons and handled poorly. President Bush never gave Afghanistan the energy or resources required to finish the job; which is exactly why we are 8 years into the war and are still in such a mess. Obama also took the necessary time to talk to many experts who have differing views on the right strategy and came to a decision based on information and knowledge, not on gut and personal feelings. The fact that under President Bush we were losing the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan and it wasn't until Bush did what Obama thought we should do in Iraq and turn over security to the Iraqi's did things improve. Now Obama is fixing Bush's mess in Afghanistan. Matalin is an idiot who is grasping for any negative spin to put on President Obama to make the American people fear him.

    December 6, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. B

    Those two belong on SNL, and stay out of the news.......

    December 6, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. dick delson

    big mistake. It's Vietnam all over again.

    And Bush was the dumbest President in our lifetime.

    There are still 3 unanswered questions that no Republican will answer, including the clowns at Fox News.

    1. Why did we invade Iraq? Was it oil money for Bush and his equally lame father?

    2. Why was Haliburton given the contract to rebuild Iraq with no outside bids permitted.

    3. And where are the alleged WMD?

    If you can answer the questions, you in a prize.

    December 6, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. George Washington

    Then why didn't Matalin run for President ? These really smart people that know everything and do nothing are sure amazing armchair quarterbacks.

    December 6, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    And all of you Peaceniks thought you were voting for an end to the war when you voted for Obama.


    December 6, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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