December 6th, 2009
04:42 PM ET
9 months 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. Lynne

    Matalin and Carville's comments are so predictable I don't even bother watching. She is just repeating the Republican talking points mouthed by Kyl and Romney and to suggest she has anything to add to any conversation is bizarre.

    They have made a fortune being political hacks and really are no longer relevant. One belongs to the Cheney era and the other to the Clintons.

    December 6, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. once upon a horse

    is that the same Bush Doctrine that candidate Sarah Palin had no idea even existed?

    December 6, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Soulsamurai

    That may be a useful point politically to divide Dems from the anti-war, anti-Bushie left, but it's not really true, in my opinion.

    Obama intentions are totally different even if it appears to be more of the same. The late timing, along with a promised timetable, and no clear objectives demonstrate his lack of commitment to victory. This administration won't even acknowledge the war on terror much less carry one out. Obama's speech and the sending of 30,000 more troops has to be taken together with all his other actions, foreign and domestic. Instead we have a policy much more in line with the Obama Doctrine than the Bush Doctrine.

    "Undermine our allies, embolden our enemies, and diminish America."

    December 6, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Ed Schultz

    For all the liberals who attack conservatives as uneducated rednecks, it seems they all have horrible spelling. I guess you only need to learn how to sign your name to endorse a welfare check.

    December 6, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. Dakota Kyle

    Her "tie" says it all, confused memoirs of a clown!

    December 6, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Alimi

    No, Ma'am, the Bush doctrine was preemptive strike based on unproven intention. Iraq was attacked on the basis first that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, when that was not proven, the rationale was changed to "intent" to develop to weapons of mass [deception]. What you call the Bush doctrine is the same one that he departed from and set out his unilateral doctrine. If , as you said: “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], how is this consistent with our attack on Iraq that has led to the loss of several lives of our troops, unfunded, destroyed our credibility around the world, while at the same has led to windfall for weapons industry and military contractors. Do not use your access to the media to misinform and engage is revisionism. At best, the Bush doctrine is to enrich his cronies.

    December 6, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. S M R

    It's like night and day.

    December 6, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Marry

    President Obama’s and former President Bush’s “doctrines” have nothing in common at all.
    President Obama considered his options and wants to help Afghanistan in its “Nation building”, but is also putting pressure on them to take action to make things work for their future.
    Bush did not think the whole thing through and had no plan in 7 years – besides “surge”, pile up a gigantic (secrete) (conservative?) deficits and drive the American economy up to the brink – leaving the cleanup to his successor. And President Obama has to deal with all of it now at the same time with the GOP jacking in the background. One can only get nightmares imagining McCain/Palin in the White House.

    December 6, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Mr Joshua

    I have a bright idea. How about an "Exit" strategy that say's we will leave when we have Won? Liberals! Heh, General Patton would smack every one of you!

    December 6, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Matalin is a delusional

    Yea...right.....if you exclude fradulent intelligence for persuation of a war of false pretenses, Wall Street's deregualted looting of our American banking system over fradulent CDO accounts for sub-prime mortgages, and leaving people to die in New Orleans by diverting all the funding from FEMA prior to the Katrina disaster.....just to name a few........
    Mary Matalin doesn't quite realize the "doctrine" isn't Republican. Its a United Nations ammendment resolution....and it's already occuring with drones flying missions in Pakistan......

    December 6, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. OHIO

    Not Quite Matalin. Bush told the American people a LIE to go into Iraq. On the other hand Obama is going into Afghanistan because it was Afgahns who killed 3,000 americans NOT Iraqis. He is taking the fight to where it should have gone in the first place.

    For some reason this HUGE part of the puzzle is missed by certain media consultants!

    December 6, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Gonzo in Houston

    The Bush Doctrine was no safe haven for Saddam Hussein. 9/11 just gave W an excuse to invade Iraq. As soon as the Taliban were forced from power he started selling the lies that were the foundation for his war.

    What I would really like to know about his plans for A-stan is any major changes in tactics. Are we going to take the war to the enemy or try to react to their moves?

    December 6, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. jody from Kentucky

    If Bush and company had not abandoned Afghanistan to start a war in Iraq which was based upon lies ,America and allies more than likely, would have accomplished the mission in Afghanistan and all or most of our troops would have been home with their families. There would have been fewer lives lost for all the troops, billions saved in money and resources. The country of Iraq would not have been destroyed and we would not have to rebuild that country. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
    Think what might have been, folks, had you not "elected" the Moron.
    Please do not compare Mr. Obama to Bush. Bush would have to climb up on a ladder, to touch Obama's toes!!!!!!

    December 6, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Jimmy Flimmy

    Mary Matalin, and all others who are making the same claim, all seem to conveniently disregard the fact that Obama didn't go into Afghanistan. He inherited the situation and is doing what he and his advisers think is best prior to ending the war there. Seems they're ensuring a proper job is done in the short time we plan on being there. Will it work? No idea.

    December 6, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Dan, TX

    That is not true. Anyone with common sense can tell you that there is very little in common between Obama and Bush in policy or governance. This is the problem with listening to the pundits, they are idiots. Matalin does not have my respect as an analyst because she does not deserve it.

    December 6, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. gabi

    If it's the Bush doctrine, whey didn't Bush use it in Afghanistan?

    That's where the 9/11 attack was planned.

    December 6, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Keith

    It's one thing to pretend Bush never happened, but trying to tie your enemies to a disaster that is essentially your own fault is slimy.

    Hopefully it blows up in their faces.

    December 6, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Dave

    Just like Bush? Does that mean that Obama is also a criminal? I can't imagine a greater insult!

    December 6, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    This is to slp from a current post who called me "immature."
    I am glad you have the guts to challenge what I said, and I am glad that you at least back up your claim with some logical facts; but, however, accusing me of only seeing the liberal point of view is very judgemental and inaccurate, in my opinion. You do not even know who I am, or what I am really like. Well, if you have proof that I am that way, I will be more than happy to have an online, professional debate with you. You at least , even though it is clear that you and me do not see eye to eye, seem like the type of man or woman that I can have a healthy debate with. I have a facebook account, a yahoo account, and I live in Cape County, Missouri. If you can put that into a location picture inside your mind, and locate me, I will be more than happy to have a professional debate with. I am currently taking Fundementals of Oral Communication and Advanced College Writing, just go give you a heads up. The topic we can debate is, "Is a timetable for any war strategy necessary?"

    December 6, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. iawai

    Ron Paul asserted this last week, asking SoS Clinton and SecDef Gates if they supported the Bush doctrine. They both evaded the question, and tried to distinguish "preventive" and "preemptive" war while never stating which of those categories the Afpak war falls into, or if they support either.

    Last I checked, Rep. Paul is also a GOP member, so why no prominent news story then? Mary Matalin is very astute in pointing out that the actual war planning is taking the exact same path that McCain's would have, with different rhetoric and different promises.

    In June 2011 the US will still have troops in Afghanistan, and will be fighting in Pakistan. Warring in this region of the world has brought down Empires for 3000 years, and the US is falling into the traps, hook line and sinker.

    December 6, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. Raphael

    There is no difference between Bush and Obama. Both support surges. The only reason that Obama is not being criticized is that his supporters see him as a messiah with a golden halo around his head. In reality, there is no reason Bush should be criticized so much for the Iraq War when Obama has done nothing to end the Iraq War; there is no reason to blame Bush for the escalation in Afghanistan when he didn't author it. Lastly, you'll see what will happen next year: Obama will say we can't pull out of Iraq because there is no agreement between Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. You can't criticize Bush forever and never give Obama any criticism anymore. It's silly.

    December 6, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. JMikey54

    We are committed to training the Afghan army to defend itself so we can get out of there.

    December 6, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Jasmine in Germany

    The Bush Doctrine? Then why did Bush send our troops to Iraq instead of Afghanistan?

    December 6, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Jmonfly

    Matlin and the rest of the right wing-nut couldn't be more wrong. After years of leaving the real threat of afganistan on hold to devote resources to Iraq, they have made our job more dangerous and deadly for our troops. Obama has correctly devoted our resourses to the real threat where we should have been all along.

    December 6, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. jonny

    Well it does resemble Bush in the fact that finally a democrat wants to defend America.

    December 6, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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