December 6th, 2009
04:42 PM ET
3 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. annie s

    Thank heavens not at all like Bush. This President actually thinks before he acts. A preemptive strike against a sovereign nation that poses no imminent danger to us would have been like Bush.

    December 6, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. Danny J

    So Obama has a Bush Surge policy, except, he advertises our exit... although our exit is conditional and changes based on conditions on the ground. So if the exit strategy plan fails, we have an indefinite exit timeline... exactly like the Bush surges. If we meet the exit plan (which based on which Obama official you talk to varies so much, no one believes there really is an exit plan), resurgents will be quietly waiting in the wings, let our troops leave, and THEN reek havoc on Afghanistan. Lose-Lose situation for Obama.

    Reading the Liberal criticisms here is laughable. Had McCain won, put out this EXACT plan, exact speech, etc, you all would be fuming right now. Why do you guys keep lying to yourselves? Hypocrisy is not flattering.

    December 6, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Roland

    Let's not forget, she says things not because she believes it to be true. Doesn't matter. Republicans will twist, spin and twirl to get the uninformed marching to their song again. And there are alot of uniformed and easily swayed voting nits to be had.

    December 6, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. J.L.

    “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.

    That's funny that she calls that the "Bush Doctrine" when really Bush didn't follow this so-called doctrine... if I remember correctly, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban for the most part fled into Pakistan. And what did Bush do? Pretty much twiddled his thumbs and lobbed some bombs every so often from Predator drones into the area... if you're going to name some doctrine after someone, at least define the doctrine by what that person did. So the Bush Doctrine would be... start a war somewhere. Then get distracted by some other place you don't like and shift all of your focus on that other place, which has no relation to where you started the first war. Then pretty much ignore the first place where you originally started the first war, until it pretty much start going to hell in a handbasket... that my friends, is the actual "Bush Doctrine."

    December 6, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. JonDie

    From 2002 to 2008, Bush left our troops in Afghanistan without a strategy and without leadership. Matalin is an IDIOT (but you already knew that).

    December 6, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. Robrob

    Whaa? Obama's plan is “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine" but yet the Rwnuts still complain about it?

    Matlin says “there are enough troops” in Afghanistan but yet the Generals are begging for more?

    According to Matlin, the Bush Doctrine is the only one that works but yet after seven years of occupation we are no closer to an Afghan solution than the day we invaded.

    December 6, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. txleadhead

    He hit the nail on the head. I haven't noticed any difference. Maybe they were seperated at birth. Explains the Birth Certificate he won't show. He's a chip off the old block.

    December 6, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. Obama's "New" Plan

    I think Obama's "New" plan for Afghanistan is definitely the right direction. It is an exact copy of the Bush plan to eliminate the threat in Iraq and establish a secure government that has allowed the US to draw down troops. This plan will work just like Bush's plan did in Iraq. I am please to see that Obama can operate in a bipartisian manner and accept the recommendation of his generals in spite of critisim that his policy is just like Bush's.

    December 6, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. GOPBslapper

    Actually it is nothing like Bush's Doctrine. Bush sent a miniscule amount of under equipped troops with zero ally support to babysit the Afghans. Obama by contrast has sent / is sending the troop numbers needed to kill all the Al Quaida Idiots we should have wasted 8 years ago. Yet one more Bush / GOP mess the Democrats are forced to clean up after!

    December 6, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. terry,va

    I wouldn't compare that spineless chump to Bush. Bush might have not been right on all issues but he took a stand on issues and didn't waiver.

    December 6, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. www.twitter.com/whybs

    Matalin,

    With your comments, you resemble Palin! And it's a compliment - just ask any repug! :(

    December 6, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. StevieB

    Seriously – do any republicans live in the same reality as the rest of the world?

    December 6, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. Will S

    Bush Doctrine: Attack countries that deny us access to their oil reserves.

    December 6, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Ancient Texan

    The strategy is the same as Bush, except President Bush would not have voiced a decision to leave on a certain date, win, lose or draw. This is a brand new way to fight a war. Announce the start and finish dates all in the same sentence. Unbelievable!

    December 6, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. Aaron R.

    Democrats need to stop making Obama into flawless hero. It's become clear that he is no less of an establishment president as George W Bush as we would want to believe. Stop making excuses for him. The office of the President may have changed faces, but the function of government has not.

    December 6, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. gary davis harbor oregon

    wow even people from the Bush state of TEXAS believe that president OBAMA by listening to the right people has decided to act on the recomindations from qualified people to go get the terrorists and have a end date . and now the generals have the ability to strick back .and become agressive . we are at war so act like it and go get the enemy. and take them out .. I am again impressed in reading todays blogs .. america is waking up and we are getting back to the way the world will see us as a nation after 9/11
    WE JOIN TOGETHER AND ACT
    GOD BLESS AMERICA AND THE PEOPLE YOUNG AND OLD THAT SUPPORT ALL OF US FIGHTING THIS WAR . WE THE PEOPLE SUPPORT EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU. AND DON'T BELEIVE THE RADICAL IDIOTS ON ANY BLOG THAT DON'T SUPPORT YOU . WE THE PEOPLE WILL STAND WITH YOU . :)

    December 6, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. johnrj08

    I don't understand this couple at all. How can these two live in the same house together, much less the same bedroom. All I can think is that neither of them really believes in what they're saying. If they did, Carvell would reach across the table and strangle his lovely, bone-headed wife. Or she would pull his Spock-like ears off. The suggestion that Obama is anything remotely like George W. Bush is just stupendously ignorant of the facts.

    December 6, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. John

    On the contrary, Obama is reverting to a different Republican military doctrine, first enunciated during the Reagan administration:

    "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."

    Have a goal, a plan, and a firm timetable: The Powell Doctrine (from General Powell's stint as Chairman of JCS under Reagan.) Worked well for both Reagan and Bush 41; can't see why Ms. Matalin is criticizing a policy of Ronald Reagan's that Bush 43 threw out the window, jeopardizing our national security by invading Iraq when, if anywhere, our troops should have been in Afghanistan. Bush 43 had no clear goal, no plan, and neither a timetable nor an exit strategy.

    December 6, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. TangledThorns

    Bush was a true leader, Obama is not.

    December 6, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Kate

    Obama does not have a viable plan for defending our country. He had all of the answers before he became President, but look at him now. I am so disappointed.

    December 6, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. phillip

    This woman's argument is flat out wrong. The Bush doctrine is all about pre-emption and nothing to do with how wars are fought. While this may be an affirmation of COIN or counter-insurgency as a means of fighting wars, this is most definitely not an affirmation of pre-emptive war. This lady is seemingly trying to defend George Bush and is using the fact that President Obama is signing off on the same operational strategy that Bush signed off on in Iraq circa 2007 as a means of such.

    December 6, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. Incredulous

    If Obama is truly like Bush, then the Republicans should give Obama their total, grovelling support to everything he puts before the House and the Senate.

    December 6, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Whatever

    Another Fool.

    December 6, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. Joe

    The buzz word "mixed message" about the Afghan war needs to end NOW. He is not sending a 'mixed message,' he is refusing to be ignorantly determined about a complex issue. The crappy media like CNN seems to love terms like 'mixed message' and 'flip flop' as if deliberating and reconsidering issues was a bad thing.

    December 6, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. rednekhank

    Why Matalin? Was that other dumb broad Sarah Palin not available?

    December 6, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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