December 6th, 2009
04:42 PM ET
7 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. David

    The idea that

    'no safe havens [for terrorists intent on harming the United States] and we go after those that provide a harbor [for such terrorists]..'

    is a "Bush" doctrine is lunacy. For the most part this has been the American doctrine since terrorists have been called terrorists. Also, we did not go in, topple the government that we put in, and enact "regime change" as part of the plan. Can we please stop allowing moronic Re-pubicans to have a platform for their "ideas" in the media?

    December 6, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. mar

    Carvell can't you keep that women of your's in line, I think SHE should sleep on the couch tonight

    December 6, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    Obama is not like Bush. He is not following the same game plan as Bush. Bush had a way in but Obama has a way in and a way out.

    December 6, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. John G

    this is too funny. Obama is like Bush?!! Maybe Obama finally realized he is not able to keep all those "promises" he made. Maybe he realized that his predecessor was doing what was right all along.
    Obama-fans. Where are your "yes we can" chants now? Obama is only a celebrity that just been praised for nothing. What is his accomplishment? Nothing. How has be improved our nation? I don't know either...oh wait, we get to pay back $700 billion, which no one knows where it went. I haven't seen any new jobs appearing, in fact, the unemployment rate is worse than ever.
    Maybe I too can get a Nobel Peace Prize for writing this comment. No no, we should ALL get a Nobel Peace Prize.

    December 6, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  5. Scott

    Whats this woman talking about? She is a Bush supporter. Get her off the air and stop listening to her garbage. She's very confused. What! Has she turned from the GOPers and Bush! I don't think so.

    December 6, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. Rick

    I don't think so. Bush had no brain and distroyed the USA

    December 6, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. NVa Native

    Being so close to the Dick has warped her mind.

    December 6, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. GeorgeVT

    The "surge" was NOT the Bush strategy by any stretch of the imagination, it was the general's strategy – and for once Bush listened to his general. Does everyone forget Mr. Bush claiming that he would send as many troops as needed to fight in Iraq whenever the generals asked for them? The generals did ask for them, however, Rumsfield (who was appointed by Bush/Cheney) quashed all of those requests before they ever made it to his desk (I would be willing to bet). Therefore, there was no such thing as a "Bush Strategy" in fact, I beg all of you to read the book "Fiasco" about the early Iraq war. Then you will actually see that Bush had no strategy at all – he had tactics – but no strategy.

    December 6, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Jack in OH

    He is definitely friendlier to the terrorists. In that respect he is different. Unfortunately, he is continuing some of the unfriendly domestic policies (Wall Street bailouts, etc) and even making some worse (health care, domestic spending, etc).

    December 6, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. Independent Lilarose, Bandon, Oregon

    The United States needs to get the heck out of Afghanistan as soon as possible and not look back.

    We are not paying enough attention to our own homeland security.

    No one listens to the people of this country. The majority want OUT OF AFGHANISTAN!

    What do we have to do to get this point across?????

    December 6, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. Tony

    It's not surprising that GOP (demand) specific direction on an issue, then once done he criticized by the GOP as like bush. One would be a fool not to see through the foolish GOP – hay, but what about standing up for America GOP?

    December 6, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Shelly

    Then we can still say this is 'Bush's war' .....a war that he started but never finished, because he unintelligently got in the Iraq war. If he had kept focus on the Afghan war we would have eliminated most of the extremists
    by now and might have captured Bin Laden. But instead trillions of dollars and thousands of lives have been lost in a war that should have never been in Iraq.
    I have confidence in our intelligent President military THAT THIS NECESSARY WAR WILL PREVENT a terrible outcome for future generations. Read the revealing details of how the President came to his decision in the NY Times. Very interesting.

    December 6, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Jack Lowe

    Bush didn't have the balls to declare an 18 month limit.

    December 6, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  14. chris

    Well of course its the same plan, the same banks/corporations that Bush worked for are the same banks/corporations that obama works for. You think there is a difference between a Republican and a Democrat?

    December 6, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. Ann

    No... this move in Afghanistan resembles Obama.
    Passing healthcare without a Public Option would resemble no new advancement past Bush policy.

    December 6, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Just wondering, are you liberals who are very vocal in not supporting this surge racists? Because you know that's what you called Republicans when we didn't support Obama. If not, then either you were wrong before, are wrong now, or are just hypocrites.

    December 6, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. Willsooooon!!!

    So any surge now automatically becomes a Bush doctrine?? Let me remind you what the Bush doctrine was.....

    The Bush doctrine was "take troops out Afghanistan and give Osama a head start...so that we can surge in Iraq, where we never need to be in to begin with, but it does have oil and wealth....we got rid of Saddam who was not the reason we went there, but it worked out...so it makes it all ok"

    December 6, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. Ed P.

    NO this is a wrong assertion. The Bush Doctrine entailed lying to the American public after 9/11 to invade a country that wasn't a threat (IRAQ). Obama wants to go to Afghanistan to war against and defeat the enemy AKA the ones who took out NYC. Bush was just cleaning up for his dad and Reagan and pretending that terrorists were there. Saddam hated terrorists.

    December 6, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. Stu- SW Florida

    What an utterly stupid comment...
    Absolutely NOTHING like Bush...

    December 6, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. Ed

    Always amused by the marriage of these two so politically opposed, and missed the show today but, from the pic, were they on TOGETHER? If so, great work by producers and John.
    AAAnd...who wears the pants in that marriage? Dunno, but did note BOTH wearing a tie in the pic.
    (Am a moderate Dem, and obviously agree with James more so than Mar)y, but if THEY can "get along" at their dinner table (and wherever else) (!!!) maybe we ALL need tone down our anger, if not the rhetoric that just seems to be getting parabolic, over political issues over the last few years!

    December 6, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Stop the War

    Unfortunately I have to agree , I don't see a lot of difference between Obama's approach and Bush's. There's a troop surge into a very amorphous and poorly understood war zone , no mention of a draft, no mention of a war tax, just hammer the troops into the ground and give speaches about the countries sacrifice. Meanwhile , young people are still coming home in boxes and the generals are still running the show. The war machine storms ahead against all reason – what is different?????

    December 6, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. renobill

    Sad but true. To date Obama's Mid East policy has copied Bush's in almost every way. What a disappointment. We had hoped for a man with brains, and integerty. Oh well, he's still better than McCain, and the bimbo.

    December 6, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  23. Jorge Menendez

    Exactly. Meet the old boss, same as the new boss. I voted for Obama, hoping for some change that would benefit the people and that he really was as liberal as the Republicans complained about. Instead, we have more war, corporate welfare for the health insurance companies, and bailouts for rich bankers who pay a lower tax rate that most in the middle class. Single Payer health care (Medicare for All) was off the table from the start. There has been no pressure on China to end their unfair trade practices. There has been no effort to create an environment suitable for the creation of good Middle Class jobs. Just more of the same nonsense.

    Count me as one of those who do not approve of President Obama. I'm thinking of staying home for awhile. Its obvious that voting is meaningless if you're in the Middle Class.

    December 6, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    It’s not a mixed message. The President is saying to Afghanistan, we’ll help you roust the bad guys because it’s in our best interest to do so, but you’ll need to step up at this specific time because we’re not going to me there for you forever. And he’s not ruling out other options for responding to threats to America should different action become necessary. This is an improved philosophy.

    December 6, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. afg

    He did what he had to do. PERIOD! It was a war he didn't start, but somehow has to get out of.

    December 6, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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