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. proud dem in nc

    Fat chance, Mary. !!!!!! Bush and Obama are polar opposites. Bush rode into Iraq like John Wayne. Guns blazing without a thought as to what the mission would be or any sort of exit plan. Obama LISTENS to people, not just "yes men", weighs his options carefully before sending in troops. You go, Obama!!! Bush isn't fit to shine your shoes.

    December 6, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. Jan Illinois

    Mary, Mary quite contrary, We know why you keep this crap of yours going honey. It's your meal ticket!!! Don't even go there, Your Bushey Boy is the worst president this WORLD has ever seen, now go do something useful Mary and stir up something about all the money that administration stole and how the war was so very wrong on all fronts.

    December 6, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. mabear

    Give me a break. George Bush is dumber than I am. No one can be compared to Bush other than a homeless person and if he is a vet, he is smarter than Bush. Let's get some Americans like Obama running the country and let's get rid of the money hungry, greedy people like McConnell and Boehner who are only concerned about themselves. We need to protect our people and not have GOP people running around being greedy.

    December 6, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Matt

    Yes! Obama is just like Bush...because they've both been commander in chief...

    ...and Luciano Pavarotti is just like Sid Vicious because they've both performed music in public...

    ...and Ben Affleck is just like Ben Franklin because they're both named Ben...

    My point is that intelligent people recognize the differences between Obama and Bush.

    Obama is an brilliant leader who cares about his country and actually practices Christianity, while Bush is just a selfish dolt who cares only for himself and merely pretends to be a Christian.

    December 6, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. SL

    Some halfwit Bush fanatic is calling Obama supporters "lemmings?" Wow, speak of irony!

    December 6, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. wb

    I really don't care what the republicans say anymore. They will say anything to get re-elected. When are we going to elect people that want whats best for America not Corporate America. Maybe we should change the name to The United American Corporation. Corporate America wants less government in their business but they demand half the revenues collected. Tax, rebates, abatement's, bail outs, less taxes, abandon environment clean up funds, pay people less, don't want to pay for benefits, government contracts without bidding, privatize more government programs it goes on and on. When corporate America stops demanding hand outs from the government then maybe I would allow less oversight.

    December 6, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Mickey

    Matalin is another brean-dead Republican. She is COMPLETELY out of the loop.

    These morons don't realize the damage 8 years of "Bushonomics" did to this country...REAGAN WAS WRONG!

    The Bush Doctrine was an illegal piece of crap and he, as well as those in his administration who had a hand in crafting it (ahem...CHENEY), should be tried for war crimes.

    If McCain/Palin were to become a reality in the last general election, the ONLY job available would be to join the military. The rest of us would be on bread lines, eating roadkill to survive, and living in cardboard boxes.

    GOP: Evolve or die.

    December 6, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  8. @obama/biden

    Hello obama/biden,

    Yhe president is not listening to you here. Go back to your dream world. Thank you.

    December 6, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  9. gary davis harbor oregon

    actually Mary if you keep going down that road of stupid ,you might catch up to Palin .. and that would be stupid :(

    December 6, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. What?

    But Bush is an idiot, inarticulate and inept. Therefore, President Obama is left attempting to clean up the Bush admin. mess. I wish our President was not left with a recession-depression, 2 wars and distrust from around the world. However, he was and I believe that in less than a year he has done the best that anyone could expect. I also wish that everyone would give him the time needed to fix eight years of chaos. Wishful thinking – I know.

    December 6, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  11. @obama/biden

    Hello obama/biden,

    The president is not listening to you here. He does not read these comments. This is not letters to Santa. Also, you cannot spell or use words correctly. Go back to your dream world. Thank you.

    December 6, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. Ruggybee

    Wow! Didn’t think I would be able to agree with a Republican but stranger things have happened. Mat is right on some things but she forgot that Bush failed to have a clear strategy for leaving either Iraq or Afghanistan. He even declared mission accomplished ahead of the worse period of the war when most allied lives were lost.

    December 6, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. Sean Olds

    Only a republican strategist would wear a piano key necktie. Their strategies haven't worked since movies like "Big" hit the box office.

    December 6, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. Larry

    L O L ...

    Bush never once had a doctrine to do anything, except to shove his poor leadership up Americas butt ...

    8 long years, starting with a stolen election, fraud, lies, murder of our young soldiers in a war that should never been started, sucking up to corporate America while our population suffered, starting with NO deficit and taking us to where we are now

    L O L ... The Bush Doctrine ...

    The Legacy of an IDIOT ...

    December 6, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. Kai

    I think this is just a ploy to get the uneducated group of Americans to place Obama in the same category as Bush to give their candidates a better time. Educated Americans, however, notice that Obama is actually making a priority to listen to the commanders, formulate a plan BEFORE acting and avoiding an inevitable mistake like Iraq was that cost us allies, and is making sure we don't stay there for eternity.

    Besides, how can Obama know what the Bush Doctrine is when conservatives (probably even Bush himself) don't know what it is?

    December 6, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. jj

    Ya, he deserves second term just like bush!

    December 6, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Jeremy

    This is fairly humorous. I wonder if she really believes the stuff she's saying, or is it just for show?

    Obama's aim is completely different than Bush's was in 2001. Obama is trying to stabilize a mess that W created after deciding to go after Saddam instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan.

    Sounds to me as if Matlin is trying to blur the lines.

    December 6, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  18. Het

    Yes, I've always felt that the fact that 80% of our manpower and logistics were tied up in Iraq, which never attacked us...While the leftovers were left to fend for themselves in the one country that DID attack us, Afghanistan, was criminal and unjustified, as well as downright stupid.
    We missed bin Laden at the beginning because we were concentrating on Iraq.
    I cannot for the life of me imagine HOW the American people haven't ever demanded accountability and reasons.

    December 6, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. Marcus

    Is this lady serious?
    The Bush Doctrine is the main reason why there are US troops in Afghanistan 8 years after the first ones arrived there, the reason why the Secretary of State have been working on the double to get back our support from our allies and the reason of why Iran saw its influence grow without any effective resistance from the USA!!!
    What's that? An attempt to rewrite story that early so we can look back at the Bush (the son) Years with some respect?
    Lame, very lame...

    December 6, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. the good doctor

    hello people...The things that obama has done that wouldn't differ from Bush begin to mount....increasing our troop presence overseas (now ~500K troops and contractors in Iraq/Afghanistan) and well on our way to doubling the debt (2009 beat Bush's record deficit by ~300%). Heck, the obama administration just expanded the drone attacks in pakistan this weekend. In 4 years do y'all really think obama won't double the debt and there won't be 700K troops in 70% of the world's countries. Obama and Bush are about as different as a pair and apple if you ask me.

    December 6, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Katelyn

    Get real Mary – President Obama is a far cry from George W....Thank God!!

    December 6, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Wrong My Dear. The Bush doctrine is to invade countries willy nilly.

    December 6, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. Mark

    Good ole Mary....she's still stepping to the tunes of Rush and Rove.

    December 6, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  24. no longer a democrat

    She is exactly right. The Dems bashed Bush for 8 years and now they have to face to the unpleasant fact that Obama is doing what Bush had to do.

    This is Obama's war now.

    December 6, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  25. tee

    Listening to a repug is getting harder and harder.....they will never ever get a vote from me.....I refuse to be stuck on stupid.....these so called bright minds are being reduced to nothing......maybe that the way its always been.....we didn't notice because of all the smoke.

    December 6, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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