The article reports that Bush, adhering to protocol that governs former presidents, declined to criticize President Obama directly. Bush's defense of many of his policies, however, implicitly criticize Obama (or at least validate many conservative critiques of Obama).
A closer reading of Bush's comments reveals that he is apparently suffering from acute amnesia. Bush, for example, stated that:
I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in. . . . You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money.This simple truism, however, hides some important issues, like the fact that Bush -- not Obama -- proposed TARP (or the "bailout") and signed it into law. Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson advocated the passage of TARP on the grounds that pumping nearly $1 trillion of "our money" into the private sector would help end the financial crisis.
Furthermore, even after many Republicans criticized the idea of providing federal financial assistance to the automobile industry, President Bush (not Obama) proposed using TARP funds to bail out Detroit. TARP for banks and car companies began during the Bush administration, not with Obama.
To his credit, Bush resisted the opportunity to criticize Obama for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Prior to leaving office, Bush said that he wanted to close the facility as well.
Nevertheless, Bush's comment on the danger of terrorists leaves the impression that he suffers from amnesia. For example, Bush stated:
[T]here are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that -- persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind. . . .Although Bush mocked the idea of using therapy to reform terrorists, he sent many Saudi detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia in order to participate in the "Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Centre for Care and Counseling" program, which uses a 12-step program, combined with therapy, to rehabilitate terrorists. The program enjoys mixed reviews, and some of the detainees Bush referred to the program have resumed their participation in Al Qaeda.
Furthermore, Bush seems unable to recall that President Obama apparently agrees with his comments about the dangers of Guantanamo Bay detainees. Obama, like Bush, has decided to use military tribunals, in addition to civilian courts, to prosecute suspected terrorists. Obama has also stated that the government will use the controversial practice of "preventive detention" for "dangerous" individuals who do not face prosecution in either civilian or military courts. The Washington Times article does not mention whether Bush acknowledged the overlap between his policies and Obama's policies related to terrorism, nor does it report the contradictions between Bush's words and his policies.
Finally, Bush seems unable to comprehend current proposals for health care reform. For example, he said that:
There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care. . . .I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care.Of course, President Obama has not proposed "nationalizing health care." Instead, at most, he supports a public plan option that will serve alongside private insurance. If this represents "nationalized" health care, then the country already has a nationalized system, because the federal government and the fifty states already serve as public payers of health care, under Medicare, Medicaid, the VHA, SCHIP, and various other programs. Although conservatives argue that an additional public plan option would cause the collapse of private insurance, this point is debatable, and it certainly is not a specific piece of Obama's proposals.