We all remember George W. Bush’s statement that Obama deserves his silence. It is good to see that W. is not afraid to defend his policies or to be critical of those of the current administration without going back on his word.
He spoke to a local business group in Erie, PA yesterday:
Former President George W. Bush fired a salvo at President Obama on Wednesday, asserting his administration’s interrogation policies were within the law, declaring the private sector not government will fix the economy and rejecting the nationalization of health care.
Repeatedly in his hourlong speech and question-and-answer session, Mr. Bush said he would not directly criticize the new president, who has moved to take over financial institutions and several large corporations. Several times, however, he took direct aim at Obama policies as he defended his own during eight years in office.
On Gitmo and the War on Terror:
“The way I decided to address the problem was twofold: One, use every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again,” he said, adding that the country needs to stay on offense, not defense. On Guantanamo, which while in office Mr. Bush said he wanted to close, the former president was diplomatic.
“I told you I’m not going to criticize my successor,” he said. “I’ll just tell you that there 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.”
On the economy:
“Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States,” he said to huge cheers.
He said his administration sought to address the “housing bubble” before the system broke down. “We tried to reform” mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, “but couldn’t get it through the vested interests on Capitol Hill.”
On health care:
“There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care,” Mr. Bush said. “I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care.”
And when he was asked whether he finds Obama’s policies to be socialist?
Mr. Bush started then stopped. “I hear a lot of those words, but it depends on..,”he said, breaking off. He later offered a more diplomatic assessment: “We’ll see.”
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. History will be much kinder to George W. Bush as the months and years melt away and a brighter light is shone on the current administration’s policies.