The Instigator
Yvette
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
ravenwaen
Con (against)
Winning
37 Points

George. W. Bush was a better president than Barack Obama is

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 14 votes the winner is...
ravenwaen
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,931 times Debate No: 12303
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (14)

 

Yvette

Pro

I resolve that the previous president of the United States was a better president than our current president. I will attempt to provide the most objective reasoning for my position and expect my opponent to do the same. We have agreed to avoid semantics and I would like to spend this first round simply agreeing that this is so. In the next round I will present my argument.

Thank you for the debate and best of luck.
ravenwaen

Con

I accept and affirm the conditions of this debate. I wish my opponent good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
Yvette

Pro

I maintain that the previous president of the United States was a better president than our current president, a claim for which I alone have the burden of proof. My reasoning for this is simple. Subjective arguments can be repeated ad nauseum but prove nothing. Our country is one of widely varying and sharply contrasting moral guidelines, so neither president should be considered objectively better based on which cultural mores they bow to. There are many other subjective arguments which only appeal to those who share the values each president has held up or turned their back on.

Therefor, the only possible way to objectively know which president was better is to base our opinion on the amount of their experience. Clearly, President George W. Bush is more experienced on the job, having had spent over four times as much as Barack Obama was a president. Of course, Bush was also re-elected--he didn't get his experience by accident. In addition, President George W. Bush is known to have more executive experience overall than Barack Obama, having spent time as a governor of a large and powerful state. Finally, I will compare their respective approval ratings. While numbers of supporters do not make a president better, only better liked, they may offer some indication of how well a president has served.

On average, Bush and Obama have had fairly similar average approval ratings (see the link below): Obama's average, according to Wikipedia, is 54, Bush's was 49. For a new president, Obama's approval rating is abysmal, having fallen below 50% in this first year--meaning, he has already lost the approval of the people who voted him in office. Bush, however, had an approval rating of 90% at one point--meaning even those who had voted against him approved of his work. It took him eight years to reach the abysmal ratings which Obama seems headed for even now.

In conclusion, any objective look at these two presidents will show that George W. Bush was a better president than Obama is.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
ravenwaen

Con

"The only possible way to objectively know which president was better is to base our opinion on the amount of their experience."
Here my opponent essentially defines "better" to be exclusively based on seniority. This is a ludicrous standard of measurement because it does not address QUALITY of public service, only quantity. We are debating who was a better president, not a longer-lived politician. What's more, George Bush's terms as a governor are extraneous -- they may have influenced his actions as President, but alone they demonstrate nothing about the quality of his service.

Though my opponent cites approval ratings as evidence, she herself acknowledges that they do not show which president was objectively better. In fact, one should regard them as an irrelevant measure -- Bush's approval ratings were at 90% >after the worst act of terrorism on US soil<, and Lincoln, who "preserved the Union and ended slavery"[1], had half the country at war with him. If popularity is somehow indicative of the quality of one's service, my opponent does not say how.

Rather than base our opinion on these irrelevancies, let us look at how well Bush and Obama upheld the Constitution, which, according to the Presidential Oath of Office[2], is the duty of the President. Bush FAILED, where Obama has not, to uphold the Constitution in the following areas:

"Take Care that the Laws be Faithfully Executed"
During office, Bush publicly challenged hundreds of laws[4] and blatantly violated others such as authorizing torture[5], unwarranted surveillance[6], and declaring an illegal war[7].

"Provide for the Common Defense"
The attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, which occurred during Bush's first term, was the deadliest act of terrorism on US soil. It is widely known that on August 6, 2001, he received and IGNORED a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike US."[9]

"Promote the General Welfare"
During the entire year of 2008 (in Bush's second term), job losses got worse and worse every month and only began a pattern of improvement immediately after Obama began his first term (see the graph in Source 10; it's damning). Poverty rates also increased >every year< of Bush's presidency after 2001.[11]

In conclusion, Bush repeatedly failed in his primary duty as president -- which is to uphold the aims of the US Constitution -- where Obama has not. This clearly shows that Bush was NOT a better president than Obama is.
Debate Round No. 2
Yvette

Pro

I thank my opponent for indulging my playing Devil's advocate. Experience is valuable. If you were to take two people, know nothing about them aside from their experience, and choose one to fill a position, you would choose the most experienced. The president is an administrator who must not allow the country to fall apart under his watch. Both presidents inherited problems which they handled badly early in their presidency, but Obama lacks the experience and lessons learned. In addition, Obama has done a poorer job of keeping the nation from falling apart than Bush.

APPROVAL RATINGS
We agree that approval ratings are not a complete measure of quality, however my opponent references Lincoln. Yet modern adoration of Lincoln does not reflect reality, under his presidency half the states seceded and his subjects hated him enough to assassinate him. Obama has likewise angered voters to the point of constant protests and talk of secession and violence. The approval ratings are relevant because they show unrest and division under Obama.

LEGAL ISSUES
Bush served for eight years. Obama has only served for two, and has in fact already challenged a number of laws [1] [2]. He has not overturned Bush's various measures reducing the privacy and rights of citizens, and this year re-authorized the PATRIOT Act. While Bush did violate laws, he did so in the interest of US citizens with significant popular support for his actions. Obama has disagreed with some of these practices like Guantanamo but has proved unable to take action.

GENERAL WELFARE
Here, Obama has done worse only two years than Bush did in eight years.

RE: Source 10: this is skewed; it reflects only a small part of Bush's last term, and an unfinished first part of Obama's first term. In addition: "To compare job growth in 2010 with Bush's record ignores the nearly 4 million jobs lost in Obama's first year, during the freefall that began in Bush's final months." [4] There is nowhere to go but up.

RE: Source 11: This biased article fails to mention the amount Bush era poverty was raised by. In the table below [5], you can see that the percentage of people below the poverty line increased from 11.7 percent to 12.7 percent. A total rise of one percent. And the poverty rate for families increased by only 0.2 percent. This is hardly "damning".

Under Obama the federal deficit has skyrocketed. Future generations will suffer the effects of Obama's term but not Bush's. [3] And while the economic downturn began at the end of Bush's second term, recessions are a cyclical event, occurring every decade or so. The country was already past due for one. While Obama inherited some of the problems from Bush, similarly, Bush was not immune to the accumulated problems of previous presidents.

COMMON DEFENSE
President Bush made an error in judgment but note that he was then highly inexperienced (proving my point about the value of experience) and that the issue was not dealt with by Clinton.
ravenwaen

Con

APPROVAL RATINGS
My opponent said, "Under [Lincoln's] presidency half the states seceded and his subjects hated him enough to assassinate him."
This is my point exactly. At the time, his "approval ratings" were terrible. But now we recognize that the actions he took to cause that low approval were in GOOD SERVICE to the country. This further proves my point that approval ratings are not an appropriate measure of how good a president is.

LEGAL ISSUES
My opponent's first source actually supports that Obama RESPECTS the law, not violates it: He urged the Supreme Court to favor federal law over state law, which is absolutely appropriate and in accordance with the Constitution.

This leaves my opponent with a single example of Obama challenging a law, whereas I provided sources that show multiple examples of Bush blatantly violating Constitutional and international law. Considering that the President is the head of the EXECUTIVE branch, the most important standard for assessing a president's quality of service is their respect for the law and "taking care that the laws be faithfully executed."[1] By this standard, Bush was undoubtedly NOT better--indeed, worse--than Obama is.

GENERAL WELFARE
Re: RE: Source 10: The source is not skewed. It shows a critical time of economic turmoil in the US, with EQUAL REPRESENTATION given to both Bush and Obama. Source 2 shows a more complete version of the same graph, further demonstrating the pattern of improvement.

The 10-year deficit is too far outside "General Welfare" to argue within a 3000-char. limit, but I will say that my opponent's third source did NOT support her claim about the suffering of future generations.

Not only did Bush fail to promote the General Welfare, he explicitly impeded it by signing the 2003 "stimulus" package into law. This bill cut critical spending for Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and public education[3] (all programs that promote the general welfare) in favor of tax cuts, most of which went to the top 1% income earners.[4]

DEFENSE
My opponent attempts to excuse Bush's negligence by saying that he was "too inexperienced." This does not negate the fact that he failed to provide for the common defense by not taking action after knowing the risk Osama bin Laden posed. If his inexperience was the cause of such a grave error, then so be it--this still makes him a worse president.

THE STATE OF THE NATION
My opponent said, "Obama has done a poorer job of keeping the nation from falling apart than Bush."
This is a weighty claim for which my opponent provides no valid evidence. In fact, three disasters--all of which the President has the capacity to prevent or lessen--occurred while Bush was in office: the WTC attacks, the decimation of New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008 financial crisis.

The arguments and evidence I have provided make the truth clear: Bush was NOT a better president than Obama is.

I thank my opponent for a great debate.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ravenwaen 6 years ago
ravenwaen
Preposterous fairy tales? Name one. All of my claims are sourced and all but one of my sources are non-partisan and respectable.
Posted by surfride 6 years ago
surfride
"Anyone arguing against Obama should point out that he was elected based upon the biggest lies in campaign history, that he would govern with openness and bipartisanship. He promised never to use reconciliation. Nothing stopped Obama from keeping his promise, they were just lies to get elected.
" (citation needed)

Name an example where Obama has not given bipartisanship a chance. Anyone who thinks he hasn't been bipartisan is clearly not listening; being bipartisan does not mean that the minority party gets whatever it wants or even that everything is split 50/50. It means both parties are included in the process. There's a great article out there about bipartisanship that to summarize says bipartisan doesn't mean no matter how small a party is it gets equal say, because if that were the case why have elections at all? Also, Obama never promised not to use reconciliation.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Con told preposterous fairy tales about Bush, but Pro let them go unchallenged. Arguing popularity does not measure which was better. Pro basically didn't show up, so it goes to Con.

Anyone arguing against Obama should point out that he was elected based upon the biggest lies in campaign history, that he would govern with openness and bipartisanship. He promised never to use reconciliation. Nothing stopped Obama from keeping his promise, they were just lies to get elected.
Posted by surfride 6 years ago
surfride
Ah Yvette. . . it was a noble attempt but you were really fighting impossible odds there =p
Posted by Strikeeagle84015 6 years ago
Strikeeagle84015
I would like to point out the General Welfare thing Bush did pass medicare part D (and although I very much disagree with it) it seems to be in accordance to what you guys are calling the general welfare
Posted by Lovebotlass17 6 years ago
Lovebotlass17
I looked at former President Bush for amusement. He was hilarious and it was almost difficult to get angry with him. But he messed up. A lot of presidents do. The Iraq War...wtf was that?
Posted by cjl 6 years ago
cjl
Sorry....Obama is better. Bush was...well, bad to say the least.
Posted by Yvette 6 years ago
Yvette
Agreed, personally. :P
Posted by Itsallovernow 6 years ago
Itsallovernow
They both suck.
Posted by ravenwaen 6 years ago
ravenwaen
Sources for Round 3:
1. US Constitution, Article 2 Section 3. http://www.usconstitution.net...
2. http://msnbcmedia.msn.com...
3. http://berkeley.edu...
4. http://www.nytimes.com...

Also, praise to Yvette for so excellently arguing a position that is both difficult to defend and very opposed to her personal view.
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