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27 Feb, 2009 12:49

We are not Bush: Republicans on old and new presidents

Barack Obama has been in office for little over a month but members of the conservative opposition are already showing their disapproval of his economic stimulus plan.

Thousands of Republicans have gathered in Washington D.C. for a conference where they are outlining what they think is wrong with the policies of the new US president.

Held at a swanky hotel in Washington D.C., the Conservative Political Action Conference hosts former presidential candidates, television and radio stars, and key US policymakers.

Obama’s handling of the ongoing crisis has been the focus of everybody’s attention and criticism.

“This phony stimulus hastens a march toward an irreversible tipping point in our democracy that threatens to radically alter the relationship between American citizens and our government,” said Congressman Paul Ryan, a young rising star in the Republican Party in his key speech.

However abrupt, it still sounded mild compared to what some prominent Republicans had to say.

Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee went as far as claiming that Obama’s actions are in fact establishing a “socialist republic” in the US

“Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff,” the politician was quoted by the Washington Post as saying.

He suggested that the economy should come to equilibrium itself through a free market permitted to engage in creative destruction, and this entertained the crowd no less. Huckabee’s remark “This year, we might be asking a question: dude, where’s my country?” was met with a burst of laughter. His speech, however, did not come without any self-criticism.

Huckabee remembered the huge spending by Republicans when they were in power and the response to Hurricane Katrina by Bush’s administration.

“You know what kind of conservatives we need to be first and foremost? Competent conservatives,” he said.

The overall tone of gathering makes it seem as though the Republicans there are distancing themselves from the previous presidential administration.

“Too many people identified the Bush administration with conservatism,” said John Bolton, “I think that is far from being accurate.”