The biggest difference between the two of them is ... a change in drilling technology?
For eight long years, George W. Bush was the standard bearer of the GOP. In conservative media, you will rarely encounter affirmative defenses of Bush, unless someone who worked in the Bush White House happens to be a guest or a contributor. While you no longer hear affirmative defenses of Bush's record from mainstream conservatives, you never encounter denunciations, either. Occasionally, Bush's massive budget deficits (improperly attributed to "too much spending) will be criticized, but on all of the most important questions -- the invasion of Iraq, the "freedom agenda," the tax cuts, the war on terror -- conservatives still stand by their man with remarkable loyalty.
This is why Mitt Romney's answer to the question from the 2nd presidential debate about his differences from George W. Bush was so insufficient. For a campaign that constantly preaches "timeless principles" and "conservative values," neither Romney nor his running mate Paul Ryan have any record of opposing any of the Bush policies they now bemoan. Ryan, of course, was in Congress for the entirety of Bush's time in office, and was a loyal and enthusiastic supporter of the Bush agenda: His budget hawkishness was conveniently acquired after Bush left office.
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For a man who has wholeheartedly adopted conservatism's embrace of "absolute values" and disdain of "relativism," Romney's answer about Bush was remarkably relativistic. As Romney said, he and Bush "are different people and these are different times." It's no one's fault, you see: Bush did what he could when he could and it's just so very unfair to judge him with the benefit of hindsight. Romney's language of "different strokes for different folks," is, to put it mildly, not the sort of language that one typically associates with conservative Republicans.