Damn Right the President Should Blame Bush for the Recession

My Monday column is a response to Jeb Bush’s request that President Obama stop blaming George W. Bush for the economy.

Yes, I get it. Among the children of Barbara and George H.W. Bush, Jeb Bush is considered the “smart and reasonable” one. But that’s sort of like saying, Lotsa’ hammers in that tool box, but this hammer doesn’t hurt as much when you bash it into my skull.

Make no mistake. When challenged, Jeb Bush is capable of being as petty and nearsighted as just about any Republican you can name. He might do it with a smile on his face, but as the famous Shakespeare quote goes (say it with me), “That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”

On Meet the Press yesterday, Jeb insisted that President Obama should stop blaming his brother, George W., for the condition of things, “I think it is time for him to move on. I mean — look, the guy was dealt a difficult hand, no question about it. But he’s had three years. His policies have failed, and rather than blame others — which I know we were taught that that was kind of unbecoming over time — you just can’t keep doing that. Maybe offer some fresh new solutions to the problems that we face.”

Totally smart and reasonable, yes?

No way.

This is typical Republican behavior with overtones of the “starve the beast” strategy. Continue reading here…

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  • http://JCohenMusic.com Justin Cohen

    Bob, thank you very much for making this point (repeatedly).

    The only thing that seems to be missing from your column is the persistent Republican obstructionism to the President’s efforts to make things better.

    If I grab a fire extinguisher to put out a fire left by a careless camper, and then that same camper holds my hands behind my back so all I can do is piss on the fire to put it out, I’d be a little annoyed if that camper then told me my efforts to put out the fire were weak and I shouldn’t mention that he started the fire and thwarted my efforts to put it out.

    You’ve discussed Republican obstructionism before and their effort to sabotage the economy to hurt the President’s chances of reelection. Now seems like a good time to at least mention a couple of the most egregious instances.

    • http://mdblanche.myopenid.com/ mdblanche

      The guy you’re describing sounds less like a careless camper and more like an arsonist burning down the woods.

      • http://JCohenMusic.com Justin Cohen

        Perhaps, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. : )

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          You do have a way with words! :)

          • http://JCohenMusic.com Justin Cohen

            Thanks, Nicole! : )

  • mzmijewski

    It took the country 200 years to get the deficit to $5.5 trillion. It took Bush only 8 years to get it to $11 trillion. Why should we not blame him? And they want Obama to fix things in three years with no help. The Merikan people will swallow this all the way to the ballot box.

    • bphoon

      Not to nit pick here but people get the fiscal deficit and the national debt confused all the time. I’m sure you meant to say it took 200 years to get the debt to $5.5 trillion…

  • Ned F

    When we slip back into recession in a year or so due to the newly enacted austerity policies of the Romney administration, I’m sure it will all be Obamas’s fault.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    The article touches on something I’ve said and written about a lot recently, viz., that the “criticism” of Obama’s economic record is unconnected to the concept of reasonable expectations. Right-wing trolls are very fond of pointing out the current unemployment numbers, the current deficit and debt, the current DJIA, the current price of gasoline, the current GDP growth rate, etc., and use them as evidence of “Obama’s failed policies.” Even if the numbers they cite are real, they leave out enough context as to render them essentially meaningless. More importantly, they ignore completely the issue of whether, given the state of the national and global economy, the federal government and the law on 19 January 2009, and the economic and political environment that have existed ever since, is it reasonable to expect that things could have been better than they are at this juncture? Leave aside whether they could have been better under a McCain/Palin administration.

    Most people do not understand things like law, macroeconomics, and the inner workings of Congress and federal agencies, nearly well enough to have informed opinions, let alone set reasonable expectations. So these complex topics are reduced to sound bites, and people get to pretend that, for example, a President can actually “spend” the nation’s money (or “control spending”) by himself and on his own initiative; or that every vote Congress takes is on the substance and merits of the legislation, viz., whether to enact it or not (remember this the next time someone says “Obama’s budget was voted down 534-0!!!!!!”).

    By the logic employed by some of these people, one could plausibly argue that George W. Bush destroyed the World Trade Center, the Space Shuttle Columbia, and the city of New Orleans. By extension, one could argue that Bush murdered thousands of Americans and the first Israeli astronaut. All of this is absurd, of course, and no “serious” person would ever make such accusations.

    But is it any more reasonable to claim that “Obama spent $5 trillion” or “Obama raised the price of gas” than to claim that Bush destroyed Columbia?

    • Staci Bass

      They conveniently leave out the Dow because it’s over 13,000 now when it was as low as 6900 near the beginning of Obama’s presidency. They also only talk gas prices when they are rising. “Amazingly”, it was crickets two months ago when the prices started to fall.

  • muselet

    The Bush Administration spent seven and a half years blaming Bill Clinton for the parlous state of the economy.

    Republican Party leaders (and Righty pundits and Fox News hosts) were demanding to know when Barack Obama was going to start taking responsibility for “his” economy in January 2009.

    Why, it’s almost as if there’s a double standard in evidence.

    –alopecia

    • Brutlyhonest

      Every thing can be blamed on Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, or Jimmy Carter. Except the stuff that is FDR’s fault.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        Don’t forget Barney Frank, who singlehandedly caused the mortgage crisis.

        • Brutlyhonest

          HaHa, yeah. And Nancy Pelosi!

  • Brutlyhonest

    I’m still waiting for the ad that includes:

    “The republicans think you’re stupid.

    They think you’ve forgotten their policies created the recession.

    They think you haven’t noticed them obstructing the recovery for political gain.

  • mrbrink

    Here’s Reagan during the 1983 state of the union:

    “The problems we inherited were far worse than most inside and out of government had expected; the recession was deeper than most inside and out of government had predicted. Curing those problems has taken more time and a higher toll than any of us wanted.”

    There he goes again blaming Jimmy Carter. When he made that speech, unemployment was over 10%– three years into his presidency.

    Here he is in 1984’s SOTU: “As we came to the decade of the eighties, we faced the worst crisis in our postwar history.”

    Much worse than the global financial system falling off a cliff, two wars, massive debt and deficits and republican threats and partisan obstruction president Obama has faced down. I don’t remember Democrats joining together to vote to crash the economy and plunge us into debt default.

    In August of 1984, Reagan’s reelection year, unemployment was 7.4%.

    Reagan tripled the national debt and flooded the military with a nuclear arms race to give the impression that his policies were working.

    The Bushies blamed Clinton for years. Still do.

    • Brutlyhonest

      One of these days they’re going to round us up for telling the truth about St Ronnie the Raygun.

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    The fact of the fucking matter, Mr. Bush, is that we are still feeling the affect of Bush policies.

    And, the fact that you (along with your father + his SCOTUS cronies) helped your own brother steal a presidential election in 2000 makes you someone who should NEVER be called on to give a political opinion again.

    Your WHOLE DAMN FAMILY should be in a jail cell and charged with TREASON.

    • mrbrink

      I think Republicans in congress should be careful what they wish for. If they were being called out more effectively for their willingness to crash the economy, THEY would be blaming Bush, too. Remember when it was so bad for conservatives, the guy they voted for twice wasn’t really a “real” conservative?

      “What, Bush who? Screw that guy. Never knew him.”

      He’s not even going to be speaking at the convention! The two-term republican party president won’t be speaking at his party’s convention. They’re trying to make America forget about Bush and their votes for him.

      Jebbie should be asking why his brother has become poison to the party’s ambitions?

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        “They’re trying to make America forget about Bush and their votes for him.”

        Ha! Exactly!

        I am worried that Bush #3 will run in 2016 or 2020. I don’t think this country can take another damn Bush.

        • mrbrink

          … #3 and #4 and #5 and #6 and #7

          They breed.

          • bphoon

            …prodigiously.

      • bphoon

        GW didn’t speak at the last RNC, either…when he was still President.

  • bphoon

    Here’s the predominant theme that was running through my mind as I read this post (a very good post, too, btw):

    On the one hand, Republicans insist that three years is plenty of time for President Obama to have completely turned the economy around and have us back to full employment, to have balanced the budget and reduced the national debt. It is, after all, they say, time for him to take responsibility for his “failed” policies (policies, I hasten to add, that have been obstructed every step of the way by Congressional Republicans, but that’s another story). By that reckoning, all the blame goes to Obama.

    However, on the other hand, when it comes to killing Osama bin Laden, why they insist he’s not responsible for that at all. We have the military resources and infrastructure so carefully built over an eight-year period by the Bush 43 Administrations to thank for that. Obama’s policies have had no effect whatever. All he had to do was sit in the Situation Room and say, “Go.” The Bush Military then sprang into action, like Bush trained them to do, and got bin Laden. All the credit, therefore, goes to GW Bush.

    So, since reputable experts agree that the full effect of both economic and military policies take a goodly number of years to come to fruition, I turn those GOP talking points around and contend that either Bush is responsible for much of what we see in both the military and economic arenas or he’s responsible for none of either. Can’t have it both ways.

    Generally speaking, when I lay that on what passes for conservatives today, their heads start spinning and their eyes start bulging out and they chatter on like pre-adolescent children like Priebus did yesterday at Matthews.