Still Haunted

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BUSHLEAVESPaulJRichards:AFP:Getty

The remarkable thing about today's partisan Republicans is their capacity to forget instantly and entirely anything that went on for the past eight years. And so suddenly we are rushing toward socialism, even though by far the biggest jumps in state power and debt occurred under a president they worshiped and worked hard to re-elect. There were no tea-parties to protest the $32 trillion Medicare prescription drug benefit. There was no Randian rumbling as Bush took over local schools. There was no defense of the Constitution as Bush and Cheney secretly suspended the fourth and first amendments. But put a moderate Democrat in office tackling a historic collapse in demand - and spending must be frozen! Reading the partisan right blogs, this ability to disappear the past is striking, and it helps explain base GOP loathing of Obama (even if the base is much smaller than it was). But the broader public, those with eyes and ears and functioning short-term memory, are not so cocooned. Greg Sargent:

...the economic crisis, by prompting debate about who’s to blame for the mess, has frustrated the GOP’s hopes of leaving Bush behind. The economic mess all but ensures that Bush’s policies will continue to loom large in defining the GOP in the public mind.

The new New York Times poll [pdf] tells the story. It finds that fully a third, or 33%, of the public blames the crisis on the Bush administration far more than anyone else. Wall Street is a distant runner-up, with 21%. Only two percent blame Obama.

(Photo: Paul J Richards/AFP/Getty.)

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