Megan writes one of the more striking paragraphs I've read in a while:
Any president would have done about what Bush did [with the surplus] --some combination of spending it, and cutting taxes. The American public was not going to happily pay an extra 6% of its income to Uncle Sam so that we could pile up some massive wad of cash.
Maybe that "about" saves Megan from total surrealism. But is she actually saying that any president would have cut taxes heavily and also increased domestic spending heavily and added a new (unfunded) crippling healthcare entitlement - as he launched a $3 trillion war on two countries? Is she saying that Al Gore was proposing this in 2000? That any president would have put two open-ended, enormously expensive wars off-budget? Is she also saying that the massive deficits projected under current plans have nothing to do with Medicare D? Or that Bush's lax regulation of the banking industry had no role in the depression that has devastated government finance?
No you cannot blame Bush for the deeper issues of Medicare A-C, or social security, although you could argue that his failure to restrain them before the boomers retired was an act of omission no real fiscal conservative would have countenanced. But really: this faux world-weary, pox-on-both-your-houses excuse-making for one of the most fiscally reckless presidencies in history won't play.
Of course, Megan is right that this should not mean letting Obama off the hook for his future deficits which are indeed perilous - largely because of the depression, Bush's legacy and the entitlement explosion. Holding Bush accountable does not and should not mean not holding Obama accountable. But it does mean confronting the enormous damage Bush and his enablers did - and never forgetting it. That is not a function of partisanship. Partisanship is excusing the vandalism of your own side in order to pin the wreckage on the other.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.