Here is a column that could have been written twenty years ago and that's based, as Barone explains, on an impression formed twenty years ago. The argument requires total amnesia of the Bush-Cheney years and the enormous damage they did to America's reputation for human rights, and basic competence. If the torture and pre-emptive war era are erased from one's memory, it makes some kind of sense. It's a useful ideological device and is common elsewhere on the amnesiac right. If you erase the memory of massive debt and growth in government under Bush, it also makes sense to blame the man who inherited it on top of a brutal recession for being a socialist.