There is some bizarre notion among the punditocracy that the Obama administration cannot and should not blame Bush and the GOP for the awful recession, looming tax rises and entitlement cuts, endless wars, tainted moral standing, crumbling infrastructure and massive debt that Obama inherited. I think this is foolish. Because it means this president not only has to take responsibility for his own policies, but for the legacy that has made his job close to impossible.
This is a recession caused by a collapse in a too-lightly regulated financial sector and a huge housing bubble sustained by the last administration. We have a debt fueled overwhelmingly by unaffordable tax cuts, two disastrous unfunded wars, and a new Medicare entitlement that was never paid for. None of this was Obama's doing. None of it. He came into the White House facing the worst legacy since Carter bequeathed the Oval Office to Reagan. And the great difficulty of moving out of this wasteland of unemployment is due, in part, to the extreme fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush-Cheney GOP.
Now, the Tories have only just gotten into office, while Obama has had a year and a half to be accountable. But they are doing what Obama should, in my view, have done from the start: relentlessly remind people of what the GOP did to this country. Obama allowed the hacks on the right to pivot immediately to pinning the entire deficit and debt on Obama - and, amplified by the FNC, they have somehow managed to turn the debate back into the exhausted big-government vs little-guy choice - rather than debating exactly what, if anything, we can do to rescue ourselves from the Bush-Cheney hangover.
Here's an alternative approach - aggressively blaming even future bleakness on the GOP, matching their refusal to take any responsibility for the worst period of governance in modern times with a no-holds-barred assault on their brand. It will soon be time for Obama to go on the offensive against these nihilists and amnesiacs and to remind people of the difference between the arsonist and the fire-fighter.
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