Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Stop Blaming Bush, It's Not Helping A Bit

In case no one has noticed, George W. Bush isn’t president any more.

I admit to this: In 2000, I voted for the man. In 2004, I voted for uh, that guy. The pinto explodes guy. Ralph Nader. Guess which vote I’m the least proud of?

So in 2008, I voted for one Barack Hussein Obama. Great guy. Gives a good speech. Promises a lot of things, as all politicians do, and fails to deliver on a lot of things, as all politicians do.

But some days, I feel like Bush is still in the White House.

It’s little stuff like this. So your Democrat Senate candidate is behind in the polls. It’s not her fault. It’s not the Democrats’ fault. It’s all Bush’s fault.

Ad nauseum, ad nauseum. Gingivitis? It’s Bush’s fault. I’m gassy from breakfast. Well, Bush made me eat those quesadillas at four in the morning, so he’s to blame.

Stop it. Now.

Yes, we pretty much did head into the toilet in the aughts. But, you know what? Gather ‘round. That kind of thing has happened before. Presidents have handed rotten economies, wars, the decision on whether to use atomic weapons and such, over to their predecessors, either through death, assassination, term limits or a desire not to have to do that damn job any more.

But Noemie Emery, writing for the Weekly Standard, puts it a lot better than I can:

So eager is the Obama team to cast blame upon Bush that it blames him for sins he never committed, as even reporters friendly to Obama have been forced to make clear. “Taking a decidedly different tack from his predecessor .  .  . Obama on Thursday took the blame for shortcomings that led to a failed Christmas Day bombing plot,” Politico reported. “Aides to Obama signaled that he was consciously seeking to be the anti-Bush .  .  . quick, transparent, willing to take the blame—all things Obama has said President George W. Bush was not.” Alas, a few paragraphs later, the reporters themselves blew the whistle, reminding us of all the times Bush had taken the blame for errors—on his response to Katrina, and the reports that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction—in words like those used by Obama himself. “To the extent the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility,” he said 18 days after Katrina. “I want to know what went right and what went wrong.”
I like this point most particularly:

Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy ran to succeed a president of the opposite party whom they did not oppose in the election but whose administrations they felt obliged to critique. Once in office, however, they dropped the subject, and concentrated on governing, without further complaints about the messes they were handed: the Communists in Eastern Europe, the Communists with the H-Bomb, the conflict in Korea, the war in Vietnam and Laos, the potentially lethal flash point and mess in Berlin. Both Ike and Jack were judged in the end to be pretty good presidents, and their era—the early Cold War—as very important. They fought the enemy, not one another, at least not in public, and not once they had taken the oath of office. The crises they faced stand up to Obama’s. And back then, the buck stopped with them.
In other words, it’s fair to criticize Bush. It’s expected. I do it myself. But at the same time, those who criticized past presidencies got on with the work and didn’t insist on blaming every tiny little setback on the previous administration. They looked forward. They solved problems. Did Kennedy harrumph and ramble that the Cuban Missile Crisis was Eisenhower’s fault? Or Roosevelt’s, since that pesky Roosevelt didn’t lift a finger when Eastern Europe was enslaved by Communism, thus emboldening the Soviets to expand into the Western Hemisphere? No. he got on with the work and successfully faced the Soviets down. You’ve heard of the Thirteen Days?

That’s how presidents handle crises. They deal with them. They don’t blame them on the other guy. And that’s how parties ought to operate too. Maybe privately blame is spread all over the place. Given human nature, that's more likely than not. But it becomes presidential when what appears is shoe leather, determination, blood, tears, toil, and sweat, rather than those pointing fingers.

Now don’t say I’m a Republican shill, because I’m not. This isn’t a case of a pot calling any kettle black. The Republicans have done their fair share of Blame the Other Guy as well. That’s stupidity. It’s not politics. And it’s not solving our problems, either.

If Democrats want to solve problems, they need to solve this one now. Stop blaming Bush and see what can be done to fix what’s wrong. I won’t argue that Bush didn’t cause problems. But simply pointing those fingers and saying, well, we can’t get this done because of Bush or the Republicans or whatever is taking the wimp’s way out. Are y’all wimps or something? Jon Stewart seems to think so. Let’s all meet with him at Camera Three.

An aside: Are the Democrats, aided and abetted by the MSM, about to set up another blame game? CNN sure hopes so:
Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Voters across Massachusetts braved winter cold and snow Tuesday to decide who will inherit the U.S. Senate seat controlled by the Kennedy family since 1953.

At stake was President Obama's domestic agenda, including the overhaul of health care.

If GOP state Sen. Scott Brown upsets Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley, Republicans would strip Democrats of their 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Republicans would have enough votes to block future Senate votes on a broad range of White House priorities.
Sorry, America. We were soooo close to fixing everything that's wrong with health care. But since the GOP won the Kennedy Seat (R) in Massachusetts, well, we're just going to sit around and do nothing. Business as usual. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Yet another aside: Slate hopes so too. So with a supermajority of 60, the Dems can do health reform. With a simple majority of 59, all hopes are lost? Are the Dems that ineffectual? Is the GOP still that powerful?

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