That’s right, the leftists are still trying hard to blame Bush for every bad thing that’s happened during Obama’s administration. Case in point, Yahoo’s Matt Bai, in a headline article, declares: “It’s Obama’s presidency, but Bush’s world.”
His core argument is this:
After a month that saw Iraq unravel and job growth continue to plod along, while the stock market soared, the central paradox of the Obama years, as historians will undoubtedly view it, has never been clearer. It’s Obama’s presidency, but he’s still governing in Bush’s world.
Obama’s critics will no doubt hear in this an excuse for his stymied agenda and limp approval ratings, but that’s not the point. The fact is that it’s always hard to assign credit or blame for conditions in the country to any president at any one time; the lines demarcating one presidency from the next are like arbitrary and porous borders, freely traversed by longer-term trends that don’t neatly conform to the timelines of our elections.
A little later in the article, he explains his reasons for believing this:
But it’s hard to think of any second-term president in the past century, at least, who’s been so completely consumed by issues he inherited. With the notable exception of the health care law, which will stand as his signature initiative, Obama’s agenda has been dominated by crises that predated his tenure and have eluded his grasp.
Well, let’s look at two recent presidents who were granted a second term by the voters, one of each party.
Bill Clinton didn’t really inherit an economy in crisis, thanks largely to the dot-com boom of the 90s. When the bubble burst in 2000, Clinton was already into his third year of his second term, so that doesn’t count as an inherited issue.
In Iraq, Clinton basically followed Bush the Elder’s formula following the Persian Gulf War that Bush oversaw. When Saddam started moving troops towards the Kuwaiti border in 2004, Clinton responded pretty much as either Bush would have, moving American troops into the area. So Clinton inherited Iraq just like Obama did, but his actions there were far different from what the current administration has done.
Ronald Reagan is perhaps the best example of a recent two-term president who inherited a mess from his predecessor, the previous president of course being the inept Jimmy Carter. There is a very good reason Reagan didn’t have to deal with problems inherited from Carter in his second term: he spent a large part of his first term fixing those problems, rather than promising multiple “pivots” to the problem areas that never materialized.
In short, the reason Obama is faced with inherited problems in his second term is because he did nothing to fix them in his first term. He was more concerned with his golf game and taking over the health insurance industry.
I bet Mr. Bai is desperately searching for a way of blaming that on Bush, as well.