It was a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t remember his name or the name of his book, but I heard a guy on evening talk radio, on NPR, say that Obama has made a big political mistake by not blaming the weak economy on George W. Bush.
According to this author, Franklin Roosevelt constantly reminded Americans that he inherited a mess that Herbert Hoover’s policies had created.
He always framed his initiatives as efforts to clean up the mess made by Hoover.
The joke was, he said, that Roosevelt ran against Hoover four times.
By contrast, Obama has not even mentioned George Bush’s name since he took office.
It’s hard to believe that this is true. Certainly he’s said “President Bush” at least once in the past eleven months.
I’ve heard Obama say that he inherited this mess, but I don’t recall hearing him say Bush’s name or refer to him at all. Whether or not such an observation is accurate, the spirit of what he said is very true.
Obama has paid a price, because he’s allowed Republicans to blame him for a lot of problems that he did not create and has tried to fix.
Certainly there are political reasons. He is showing respect for the office he now inhabits and lets other people in his party do the dirty work.
But it might also be an intentional effort to usher in the age of responsibility he has spent much time talking about.
Politics is inherently irresponsible. Republicans blame Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, and even Roosevelt for many of the problems we face today.
When the economy thrived under Clinton, Republicans gave credit to Reagan. When the economy lost jobs under George W. Bush, Republicans blamed Clinton.
As a liberal Democrat, I blame Bush and Reagan for many of the problems we have today.
Jimmy Carter inherited a terrible economy.Â It got worse.Â He blamed the American people.
In politics, blame is the name of the game.
Perhaps Obama wants to play it different.
The economic collapse happened during Bush’s presidency, and all the economists predicted recovery would take years, not months — regardless of who was elected President.
Nobody was certain what would happen or what measures would work — and it’s clear Obama is trying. I trust our President and think he will succeed, but hasn’t had enough time yet.
But it seems that politics is inherently immature. Blame the other side for all problems.
If something is not true, then simply change the facts.
Reagan exploded the deficit while saying that government spending was the root of all our problems.Â Bush did the same.
They blamed the Democrats for “taxing and spending,” while they taxed and spent more than Democrats.
At one point, the Bush administration actually had the majority of Americans thinking that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. Not true — but the truth didn’t matter. I had conversations with folks who said that inaccuracy was a matter of opinion.
I’m sure many people think Obama is responsible for the economic collapse that took place before he became President. In the next election, the year of the collapse could become a matter of opinion.
We all know, however, that we cannot change the past. We can only do something today, take responsibility for it, and thereby take responsibility for creating the future.
This seems to be Obama’s perspective.
He doesn’t attack the opposition or blame Bush. He even tries to create bipartisan activity in Congress — even though Republicans will have no part of that.
Am I naive, or is this a sign of maturity and responsibility — Obama trying to practice what he preaches?