Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 14, 2009

THE BLAME GAME.... The Washington Post has an odd front-page piece today, rebuking President Obama for reminding audiences that the problems he inherited are, well, problems he inherited.

In his inaugural address, President Obama proclaimed "an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics."

It hasn't taken long for the recriminations to return -- or for the Obama administration to begin talking about the unwelcome "inheritance" of its predecessor.

Over the past month, Obama has reminded the public at every turn that he is facing problems "inherited" from the Bush administration, using increasingly bracing language to describe the challenges his administration is up against. The "deepening economic crisis" that the president described six days after taking office became "a big mess" in remarks this month to graduating police cadets in Columbus, Ohio.

"By any measure," he said during a March 4 event calling for government-contracting reform, "my administration has inherited a fiscal disaster."

Obama's more frequent and acid reminders that former president George W. Bush left behind a trillion-dollar budget deficit, a 14-month recession and a broken financial system have come at the same time Republicans have ramped up criticism that the current president's policies are compounding the nation's economic problems.

The problem, if I'm reading the article right, isn't that the president is saying anything untrue. Rather, we're dealing with a dynamic in which one president hands off a catastrophe -- several catastrophes, actually -- to a successor, and the successor isn't supposed to talk about it.

Indeed, the Post's Scott Wilson seems to think the president has exceeded political norms by pointing to the almost-comical mess Bush left on Obama's desk. Wilson chides Obama for using "acid" reminders, offering "partisan" defenses, sounding "petty." To highlight his point, Wilson pointed to the president saying recently that "we've inherited a terrible mess."

That doesn't sound especially "acid," "partisan," or "petty" to me, but your mileage may vary.

The criticism is misplaced here. The typical presidential speech lately starts by acknowledging a problem, followed by some talk about how the problem was created, followed by a description of what he'd like to do about it. If Obama reminds audiences that the disaster(s) he inherited aren't his fault, and that's all he did -- dwell on the past, fail to present solutions -- it would be a problem.

But that's clearly not the case. Bush left Obama to clean up an economic crisis, an abysmal job market, a budget mess, a failing financial industry, a collapsing U.S. auto industry, global warming, an absurd health care system, an equally absurd energy framework, and two costly wars. Reminding Americans of where we've come from and where we're going doesn't seem unreasonable.

The point of articles like these seems to be freeing Bush of accountability and responsibility for his devastating failures. Here's hoping the White House ignores the Post's advice.

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

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I saw that article this morning and found it completely stupid. It's a non-news story in the classic "gotcha" style. This time the gotcha is that Obama made statements about not looking for blame; if you ask me, too many statements in that vein. Now of course, a brilliant reporter can say, "See, see, he's blaming! He promised not to, but he is, neener, neener, neener!". The actual truth of Obama's statements about the disaster he was handed is not discussed, just the gotcha.

Posted by: jrw on March 14, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Republican strategy is to try and blame the current economic strife on Obama, believing once again that Americans are stupid enough to not see the writing on the wall. Of course with the main stream media functioning as the propaganda wing of the plutocracy, the message is starting to sink in.

He's simply responding by saying hey, I did not cause the problems we are dealing with.

I personally think things will turn around. Throughout his 2 year long campaign, we saw over and over that he is a steady, methodical man who always seemed to be a few steps ahead of his rivals. I see no reason to think otherwise right now.

Posted by: citizen_pain on March 14, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

It is indeed strange to hear the truth from the liberal media.

Everyone knows that our economic problems stem from the Clinton administration. Everyone knows that Bush was unable to stop the onslaught of spending of the democrats while he was president. Everyone knows that the current state of the economy is Obama's fault.

As history has shown that the Great Depression was caused by the economic policies of Roosevelt; so too will future history show that our current recession/depression was caused by the economic policies of Obama.

Everyone knows that the wealthy are the economy. Everyone knows that the solution is to cut taxes for the wealthy. It is only truth deniers who claim that cutting taxes for the wealthy have not increased tax revenues and boosted the economy. The only failure of the last 28 years of republican presidencies is that tax rates for the wealthy have not been cut enough.

Everyone knows that foreign policy was a success under the brilliant leadership of George Bush and has become a tangled mess under the idiocy of Obama policy.

As a believer in an ownership society, I believe that the Obama administration should own up to being a failure and stop blaming its failures on George Bush.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on March 14, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

The title of the piece is "Obama's New Tack : Blaming Bush." There is nothing new about that at all, Obama won a convincing victory by explicitly rejecting Bush. He basically trashed Bush during the inauguration. The WaPo piece is wrong from the very beginning.

Posted by: g. powell on March 14, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK
Everyone knows that Bush was unable to stop the onslaught of spending of the democrats while he was president.
Yeah, that makes sense, since the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for 75 percent of Bush's presidency. Posted by: navamske on March 14, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

When you step back a bit it is pretty amazing to witness the slow-motion death of a formerly great institution.

On the web site we have 'Obama's New Strategy: Blame Bush for "Mess"'. Note the quotes around "mess", like Obama is merely fear mongering about a situation in which some would say we are not in a "mess"?

Then we have 'Topic A: Are Earmarks Defensible?
The Post asked members of Congress and others whether federal budget earmarks are defensible. Below are contributions from The Post's Robert G. Kaiser, Sen. John McCain, American Enterprise Institute's Norman J. Ornstein, Rep. Ron Paul, the Concord Coalition's Charles S. Konigsberg, Rep. Jeff Flake and former deputy transportation secretary Mortimer L. Downey.'

Give me a friggin' break. It will be sad to see the good reporters loose their jobs, but the people runnung the show over there are running the paper into the ground. At this point I never go to the WaPo web site, unless someone I trust points to a good read there. There is just too much garbage to wade through.

Posted by: esaud on March 14, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Where do these hacks come from. He wouldn't have blamed the nazis for ww2 either.

Posted by: gandalf on March 14, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

The Post evidently can't handle the truth.

Posted by: impartial on March 14, 2009 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

my favorite is the use of the term "petty," a remarkable demonstration of projection on the typist's part (why would i want to respect him enough to call him a writer?).

Posted by: howard on March 14, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Talking with a friend this morning who recounted that an acquaintance of hers was routinely in the habit these days of responding to whining e-mails from Republican friends, bitching that Obama hadn't done anything to clean up the mess, by reminding them over and over (because they can't seem to grasp the concept) that "the mess" was not of Obama's making and that he has been in office about two months and that the members of their party have not only steadfastly opposed (fortunately largely unsuccessfuly) all of his plans to do something and further, absolutely refused to propose any substantive alternatives other than cut taxes and don't spend so much.

You want to start screaming and reach for a two-by-four with these people. But then you remember that they are part of a small and dwindling minority in the country with less and less influence and trying to sustain an ideology which most of America finally recognizes was a flat out four barreled and total disaster for our nation.

Posted by: dweb on March 14, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Not defending the story, which, as pointed out, is just more depressing evidence of how far the Post has descended in the past few years, but Obama made a crucial mistake in his campaign that is now haunting him: a pledge to achieve the impossible task of transcending partisanship in this country. In support of his ridiculous ideal, he created an immense straw man: those damn Baby Boomers (a term never used by the generation in question) and their self-centered fractiousness. That there might possibly be more to it, that the country is still suffering the effects of a takeover that happened shortly after he was born, was dismissed as just hippie paranoia, a symptom of his larger problem. That he now finds himself in the middle of the partisan storm he somehow thought would magically dissipate when he took office would be enjoyable if not for the danger to the country. Welcome to reality, O: time to choose which side you're on. As if you had a choice, just like the rest of us.

Posted by: ericfree on March 14, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Those who provided cover for Bush during his terms in office have a vested interest in freeing him from responisbiity now.

Posted by: wonkie on March 14, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

If the corporate media would quite trying to transfer blame from Bush to Obama then the president would not have to push back to keep them from undermining his plans. The corporate media should really be looked at as partly responsible for Bush and the mess we are in and I think deep down they know it and are trying to change history to protect themselves.

Posted by: tiredofgreed on March 14, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

It's equivalency rearing its silly head again. The Republicans are blatantly lying when they blame Obama for the economic catastrophe we're facing. Obama is countering by reminding everybody of the mess he inherited from Bush. But both sides are saying negative things, so it's all just partisan sniping, which Obama promised not to stoop to. He's just supposed to lie there like a rug and get stepped all over, or else he's just like the republican smearmongers.

Posted by: gradysu on March 14, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Why is this a problem for them? I distinctly remember this being Reagan's favorite excuse in his first year.

Posted by: Bill on March 14, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK


Sorta like saying "I hit the trifects"?

Posted by: jayackroyd on March 14, 2009 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Why is this a problem for them? I distinctly remember this being Reagan's favorite excuse in his first year.

I recall Shrub saying several times that the stock market peaked in early to mid 2000, months before he was anointed by the SC, and that this was Bill Clinton's fault. Don't recall hearing from the WaPo about how this evinced pettiness.

But, you know, times change. And this time it's a moderate Democrat, not a reactionary Repub.

Posted by: Jeff S. on March 14, 2009 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

As history has shown that the Great Depression was caused by the economic policies of Roosevelt; so too will future history show that our current recession/depression was caused by the economic policies of Obama.

The spoofs on this board are so lame.

Posted by: Walker on March 14, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

An article like this points out what is patently obvious: there is no 'liberal' voice in the 'major' media. Certainly neither the Washington Post or the New York Times are liberal publications, no matter what conservatives might say. The Nation is liberal; and its readership is incredibly small in comparison to the Post and the Times. Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are liberal; and their viewerships are incredibly small compared to the evening news. Commercial media is corporate, by definition anti-democratic.

Posted by: Coop on March 14, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama made a crucial mistake in his campaign that is now haunting him: a pledge to achieve the impossible task of transcending partisanship in this country."

Because we all remember just how relentlessly the press excoriated Bush II for not meeting his campaign promise of being a "uniter not a divider."

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on March 14, 2009 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

You liberals sure are an ungrateful and ungracious bunch.

You should be thankful that Washington Post is not parroting the Savage-Hannity-Rush criticism that Obama is already a dictator.

Posted by: gregor on March 14, 2009 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Just another reminder that the mess was created during the reign of George the Unwise.

Posted by: nonheroicvet on March 14, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Here's the plain fact of the matter. Bush inherited a recession from Clinton. Did he make partisan snipes in public about the "mess" he inherited, or did he try to politicize the process by using it to pass a radical socialist agenda? Hardly. What he did was roll up his sleeves with a top notch economic team (Mankiw, Bernanke, etc) and, despite the cataclysms of 9/11 and the Iraq war, produced a 52-month record braeking expansion, one that saw the US pull further and further from its trading partners in terms of GDP growth. Business cycles are natural, the fact that Bush was able to squeeze out 52 months of expansion and job growth before nature kicked in is pretty impressive, especially among economists.

Compare this with Obama. Obama rings his hands and complains about his predecessor. He takes advantage of people's fears and troubles over their futures to blackmail us into a trillion dollar package that will mortgage away our children's futures and slam the breaks on future growth potential. Since his election in November, Obama has presided over unprecedentied declines in GDP and the DOW.

You can try to dance around it, but those are the facts.

Posted by: egbert on March 14, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Huffington Post gave this article its correct headline: "You're Not Pinning This on Me."

Posted by: Virginia on March 14, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

To blame one person for a nations problems is naive to say the least. The problems started during Clinton's Administration. Yes it continued unders Bush's. It continues under Obama's. They all had the advice of "experts", ie: Frank, Greenspan, the media and other all knowing-knowing nothings. To say the economic crisis is Bush's fault is no more the truth than to say it was Clinton's. Wake up you people. Take your kids to church and pray for help!

Posted by: Kip on March 14, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"The point of articles like these seems to be freeing Bush of accountability and responsibility for his devastating failures."

That takes it a little bit too narrow. Of course, Bush is the main culprit, but there were a whole lot of others that assisted actively and abetted him by being quiet.

Into which category one might want to put institutions like the Washington Post may vary by particular issue and personal opinion, but the fact remains: The villagers were part of the problem and they are not very keen to become part of the solution.

Sure, the country hurts, but the villagers are doing well enough to continue their silly games. Marie-Antoinette also played hide and seek until they came for her.

Posted by: SRW1 on March 14, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I don't blame the Republicans for engaging in their usual black is white and white is black analysis: It is predictable that they would a. blame Obama for any economic misery that continues on his watch. b. pounce on any attempts by the current administration to blame the previous administration.

I blame the WP and the writer of this piece for providing a lovely, lovely, platform for the Republicans to spout their predictable talking points. There is zero critical analysis or perspective in this piece. That is a problem. It would be nice if just once, just once, the msm would just ignore patently ridiculous and highly partisan Republican talking points. The logical inconsistencies and hypocrisy of this piece are mind boggling.

For example, if Obama's predecessor was a Democrat, would he be so wrong in pointing out the immense problems he had inherited? Was that question asked of his Republican critics? No. None of their blathering about Obama's awful, awful partisanship was challenged at all.

When you have been in office for about 2 months and your critics are starting to create a ridiculous meme that worsening economic indicators are a reflection of your policies, when in fact those trends started well before you assumed office, I do not think it is at all unreasonable, petty or partisan to remind those critics that you inherited a mess.

And of course, the blame for partisanship all gets piled onto Obama. No blame ascribed to the Republicans for turning this recession into the Obama recession or for bitching so mightily that Obama is rightly pointing out that he didn't start the mess.

Thanks liberal press! Thanks again for your unrelenting liberal bias! We appreciate it! Thanks once again for turning a non issue into a big, fat, flaming stinkpile of Republican victimhood!

Posted by: ajaye on March 14, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Post is my hometown paper and I was appalled at today's headline. This is not an article, it's an op-ed piece, and certainly doesn't belong on the front page. If he were dead, Ben Bradlee would be spinning in his grave over the decline of the past since the Watergate days.


Posted by: Bill Huddleston on March 14, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

As the old saying goes, "The truth hurts."

Posted by: winddancer on March 14, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

"and the successor isn't supposed to talk about it"

Actually, this would be better stated - and the successor isn't supposed to talk about it even thought Republicans and Fox News are ACTIVELY trying to rewrite history and call the Obama's Recession.

Posted by: Mark-NC on March 14, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget, everything that went wrong during the Bush years was Clinton's fault.

Posted by: Jason on March 14, 2009 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

You can try to dance around it, but those are the facts.

The market began it's current decline in Oct of 2007, the recession officially began in Dec of 2007, our banking system collapsed in Sept of 2008, Rep Kanjorski tells us that we were hours away from a hedge fund melt down on Sept 18, 2008, the final quarter of Bush's term saw a historic drop in the GDP (6.34%) and Americans lost 40% of their net worth in the final year of the Bush administration.

Over the whole of the Clinton administration, the economy added 22.7 million jobs – 237,000 per month.
Over the whole of the Bush administration, the economy added only 4.5 million jobs – 46,000 per month.

National Debt: (at end of Federal FY before leaving office)
Bush 1 $4,064,620,655,521.66
Clinton $5,674,178,209,886.86
Bush 2 $10,024,724,896,912.49

Yeah, those facts are a bitch.

Posted by: Glen on March 14, 2009 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know that the Washington Post Company's
original DC-based corporation's charter was revoked in 2003 and replaced by a Delaware-based foreign corporation? Or that 50% or more of their revenue is derived from a world-wide educational company named "Kaplan?" I don't have a clue if this information is relevant to what we've seen with the changes in the WAPO over the last few years, but who knows?

Posted by: winddancer on March 14, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

The wapo is playing *keeping up with the republicans*. This is similar to keeping up with the joneses, except here the race is about irrelevancy. I have had it with the misinformation and oh so tired conservative and neoconservative ideology spouted by their commentators that I have finally once and for all given up on the paper. No more newsletters, and no link on the link line. If I see something newsworthy they have scooped, I'll follow the link, otherwise, I let them sink into obscurity.

Posted by: CDW on March 14, 2009 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Both Clinton and Obama inherited economic trouble from a Bush (remember "It's the eoonomy, stupid" was Clinton's war room motto).

Clinton's 1993 omnibus reconcilation act seeded an economic turnaround and unprecedented prosperity. And I don't remember him whining about Bush once he was in office. If Obama's economic stimulus and financial sector bailouts correct the economy, great; if not, he's just a weenie blaming Bush for his own failure.

Posted by: zaladonis on March 14, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm gonna go out on a limb here & say that this is a problem of the President's own making.

He ought to be investigating & prosecuting his predecessors. If, instead, he wants to "look to the future" & let them escape a deserved punishment, then he has no one to blame but himself when reporters like this call him on the inconsistency of blaming his predecessors for the mess this country is in.



Look forward, sure, but take care of the past. Punish where punishment is warranted. The people will support you & they will respect you for it.

Posted by: sidewinder on March 14, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Of course they don't want him to talk about what a mess Bush made for us all. It's a funny little trick the opposition is using here, but totally predictable. Much the same as sending the children of the poor off to war to die was a funny little trick. It makes those who would normally oppose war invested in it for the long haul. Their children couldn't have died for *nothing*, therefore war becomes the "right" thing to do, and failure is not an option. I predicted that outcome on day one of the Iraq War. Bush left us with a pile of shit to deal with (yeah, like *he* was ever going to even *try* to clean up his own mess). He hands it off to Obama, and the Pugs get to blame Obama for everything less than 60 days into his Presidency.

Predictable nonsense from the Predictably Nonsensical.

Posted by: Limbaugh's Diabetes on March 14, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, who gives a rat's ass about blame? That is not even in the ballpark of what we should be discussing. Criminal prosecution is the appropriate topic.

Blame is something that applies when a predecessor's policies put you at a disadvantage, but we are talking instead about an outright crippling of this nation's economic and social health as well as a tarnishing of its prestige and sense of honor for at least a decade. It will take a generation to fix what Bush left behind, and some of it we will never be able to make right.

To put it in more current terms the Bush administration was the government equivalent of the Madoff Investment business. They did enough to keep their donors pleased but it was all bullshit and they weren't really trying to succeed in a sensible way. They had no thought of the future probability outcome of their short sighted plans. Now we have to deal with that.

Posted by: Condor on March 14, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Condor. The word is not "blame". It is "charges", as in criminal charges.

Posted by: Bob M on March 14, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

The problem here is that there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle in this current financial crisis. The right wants to blame the left and the left wants to blame the right.

Here's some of the blame that IS the fault of the left: the mortgage crisis -- you can blame deregulation all you want, but if the Clinton administration hadn't started threatening banks until they started making loans that they shouldn't have, then this mortgage mess wouldn't have happened.

Here's some of the blame that IS the fault of the right: the deficit. Despite a pledge to make government smaller and to cut spending, the Bush administration grew government and increased spending on domestic programs more than any president since Lyndon Johnson (and those facts come from the conservative CATO institute).

Here's where it gets tricky for President Obama:
1. He worked for ACORN (or rather one of its many front-groups, but still ACORN) during the Clinton years and ACORN sued banks over thier lending practices, which is one of the reasons they started making those bad loans.

2. He was a member of the Senate for two years of the Bush administration and he was one of the major players in adding pork to the spending bills that President Bush always signed.

So, for President Obama to say that he "inherited" the mess from George Bush is dishonest, as he has been a part of the problem all along. It is also disconcerting because quite frankly, it makes him sound like an eight-year-old, trying to deflect blame.

Whether his solutions work or not, by continuing to say "it's not my fault," it makes him SOUND like he doesn't know what he's doing.

Posted by: Kathy on March 14, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

This is another expression of the fundamental social conservative need to say they're not responsible for anything and that anyone else is always 100% responsible.

It's the immortal state of Republican babyhood.

Posted by: alan on March 14, 2009 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kathy -1)Are you imagining lots of '90's mortgages defaulting recently, or some kind of interregnum where Clinton retook the White House in the last 5 years?
2) What domestic spending did Bush increase besides Medicare Part D? I assume you think the Iraq/ Afghan wars were costless.
3) Acorn sued banks? Is that per Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh?
4) Just exactly how much of the $5 trillion dollar debt that Bush added do you attribute to Obama earmarks?

If Obama sounds like an eight year old to you, I hope you don't do child care.

Posted by: Danp on March 14, 2009 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

The energy framework may be an inheritance as far as energy independence is concerned but the war on carbon isn't necessary so I think that can be crossed off the list.

Even Obama and the Greens pushing euphemistic climate change are not that worried about it since there's not even a whisper of a hint that more nuclear power plants are in our future. Doubling solar and wind would still give us only a minor percentage of our electric needs. What is going to power those new GM electric cars in a couple of years? Are we really going to be stuck with coal?

I wish Obama would start complaining about inheriting this 'global warming' mess because we need a serious dialog on his so-called solutions.

Posted by: Syl on March 14, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK


He held a GUN to the Bankers head when we got our home loan.

Now we have to default, because like ACORN, we're NUTS!

Here's where it gets tricky:
When the President tells the truth, my head explodes!

Posted by: GOPPER JONES on March 14, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, what a disturbing and damaging article.

Obama wouldn't have assumed the office of Presidency if he wasn't ready and willing to tackle all this stuff, even though he was given the 'Nation's Worst Job' (as 'The Onion' referred it).

He has taken responsibility for all of what he does now, and he is clearly doing the best he can-- but yes--of course he needs to remind and put things in context-- as everyone has such a short-term memory. Folks are eager to forget and tend to be very short-sighted.

Perspective is needed.

Yes, he did inherit a truck-load of horrible, multi-layered issues--many of which sadly are now coming to a head all at once, but many of which were shouting out for attention for decades, starting with Reagan...

YES--these problems were either:

A. created by the Bush Administration
B. left completely unattended / neglected (and therefore became exacerbated)


Posted by: Insanity on March 14, 2009 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Who ever blames this on Obama is a moron. Open your eyes people. He's only been in office 2 months. Everyone needs to quit playing the blame game and set aside their differences and fix this and not just put a band aid on it. Obama is trying to fix it and yes unfortunately it's going to cost us intially. What other choice do we have. How much money do we spend on other countries every year??? It's about time we spent it on our selves because look where we are at now. It's not going to fix itself obviously. The start of it comes from Greed. To many greedy people screwing our own people and now they are complaining our government has to spend money to fix it. I could go on and on about this all day long but that isnt going to fix anything. Give Obama a chance to fix this mess. It's taken years to get us here and it won't get fixed over night. Oh but some of you think it should have been fixed the first day he took office. Get a clue and quit wanking.

Posted by: Julie on March 14, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Meant to say:
A. created by the Reagan and then sustained and made worse by the Bush Administration--because let's face it--Clinton was largely incapacitated because of the Republican led congress...

Posted by: Insanity on March 14, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

John Stewart on the blame game

Posted by: dcblogger on March 14, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

And it is imperative that Obama keep blaming Bush for the mess -- not as part of some pointless partisan blame game, but so that the president can keep moving forward with his SOLUTIONS. The right wing is determined to blame Obama for Bush's mess because they hate the president's solutions that take power away from them and the unelected private sector oligarchs they represent and gives it to democratically elected government.

Republicans could care less about solving this crisis, they just don't want political power to shift back towards democratic government and away from the corporate and religious titans that make up the GOP base. That's why they are so insistent on calling this the "Obama Recession" and are rewriting history to say that the New Deal failed. One way to derail Obama is to redefine his solutions as problems, which is why they need to blame Obama for the current crisis.

So, Obama is not simply pointing fingers at Bush to score a few cheap partisan points. He's blaming Bush to remind folks how we got here so that right wing conservatives can't hijack the agenda and halt Obama's reforms in their tracks by convincing frustrated and frightened Americans to embrace in their desperation the very conservative policies that caused this mess in the first place.

Posted by: Ted Frier on March 14, 2009 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, egbert is so stupid he thinks Kevin Drum is still here. And he says Obama "rings his hands". Must be odd to have hands made of metal. Better trolls, please!

Posted by: jrw on March 14, 2009 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

I expected this and expect more.

We are just on the "event horizon" of the black hole of very big change and attitudes, emotions and energy go way up and become very distorted as the impact of the change begins to manifest itself...

Obama is the catalyst, though as we know, not the true cause of the events that causing the need for the change. But he is seen, and is indeed, influencing the speed at which things move towards that black hole.

Those of the old order, those most invested in their own orbits and mass, who thought their universe would never change, will scream the loudest. There is not defense for it. Only the satisfaction of knowing that there is no eluding the change and their world is ending, at least as they knew it. Who can they blame? Certainly not themselves! They are afraid...

Does not make it fun, nor fair but totally predictable

Posted by: Elie on March 14, 2009 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Interestingly, let me add this: while not "blaming" Obama for this mess explictly, some of the far left media, read the Nation, for example, are pretty negative in their assessments of the efforts made since he has been in office.
..and the discussion around the Obama approach and appointees handling the economy is at times poisonous from the left and right --

Everybody wants things "fixed" (whatever that means for them) - YESTERDAY. And no, there is no effing patience or anything. Do it NOW! You promised it would all be ok so make it ok or I am going to hold my breath and then you'll be sorry, you'll see...

Posted by: Elie on March 14, 2009 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

The stupidest thing about the WA Post article is that Obama's 'partisan complaints' about inheriting the mess from the previous administration are a direct response to the partisan sniping directed at him about how the stimulus bill and budget bills are too big, will create bigger deficits, involve too much 'interference' in the holy free markets and so on.

WTF? These people are complaining because the President's 10-year budget projections predict $7 trillion in added debt? Obama inherited over a trillion dollar per year deficit and a dire need to spend money to get us out of an immediate crisis. Bush ran up almost $5 trillion in just 8 years after starting with an annual SURPLUS! Idiots.

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 14, 2009 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Essentially what the Post is saying is that the President is not allowed to defend himself.

Republicans are trying mightily to sell the preposterous notion that Obama is to blame for the mess we are in. The Post article barely mentions this fact, burying it at the very end of the piece.

The fact is -- the President is only counterpunching against this fiction.

Posted by: Dave in DC on March 14, 2009 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Dave in DC. The media's interpretaion of Obama's campaign promises is that he was promising to be a sap. The American people know better, and that is why the Republicans are stumbling so badly.

Posted by: david1234 on March 15, 2009 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

The revisionists already have the talk shows ears, he's got to head them off somewhere.

Posted by: michmac on March 15, 2009 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

I was going to cancel the Post. They offered to continue at 50 cents an issue.

I just re-upped for 77 cents.

I really should cancel given that it has become a pod-paper clearly in the grip of right wing ventriloquists. (At least the editorial section, but that's how it starts, doesn't it, WSJ?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 15, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK



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