Political Animal


November 08, 2012 3:31 PM Bush Was On the Ballot

By Ed Kilgore

Regular readers know that the Washington Monthly has been adamant in arguing that the presidency of George W. Bush should have been a major factor in the 2012 elections, partly because of its impact on the situation Barack Obama faced when he took office, and partly because Bush’s agenda was in many ways a kinder gentler version of what Romney offered.

Well, looks like he kinda was on the ballot. Check this out from CNN’s analysis of the exit polls:

More voters in the swing states of Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia blame George W. Bush than Obama for the state of the U.S. economy.

And here’s a nugget from Greg Sargent’s interview with Obama pollster Joel Benenson:

[Obama’s final internal poll] found voters agreed by more than three to one — 74 to 23 — that the 2008 meltdown was an “extraordinary crisis more severe than we’ve seen in decades,” rather than “a typical recession that the country has every several years.”
What’s more, a solid majority, 57 percent, believed that the problems created by the crisis were “too severe for anyone to fix in a single term.” Only four in 10 thought another president would have been able to do more to get the economy going in four years than Obama did. This message was brilliantly conveyed in Bill Clinton’s convention speech….
“They are living in a 1980s model — all you have to do is say, `we’re going to cut taxes, and the world will be fine,’” Benenson said, adding middle class voters no longer listen to that argument, because they feel “those at the top have benefitted more than they have.” Result: Voters preferred Obama’s willingness to fight for them to any technical proficiency they thought Romney had on the economy, his poll showed.

Since Republicans are not showing any signs of changing their basic economic and fiscal agenda, it’s important to commit the actual record of the Bush era to a clear memory. So if you haven’t already done so, check out our ebook, Elephant in the Room: Washington in the Bush Years. A return to those days has been delayed for four more years, but not yet buried.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Perspecticus on November 08, 2012 3:56 PM:

    Absolutely Bush was on the ballot. However, according to Dr. Tim Stanley, "historian of the United States", it wasn't for any of the reasons above...

    Romney offers a real alternative to Obama, Bush and the whole New Deal sexy state circus


    (Dr. Stanley is clearly an historian of Gingrichian caliber.)

  • c u n d gulag on November 08, 2012 4:17 PM:

    Well, I think we just dodged a huge bullet, considering that Romney, if he were elected to the Presidency, would have come to the poker table, and said, "Well, what I'm going to, is I'm doubling down on the same strategy that the my friend, Mr. Bush, lost his house on 4 years ago! Showing a single deuce? I'll stick. And double the bet. Your call."

  • schtick on November 08, 2012 5:50 PM:

    Something that should have been brought up to the voters, these so called "job creators" that were begging for tax breaks so they could create jobs were sitting on millions and still making record amounts of money. So why were they not creating jobs? If they were real job creators, they would have created jobs. They aren't and they didn't.
    Maybe they are going to save it for the next election, but it will be a little late if Obama finally makes progress.

  • Th on November 08, 2012 7:17 PM:

    It took a middle-aged undecided voter from Long Island at the second debate to ask the main question of this election; how are your policies different from Bush's?