JONATHAN CHAIT JUNE 23, 2010
Today's New York Times has a feature about Jeb Bush, who, gosh darn it, wishes President Obama would take the blame for the country's problems rather than blame his brother:
For months now, Jeb Bush has been listening as President Obama blasts his older brother’s administration for the battered economy, budget deficits and even the lax oversight of oil wells.
“It’s kind of like a kid coming to school saying, ‘The dog ate my homework,’ ” Mr. Bush, this state’s former governor, said over lunch last week at the Biltmore Hotel. “It’s childish. This is what children do until they mature. They don’t accept responsibility.”...
“Look, I think there was a whole series of decisions made over a long period of time, the cumulative effect of which created the financial meltdown that has created the hardship that we’re facing,” he said slowly. “Congress, the administration, everyone can accept some responsibility.”
“The issue to me is what we do now,” Jeb Bush said. “Who cares who’s to blame?”
Well, that's a nice-sounding sentiment. But the reality is that the main thrust of the Republican message is to make the public believe that conditions like mass unemployment and enormous deficits are the result of President Obama's policies, rather than a result of conditions Obama inherited. Here is today's Wall Street Journal editorial bidding farewell to Peter Orszag:
According to press reports, Peter Orszag has told friends that he plans to leave as White House budget director because he wants to go out on "a high note." Would that refer to the deficit, or federal spending as a share of GDP?
And here is the reality:
The Times article makes no attempt to ascertain whether Obama is actually correct to claim that he inherited a collapsing economy and a skyrocketing deficit. The question is simply treated as a political construct.