He says “the buck stops with me,” but nearly a year into office, President Barack Obama is still blaming a lot of the nation’s troubles — the economy, terrorism, health care — on George W. Bush.
Over and over, Obama keeps reminding Americans of the mess he inherited and all he’s doing to fix it. A sharper, give-me-some-credit tone has emerged in his language as he bemoans people’s fleeting memory about what life was like way back in 2008, particularly on the economy.
“Yes, we can”?
Try “Yes, I have.”
My years in the family business taught me one important lesson: people who spend their lives blaming everyone else for what’s wrong are, by definition, failures. That’s something I had to learn for myself as I saw it in others.
Everybody gets dealt a bad hand somewhere along the way. The current administration’s position is unenviable. The financial collapse, preventable in part by different government choices, is larger than any stimulus he can throw at it (and some of the stimulus measures that are being thrown at it don’t help.) A gram of prevention is far better than the metric ton of cure (how about that for a bromide update!) that is now necessary.
The war on Islamic careerism is no fun either. Neither the “kill-kill-kill” tactics of the right nor the appeasement ones on the left will work. Everything else is incomprehensible to American elites and non-elites alike.
But that’s the job Barack Obama ran for and now he’s got it. His job is to lead this country into the future, not just demonise parts of its past. As much as some of us would like to, we can’t live there any more.
My guess is that this endless Bush drone is aimed at two groups:
- His base, which never tires of hearing it and will carry their hatred of Bush into the nursing home, where they’ll curse and slap any of the help who wears a cross or an elephant. (And that moment, for a good deal of his base, isn’t far away.)
- Those independents who likewise blame everyone else in life for what’s happened to them, and to whom this kind of thing appeals to. (And that, in no sense, covers all or even most independents. His falling ratings amongst independents are a testimony to that.)
But if these groups are the only ones he’s trying to appeal to, his ratings will only worsen.