Obama’s Blame Game On Deficits Misstates Bush’s Record

Here in Washington there is an absence of accountability. There are far more people looking to give blame rather than accept it.

Sadly the problem is a bipartisan one. Nevertheless, it is Democrats, the party who promised to change this culture, who have become the worst offender.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is the latest offender, saying Tuesday that Democrats will be using George Bush’s record against Republicans this November. In response to a recent Washington Post poll showing confidence in President Obama reached an all-time low he said,

“I’m not happy about that. I think Americans are angry. They were angry in ‘06. They were angry in ‘08. They changed leadership. They’re still angry. Their economy is still not working the way it should work. We agree with that.” he said. “Unfortunately their anger — which should be focused on not returning to the Bush, Boehner, McCain policies which plunged us into deep debt and resulted in the worst economy in the lifetime of almost every American under 90 years of age — [is focused on Obama.].

Blame it on Bush. Forget “hope and change,” those four words should have been the Obama administration’s campaign pitch. Republicans have long decried the “Bush did this, Bush did that” approach to governing that emanating from the White House. With unemploying remaining stagnant and the federal deficits skyrocketing, people are looking for answers, not blame. And answers are something that Democrats don’t have much of. Now the once-novel Bush bashing is just another tired attempt at staying in power – one that has already lost its charm and aura of validity.

Before starting off on another Bush rant you would think some Democrats would recognize how ineffectual it is. In fact, such a pass the buck attitude when people are demanding accountability is showing signs of backfiring.

After nearly a year and a half of Obama’s presidency the public confidence in President Obama has hit an all time low. According to an ABC Poll nearly six in 10 voters do not have faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and 2/3 of all voters are dissatisfied with the way the federal government is working. It seems the longer he is in office and the more we get a chance to watch our President, the less popular he gets.

True to form, Obama is trying his best to come up with excuses for people’s dissatisfaction. Could it be his agenda stands in stark contrast to what Americans want? No! Could it be Bush’s fault? Of course!

Last Friday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, President Obama spoke about the economy. He said:

“And these were all the consequence of a decade of misguided economic policies—a decade of stagnant wages, a decade of declining incomes, a decade of spiraling deficits.”

Come again, Mr. President? A decade of spiraling deficits?

As Keith Hennessey, former Director of the US National Economic Council, wrote, we’ve had

“Eight years of deficits averaging 2.0 percent of GDP, followed by a horrible ninth year as the markets collapsed and the economy plunged into recession. Before the crash of late 2008 President Bush’s budget deficits were 0.6 percentage points smaller than the historic average.  Deficits did not “spiral” during the Bush presidency or the decade.  They bumped around the historic average, then spiked up in the last year.”

Looking at these numbers makes it clear that after tripling the US national deficit from the previous year in 2009, Barack Obama is en route to nearly quadruple the national deficit from 2008 when George W. Bush left office.

In declaring the last decade to be one of spiraling deficits, President Obama is engaging in yet another sad attempt to spread the blame for his spending failures. For some reason I don’t think “The Audacity of Blame” would have sold nearly as well. Nevertheless, it seems it would have been a truer assessment of his feelings. The numbers are clear: the Bush presidency experienced eight years of deficits, not ideal or a representative of true conservative policy by any means, but also not evidence of a long term trend toward unsustainability. After all, the deficits were on average lower than the historic average.

It is time for Obama to stop blaming those who came before him, and start making some history of his own. The more he claims that the mess on his hands was ‘inherited’ from Bush, the less likely he is to create any reputable legacy of his own.

Fine by me. The legacy of the next generation of conservatives will be made all the more clear – we brought fiscal sanity back to Washington and saved young adults’ future while we were at it.

by Brandon Greife, College Republican National Committee