I’ve been hearing it since election day. Now that the Democrats are in charge they are going to have to own it. Everything that goes wrong will be blamed on them. With Bush and Republicans out, there’s no one to blame but the Democrats.
Let me explain to you that that is wrong. Politico had a story where a Democrat strategist was eyeing Portman as being the architect of the Bush economy. Obama laid the ground work in several speeches by saying this is too big a problem to handle in one term. We saw it in Politico’s Arena when Christine Pelosi acknowledged terrorists might just be responsible for terrorist attacks instead of the Executive Branch.
Democrats ran Congress from 2006 on. How many of those failures did they end up owning? Even failures where their guys benefitted and were in charge it got blamed on Bush — see the tanking of the economy and Fannie and Freddie. People say McCain didn’t do a good enough job explaining it was their fault — but that’s not entirely the case. The problem was, a majority of the public refused to listen.
I would like to believe that with the transfer of power, Obama wiil be held to similarly strict standards as Bush did. But Obama has one thing Bush never had — Obama has a boogey man that frightens voters, and will continue to frighten voters till my generation dies off. As irrational as it seems, Bush is going to be called up as a specter to attack the right forever and a day. Much like McGovern is whispered around during the Democrat’s primaries as a way to ward off certain candidates.
But, the worst of this is? The reason this will work is because the average voter is not acting rationally as we move forward into the age of the YouTube Presidency, where flash and 30 seconds clips dominate the day. Our voters think Obama is a Muslim, Bush caused Katrina and that McCain (and Obama) were ineligible to be President because of where they were born.
Because of voter’s irrationality, Obama and Democrats will leverage the specter of Bush from now to eternity. Everything that goes wrong is going to be blamed on Bush. We cannot expect anyone to make them own their mistakes. The only way to make people realize they are responsible is to be adamant, forthright and doggon’ determined. We can’t be rude and manic — but we can’t back down. We have to press, and we have to inform. We have to do so in a way that people get, understand and can fit between Google searches.
That’s our real challenge. The Democrats “own” their problems — not unless we make them. But, we can’t do it at the expense of our own rationality. Sometimes, our politicians are going to do stupid things. This is politics, not sport — when our team makes a mistake, we need to acknowledge it. We’re generally pretty good about that though.
This is what I was thinking about today on my commute — as I heard someone else say that now Obama was going to be responsible for every evil in the world. That’s just not how reality is going to work. And we need to not delude ourselves into thinking that. I’m hardly “Conservative” on a lot of issues, but for the sake of rationality in politics, we’ve got to find a way to make politicians actually responsible for their actions.