Free Markets, Free People

Why health care reform makes the economy Obama’s fault

The “blame Bush” strategy for explaining the economy isn’t resonating with voters an LA Times story tells us.  And I think the reason is summed up very nicely by a 68 year old woman from Columbus, OH:

But Peggy Swope, for one, isn’t so sure. There are plenty of reasons the economy tanked, says the 68-year-old independent, and it’s not like Obama has done such a great job turning things around. "He was so fixated doing what he thought he needed to do on healthcare that he let everything else go," said Swope, a Columbus retiree.

Now we obviously can get tied down in arguments of whether or not Bush had a hand in the downturn and whether or not Obama really could do all that much.  But those arguments are going to fall on deaf ears because, as we’ve pointed out many, many times, in politics, perception is reality.  And I think Ms. Swope’s perception of why we’re still in the economic shape we’re in is one that is shared by a large number of voters.

And most voters aren’t interested in what got us there – that’s history, and besides, even if you believe Bush to be at least partly at fault, he’s been gone for almost 2 years.

What they are interested in is why it got worse and most importantly, why it doesn’t seem to be getting any better in the economy.  And blaming that on Bush is a hard sale – especially when Democrats spent all their time and effort on ramming health care through and essentially ignoring the economy as millions more Americans joined the unemployment line.


Though most Americans remain critical of Bush’s record on the economy — 71% in a recent USA Today-Gallup poll said he deserved a great deal or moderate amount of blame for the slow growth and high jobless rate — more than half of those polled were unhappy with Obama’s performance. More to the point, they hold him responsible for fixing the problem, regardless of who caused it.

Bottom line: blaming Bush is a loser and viewed as nothing more than the usual sniping that politicians do at this point.  This economy now belongs to the Democrats and Obama. They chose health care over jobs.  Now they get to pay the piper.  Playing the blame game isn’t going to advance the Democrats chances anymore.  That era is ended.  They’re now stuck with the one they run.  And the voters are in no mood for the games of 5 year olds when it comes to the economy.


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24 Responses to Why health care reform makes the economy Obama’s fault

  • The thing is, they appear to be missing a very simple point– the electorate DID blame Bush for the economic downturn.  That was one of the larger reasons (IMO) that they elected Obama as President and handed him sizable majorities in Congress.  So when Obama (and any other Democrat/liberal) reminds us that Bush is to blame for the economy, the response from the country is to ask them what they have done to fix the problem.  So far, the only response is to repeat the “Bush’s fault” mantra as the economy continues to struggle.  If there’s anything worse than a person who is condescending, it’s a person who is condescending and inept.

  • Obama is beginning to whine.  That is a very bad sign.
    He said himself that it was his economy many, long, eventful months ago.  That clip needs to be played over and over.  EVERY FREAKING DAY.

    • No need to be so obvious about it.  Merely publish weekly polls about how many Americans think that the economic mess is The Dear Golfer’s fault, then sit back and watch that number climb steadily.

  • As a matter of fact, Barackycare was sold to us several times as the key to fixing the economy.


  • The stat that Dems never want to talk about when they blame Bush for the deficit (“Clinton left with a surplus and look what BUSH! did!”) is that it was going down until the Dems took control of Congress.  They also don’t talk about the last budget of the Bush administration, which was never presented to President Bush, it was held over by Speaker Pelosi and signed by Obama, who immediately announced that it was Bush’s fault and none of his concern.  That was the first thing that made me question the man’s integrity as a President.
    I, like many Republicans, was not really a big fan of President Bush when it came to spending.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the Republican majority in Congress in its later years (which ended two years before Bush exited the White House).  People also forget that a lot of Republicans were so fed up with President Bush’s spending and the Republicans in Congress that they made the insane statement that they’d rather have Democrats in power to ruin the economy than to continue to vote for Republicans and watch helplessly as their own people did it.
    My point is, government has been growing for far too long. For decades we’ve been electing big government elites (Republicans being the “diet” version, Democrats being the “full sugar” version) who think the answer to all manner of problems is to be found in the government.  They don’t seem to realize that government has never proven itself to be competent at anything but growing and accruing more power.  For the money its given, is anyone happy with the results?  Government is like a corporation whose only product is increased complexity and expense.
    Voters are figuring out that we can’t trust them, and the group in power now particularly untrustworthy because they are the most convinced that the one entity we’re all realizing is both incompetent and expensive (government) should have even more control over our economy and our lives.

    • Clinton left with a surplus

      Well Clinton also left Bush a recession, which started in Sept of 2000

      • Clinton had the “Dot Com Boom” .. Bush got the “Dot Com Bust” (which started in 2000)

        • And the Boom had NOTHING to do with Clinton. Quite possibly, he put a bullet in it’s ass with his FCCs meddling with the telecoms.

      • Also, BJ’s response to the various terrorist attacks likely helped lead to 9/11, and the additional recession and spending that resulted.

    • While there are those who say “Clinton left with a surplus and look what BUSH! did!”, in fact there was no real surplus under Clinton. The last time there was a real surplus Ike was president.

      • The almost surplus of the Clinton era was the doing of Republicans. BJ signed the budget the congress passed. Of course, this “balanced budget” was possible due to things like the dotcom bubble, etc.

  • “And the voters are in no mood for the games of 5 year olds when it comes to the economy.”
    Amazing the people who want so desperately to tell us how to live our lives because we’re just not able to make good decisions act like 5 year olds themselves….
    Well, maybe not, considering way too many of them are in their second childhoods while in office.

  • One of these two options is most likely true …
    1)  Obama thought the “stimulus” would get the economy on the road to recovery (why else Recovery Summer) so he went on to health care reform.
    2) Obama did the “stimulus” to pay off his supporters (unions, etc.) while ignoring the economy, and went on to bigger and greener pastures of health care reform.
    Either way, Obama owns this economy.  Hey, if it’s too hard .. resign (Michelle’s hell would be over).

    • 3) IIRC, CBO predicted that the recession would end in late ’10 without Porkulus.  CBO didn’t reckon on the economy-killing effects of runaway government spending and the (ahem) uncertainty among businessmen and investors caused by  passing bills to find out what was in them.

    • Neo, I think it’s a LOT more complex than that.  ObamaCare was the golden fleece (get it?) of the Collective for about the last hundred years.  Barack The One was going to get it, securing his place in the pantheon of the Collective by that act alone.
      The stimulus was the Collective’s wet dream; Keynesian manipulation of the economy on the grandest scale yet attempted, plenty of pork to go around for “friends” in Congress, enormous vote-buying potential, no controls on how or where the money was actually spent, and huge PR (outright lying) potential about the wonderfulness of the O.
      Recovery Summer was one of those PR ploys.  It was a calculated risk, based on the expectation that SOME modest warming in the economy would likely occur…just because, not due to anything the Obami did.  They could then trumpet it to the rafters as a sure sign of their wise stewardship of the economy, as they have done with both real and imaginary good news in the past.  What they didn’t figure was that…unabated…the Obamic loathing of the capitalist system was quickly chilling whatever warmth the economy might spontaneously be generating despite the killer policies of the Regime.

  • “They chose health care over jobs.”
    He chose……….poorly.

  • Now we obviously can get tied down in arguments of whether or not Bush had a hand in the downturn and whether or not Obama really could do all that much.  But those arguments are going to fall on deaf ears because, as we’ve pointed out many, many times, in politics, perception is reality.

    “Well, really it isn’t the President who has any influence on the economy – Congress are the real folks with power there” likely isn’t going to be an argument he should consider making at this point…

  • Though most Americans remain critical of Bush’s record on the economy — 71% in a recent USA Today-Gallup poll said he deserved a great deal or moderate amount of blame for the slow growth and high jobless rate —

    /exasperated rant follows/
    Yeah, well polls and studies indicate that the majority of Americans are completely clueless about the economy, “knowing” only what the lapdog media and  the braindead academia shoves up their patutie. Other data further indicates they can’t be bothered to break away from MTV, sitcoms, or ESPN long enough to find out what IS and HAS gone down.
    Thomas Jefferson said that, “… a nation that expects to be ignorant and free wants something that cannot and never will be!”.
    Tough sh&t – too bad, so sad. Americans elected this mess over the past six generations, and even now feels the corrective measures are “too radical”. So, okay, America, you’ve made your bed, now sleep in it.

  • Politically, I wonder if the administration was too eager to roll out the Stimulus as a done deal, and then move on to healthcare. I wonder if they had announced the Stimulus but then slowly voted on it, one large chunk at a time, which would have provided media cover that they “cared” about jobs.

    I am in full cynic mode here, not saying the stimulus was a good idea, just wondering if their “Big Bang” approach was right. Then again, they ran clash for clunkers and the housing stuff later on. I wonder if they beleived Romer (who wanted 1.3 trillion) that recovery would come. Instinctively and cynically, I would rather have all the tax credits and rebates run out the day after the elections.

  • Yesterday at work I was told that buried in the Obamacare bill was a provision to tax employees for the portion of their coverage paid by employers.  Also if you are taxed after your medical coverage is deducted you will be taxed on that amount as if it were a benefit.
    That’s a tax on the middle class isn’t it?

  • What to you think our economy would be like to today if Republicans were still in control?  Yes it’s been nearly two years, but the criticism of his policies and the whole ‘stop blaming Bush’ thing began within months after Obama took office. ‘Blaming bush’ is not about ‘blaming’ – that’s the conservative p.o.v. as that’s what they themselves are best at doing. No, it’s about explaining to the average voter that this train wreck of an economy was set in motion long before Obama took office (in fact, even before Bush took office) and aftermath is still present.  The idea that one man and his administration would step in front of it, stop it cold, turn it around and set it back on the right track, and, undo all the damage is simply not realistic, to put it nicely.     
    Obama’s stimulus plans have at least slowed things down, whereas, 4 more years of republican policies would simply have Americans running to Mexico looking for jobs by now.  As it is, net job losses ceased at the end of 2009.    
    P.S. Trust nothing you read and hear in the media, particularly Fox News.


    • Hey Rich – this may come as a surprise to you but I don’t want either party in “control” of the economy. I want them to be in less control and the party that does what is necessary to make that happen is the party that has my support.