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.