Free Markets, Free People
Democrats are particularly fond of that meme because it provides them the opportunity to again shift the blame for something on their arch enemy, George Bush. It is also a convenient way to claim they’re blameless for all of these trillions of dollars in deficit spending that has taken place over the years.
But a funny thing happened on the way to using this convincingly. The real numbers simply don’t support it. In fact, they show us something a lot more believable to be the cause of our new and huge deficits. And it is certainly not anything the Democrats want associated with them.
Randall Hoven at American Thinker does an excellent job of dismantling the myth that the Iraq War and George Bush’s decision to prosecute the war (with the permission of Congress – to include almost every Democrat) are the reason we’re suffering these huge deficits today. And he uses the CBO’s numbers and the Federal government’s own budget figuress to prove that it wasn’t Iraq that put us in the poor house, but the Democrats.
Take a look at this chart:
According to the CBO’s numbers, the Iraq war has cost $709 billion. Not the wild estimates by some on the left (to include the absurd claims by James Carville and others that the war cost $3 trillion). And look carefully at the added cost of the war on top of the federal deficit spending shown in red.
Notice anything? Now think back – who was in charge of Congress from 2003 – 2007? And what was the trend in overall deficit spending – including the cost of the Iraq war – through 2007. Any impartial observer would point out the trend was downward. The party in charge of Congress at the time was the GOP.
Who took over the Congress in 2008? And what has happened to deficit spending since? Certainly the cost of Iraq has increased the deficit somewhat, but in comparison to the deficit spending since the Democratic Congress has been in session it pales in comparison.
And now, that war is essentially over and we’ve pulled the last combat brigade out, costs will certainly come down and eventually be quite small. But the trillion dollar yearly deficits – the Obama budget for 2011 is $1.4 trillion dollars – aren’t coming down at all, are they?
Be sure to read Hoven’s piece – he shows his work and provides a powerful tool to debunk the left’s “Iraq is why we have a huge deficit” canard. It has, instead, been the spending of the Democrats in Congress. Hoven’s work easily puts lie to the Democrat’s attempt to once again shift the blame for their own profligacy on to George Bush and the Iraq war.
It sure seems to me to be how many Democrats view it. If in trouble, ethically challenged, or just doing a miserable job, blame Bush. It has become the all purpose, "get out of jail free" card for Democrats, or so they seem to think.
The latest example? Why the Democratic Representative from Los Angeles, Maxine Waters. Instead of answering direct questions concerning her role is obtaining TARP funds for a bank in which her husband had an interest and sat on the board of directors, we got this:
Embattled Rep. Maxine Waters on Friday blamed the Bush administration for her ethics problems — saying she had to intervene with the Treasury Department on behalf of minority-owned banks seeking federal bailout funds — including one tied to her husband — because the Treasury Department wouldn’t schedule its own appointments.
"The question at this point should not be why I called Secretary Paulson, but why I had to," she said. "The question at this point should be why a trade association representing over 100 minority banks could not get a meeting at the height of the crisis."
Actually those aren’t the questions that should be asked. Instead they should be asking, “why didn’t you disclose the fact that your husband had a position in one of these banks when you came begging for money?” Or, “if you did nothing ethically wrong, then why is it this information wasn’t volunteered initially when you contacted Sec. Paulson?” And finally, “would you have contacted the Secretary if a bank in which your husband had an interest hadn’t been part of that association”?
I mean there were plenty of banks in trouble at the time – why that particular association? Why that particular bank?
This finger pointing and blame-shifting is getting old. When the meeting Waters demanded took place -surprise, surprise- the officers of only one bank showed up – OneUnited, her husband’s bank. Payoff (or ripoff if you prefer)? 50 million of your dollars.
Yet somehow it is the Bush administration’s fault. In fact, everything that is wrong in America isn’t the fault of the Democrats. Oh no. They – the masters of victimhood – are the victims of that awful and scurrilous George W. Bush.
Even a third-grader would have learned by now that trying to shift blame on someone else for something you’ve done rarely if ever works. Democrats have yet to come to that realization. But, as we’ve often noted here, the pubic certainly has, and for the most part are sick and tired of the whining, crying and attempts to duck responsibility for their actions.
That’s primarily because the current administration has been in power 18 months, it has spent like there’s no tomorrow with borrowed funds and the economy is still in the tank. Most adults consider that more than enough time to do address the "inherited" problems and if not fix them, be on the road to doing so. But blaming the previous administration is no longer a viable option.
Forty-eight percent of likely voters blame Obama’s policies for the nation’s economic condition, compared to 47 percent who fault former President George W. Bush, according to Rasmussen Reports.
Although the difference is small and within the margin of error, the poll marks the first time in Obama’s presidency that more people blame him than Bush for the economy.
Obama’s 48 percent also shows a three percentage point increase over the past month, according to Rasmussen. As noted, the margin is small and within the margin of error but is, for the first time, against the Obama administration. More importantly, that’s the way it has been trending in past polls.
So essentially what you should expect to see, as the months pass and the unemployment rate remains high, GDP growth sluggish, consumer confidence down and businesses sitting on the side lines is more and more Americans coming to consider this mess the "Obama economy".
The White House has repeatedly tried to inoculate the president from economic blame with the message that Obama inherited a bad economy from Bush, and has made difficult, unpopular decisions to turn it around.
In a speech to the AFL-CIO, Obama made the case that the problems he faces are the result of Bush economic policies.
"We’re not going to go back to digging the hole," he said. "We’re not going to go back to the policies that took Bill Clinton’s surplus and in eight years turned it into record deficits."
That’s obviously not how the American people are seeing those policies and their effect. There’s nothing in the Bush years that even approach the record deficits being piled (and projected) by this administration.
So that old song and dance seem to finally be getting old. And it is surprising the White House is still trying to push it. You’d think they’d understand that it was a perishable excuse and it has long since passed its expiration date. And, as the poll indicates, people have grown tired of it and just don’t accept it as a reasonable excuse anymore.
Not that it will stop the "Blameshifter-in-Chief” and his henchmen from continuing to trot it out there at every opportunity. Their problem is it just isn’t viable anymore.
This is just shameless.
In an interview with Roger Simon of Politico, our Presidential blame-shifter creates a hypothetical situation in an attempt to divert attention from his poor performance to unnamed Congressional persons:
“I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, big-government overregulation and wasteful spending.”
What they may or may not of have “said” is irrelevant to the fact that 6 months ago, had he gone up to Congress and said a crack down was needed, he’d have enjoyed substantial majorities in both the House and Senate allowing him to do exactly that. In fact he didn’t go to Congress, he didn’t say there needed to be a crack down and he didn’t initiate any new legislation to do so.
His 16 months in office apparently weren’t enough to oversee any necessary changes in Minerals Management Service to better regulate drilling and it was under his administration that the Deepwater Horizon platform was awarded a government award for safety in 2009 for “outstanding drilling operations” and a “perfect performance period.”
In other words, any failure on the part of government rests squarely in his lap.
“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much,” Obama said. “Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”
Here he resorts to a classic logical fallacy: the strawman argument. Those arguing that he’s trying to “engineer a takeover of our society” weren’t arguing about executing the basic functions of government. They were talking about takeovers of banks, financial institutions, car companies, health care and other areas not associated with those basic function. Disaster relief and mitigation – that’s considered a basic function and no one is hollering that shouldn’t happen as it always has. Taking over GM? That relates to what those people were “hollering” about. That is an unprecedented takeover. That is an indication of the point those people are making. Containing an oil spill in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico? That’s Obama’s job.
So the implication here is he’s either not doing his job because those same people will holler, or those people hollering are hypocrites (and he hopes that distracts you from the fact that he’s not doing his job (the strawman fallacy comes under the broad category of “fallacies of distraction”)).
Here’s a hint for our erstwhile President: ducking responsibility and blame-shifting are not among the principles of leadership.
Clarence Darrow once said, “when I was a boy I was told that anyone could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.”
Unfortunately, so am I.
[Another good takedown here.]