Blame where blame is due


I distinctly remember the first time I heard Jeb Bush complaining about holding his brother responsible for the mess he left behind.

“If I had one humble criticism of President Obama, it would be to stop this notion of somehow framing everything in the context of ‘Everything was bad before I got here’ and focus on his duties, which we all want him to succeed. But constantly pushing down the previous president to make yourself look good I think is a bad thing.”

The comments were made in early April 2009 – Obama had been in office for about 10 weeks. Yesterday, the former Florida governor was still pushing the same line, this time on “Meet the Press.”

David Gregory asked if it bothers Bush when the president blames “a lot of our economic condition on your brother.” The Republican relied, “I think it is time for him to move on, I mean, he, look, the guy was dealt a difficult hand. No question about it. But he’s had three years. His policies have failed.”

I’ll never be able to understand this perspective. George W. Bush had two terms, and bequeathed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, a jobs crisis, two wars, a trillion-dollar deficit, a collapsing auto industry, a housing crisis, a clime crisis, a dysfunctional health care system, an equally dysfunctional immigration system, a deeply divided electorate, and a nation with a severely tarnished global reputation. Nearly every challenge facing the United States right now was created or made worse by Bush’s eight years in office.

Obama has had three years, and has made considerable progress in cleaning up the Republicans’ mess, but Jeb Bush thinks it’s inappropriate to even mention his brother’s spectacular failures? Even when Obama’s opponent appears eager to repeat Bush’s mistakes?

Put it this way: I think the president would be making a mistake if he took Jeb’s advice. Indeed, given reality, I think Obama probably doesn’t blame Bush nearly enough.