Running away from the record
Even the bogeyman George Bush has a finite shelf life. It is as if he is now somehow last fall’s Halloween goblin that we are still supposed to worry about months later during the Fourth of July. Yes, Bush’s utility for blame is now like that of the demonized Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Wall Street, the insurers, the surgeons, the Republicans, and John Boehner, and so has pretty much expired. Even MoveOn.org cannot believe that all the above kept the country at nearly 10% unemployment.
Instead, the new mantra for Democratic candidates is a sort of “Obama made us do it!” And I cannot recall ever quite seeing that in American politics. Even the slaughtered House Republicans of 2006 did not plead in their campaigns that they were coerced or duped by George Bush.
Consider the liberal dilemma:
After passing ObamaCare, providing more bailouts and stimuli, castigating greedy CEOs and their corporations for selfishness, and embracing Keynesian $1.5 trillion deficits, suddenly no one wishes to support that record.
I understand the president prefers to say that the full effects of his deficit policies, coupled with a natural rebound that follows every recession, will bring us prosperity. Perhaps so, but only in the European sense of plodding on with perennially high unemployment. Instead, very few of those in the Congress who just 20 months rushed to pass the Obama agenda now wish to run on it. How odd.
Take Bill Clinton. His most recent admission that he was wrong about the eventual positive public reaction to ObamaCare was embarrassing not just for his faulty logic — that the bill was unpopular in part because it was unfairly demonized by the right-wing media — but for the vehemence with which in finger-shaking fashion he once asserted that false analysis, and the casual way in which he now acknowledges that he was wrong.
The triad of the president’s economic advisors — Larry Summers, director of Obama’s National Economic Council; White House Budget Director Peter Orzag; and Christina Romer, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers — have all quit or will quit, without finishing their second full year, in the middle of economic chaos. If the Congress won’t defend their own borrow and spend policies of gargantuan government, and the administrative team that crafted the fiscal agenda is vanishing, who is left to assure us that all that was the right course? Timothy Geithner? The columnist Paul Krugman, who, after hammering for the mega-deficits that we got, now turns on Obama for not doubling them?
Proud and loud?
In other words, why cannot liberal defenders of Obama simply say, “Government, much more wisely than a selfish private sector, can ensure a vibrant economy. When people are assured of comprehensive government entitlements they use that security as a base for renewed work and investment. Deficits create consumer demands, spread money around to those who need it most, and spur economic prosperity. And when business provides society with over half its profits in income, payroll, and assorted state and local taxes, the resulting redistributive change and spread-the-wealth equality ensure aggregate economic growth”?
But no one seems to wish to run on the very philosophy that just two years ago was gospel. Instead we get “Obama made us do it.”
So few wish to embrace Obama’s other policies and politics. Take cap and trade, now stalled in the Congress. Cannot those who voted for it in the House make the renewed case for catastrophic man-made global warming, refuting the attacks on Al Gore or the Climategate scandal?
Or perhaps try immigration. Will not liberals at least say something like the following: “We must give amnesty to most of the 12 million illegal aliens here, and here is why…”?
Or gay marriage and “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Cannot liberals run on the theme that sexual difference has nothing to do with the sanctity of marriage or the efficacy of military service, so we proudly see both issues as those of human rights?
Instead of that honesty, what do we get? Court action to nullify passed ballot propositions in California; efforts to hijack a Defense Appropriation bill unless it ends “don’t ask, don’t tell” and gives amnesty in exchange for military service and good grades in college. Again, we see here a weird recognition that most people apparently don’t know what is best for them, so they must in some fashion be deluded into accepting what will make them better.