Last week’s Associated Press-GfK poll that showed fewer Americans were prepared to blame President Obama for the economy than his predecessor was manna from heaven for a White House that has run out of answers about the state of the nation. So it was little surprise President Obama has chosen to stick to bashing George W. Bush rather than take ownership of the nation’s finances more than two and a half years after he was sworn in.
Obama repeated his mantra about inheriting a bad economy from Bush today during his appearance on the Tom Joyner Radio Show in comments otherwise devoted to shoring up support from African-Americans:
George Bush left us a $1 trillion deficit, and so it’s a lot harder to climb out of this hole when we don’t have a lot of money in the federal coffers.
While it is true Obama did arrive in the White House at a time of economic crisis, it bears repeating the current administration has vastly increased that deficit with a stimulus boondoggle and Obamacare, and unemployment is higher today than on the day he took office.
Some in the administration were honest enough to admit earlier this year that more than halfway into his presidency, Obama did “own” the economy. But that was when they were counting on the recovery moving into second gear this fall rather than the nation coming to grips with a double-dip recession.
Though President Bush remains deeply unpopular, it remains to be seen whether merely shifting responsibility for the depressing results of the 31 months of Obama’s stewardship will be a sufficient argument for his re-election. It was one thing to run against Bush four years ago when the latter was still in office as a lame duck; it will be quite another thing to attempt to do so next year.