Put On a Happy Face

Apparently, it’s fine for Republicans in Congress to announce at every opportunity that it’s Pres. Obama’s fault that the economy is still tanking (less than two months after he took office), but it’s a violation betrayal of his pledge to bring a new, post-partisan politics to Washington for Obama to respond to these unfair attacks by pointing out that he inherited this mess from George W. Bush:

In his inaugural address, President Obama proclaimed “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
It hasn’t taken long for the recriminations to return — or for the Obama administration to begin talking about the unwelcome “inheritance” of its predecessor.

Over the past month, Obama has reminded the public at every turn that he is facing problems “inherited” from the Bush administration, using increasingly bracing language to describe the challenges his administration is up against. The “deepening economic crisis” that the president described six days after taking office became “a big mess” in remarks this month to graduating police cadets in Columbus, Ohio.

“By any measure,” he said during a March 4 event calling for government-contracting reform, “my administration has inherited a fiscal disaster.”
Obama’s more frequent and acid reminders that former president George W. Bush left behind a trillion-dollar budget deficit, a 14-month recession and a broken financial system have come at the same time Republicans have ramped up criticism that the current president’s policies are compounding the nation’s economic problems.

Obama had initially been content to leave partisan defense strategy to his proxies, but as the fiscal picture has continued to darken, he has appeared more willing to risk his image as a politician who is above petty partisanship to personally remind the public of Bush’s legacy.

First of all, how exactly did an opinion piece get onto the Washington Post‘s front page as if it were a news item?

Second, since when is it partisan or divisive to tell the truth?

The problem, if I’m reading the article right, isn’t that the president is saying anything untrue. Rather, we’re dealing with a dynamic in which one president hands off a catastrophe — several catastrophes, actually — to a successor, and the successor isn’t supposed to talk about it.

It seems that “the proper way to talk to Republicans who refuse to support anything he does and wish for his failure is to help them flush Bush down the memory hole.”

Obama would probably prefer not to spend his precious time and energy reminding us all who created this economic disaster and who found it waiting for him on his first day at the new job but, as Ron Chusid notes, the point this WaPo article misses is that “… repeated right wing attacks which attempt to place the blame on Obama for problems created under Republican rule …” have forced him to state the obvious.

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