“Family Circus” is one of those old standby cartoons that, in its 50th year, still runs in 1,500 newspapers. While the cartoon view of home life sometimes serves as a morality tale, it’s also become a guide on how not to run a country – a guide our president knows all too well.
This week, the world watched as President Obama had to admit that George W. Bush wasn’t an idiot. Whether you supported Iraq Part II or not, Bush 43 helped win it. To say otherwise is just to deny history.
During his Iraq address, Obama had to give props to his predecessor. “It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one can doubt President Bush's support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security.” He even said the successful “surge in Iraq” was similar to the one in Afghanistan.
That’s right. The guy we were told was so super smart, gets to give a victory speech because he was outsmarted by the president we were told was so stupid. That comes on the heels of more than a year and a half of blame game from Obama.
It’s been the same with many of our nation’s ills. Every time anything goes wrong, Obama falls over himself pointing to Bush and saying “Not Me.” Readers of “Family Circus” are familiar with the “Not Me” theme. The character appears as a ghost nearby the misdeeds of the cartoon children as they claim no responsibility. It might as well appear on the White House website and in the newly redecorated Oval Office, too.
From Iraq and Afghanistan to the economy and unemployment, the president has taken the position that nothing bad is his responsibility. Forget that Obama opposed the surge that led to victory in Iraq and that he emulated that plan in his buildup in Afghanistan. Those wars are only his if he wins. Anything wrong belongs to Bush.
The same goes for the economy. Obama continues to blame Bush for our economic woes, leaving out the dot com disaster left behind by Clinton or that the Bush years were mostly a pretty good economy with very low unemployment.
Things began to turn bad when Democrats took Congress in 2006. The Democrat majority helped increase spending and raise the minimum wage. (Incidentally, unemployment has more than doubled since that law was signed.)
Yet they did no wrong according to Obama, who was part of that majority. But Obama held out his hand to conservatives and promised to be a bipartisan president. Almost immediately, however, he went on the attack.
Back on March 14, 2009, The Washington Post wrote: “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.”
Obama was at it again just recently, bashing the previous administration in July for “a decade of irresponsibility.” CBS News’s Chip Reid told viewers on Aug. 18, that strategy wasn’t working. “The president today again blamed the Bush administration for the recession but that argument doesn`t seem to be hurting Rob Portman, a top official in the Bush White House who's leading in his race for Ohio`s open Senate seat.”
A few days later, Obama was screaming “Not Me” again, amidst teleprompter problems. “It took nearly a decade to dig the hole that we're in,” he told the press. Hopefully, he was counting the time he’s been in office, because he’s been digging non-stop.
Just don’t expect the media to say that. The lefty voices in the old media still claim Obama is the economic savior to say the least. Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter told “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central that Obama “prevented another Great Depression.” He said the president led a “shovel brigade” – “the guys who sweep up after the elephants when the elephants leave their s**t.” CBS turned to liberal historian Douglas Brinkley who naturally compared Obama to FDR and Bush to Hoover.
Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman even pretended Obama wasn’t screaming “Not Me” at the top of his lungs. “Mr. Obama didn’t do what Ronald Reagan, who also faced a poor economy early in his administration, did — namely, shelter himself from criticism with a narrative that placed the blame on previous administrations."
It’s as if Krugman slept through the first year and a half of Obama. Would that we could all have managed that feat.
Most of the rest of us are forced to grasp that all presidents inherit both the good and the bad of their predecessors.
Yes, the federal budget was in the black when Bush took office. But Bush also inherited the collapse of the vaporware jobs of the dot com era. Yes, Obama inherited both budget troubles and a slowing economy. But sooner or later, he’s going to have to stop being a cartoon and come to terms with something that already scares so many of the rest of us – he's actually president of the United States.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently for the Fox Forum. Gainor can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.
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