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Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'

 
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2009 09:47 AM
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Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
[link to www.msnbc.msn.com]

Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
President sheds former reluctance to fault predecessor for state of economy
By Scott Wilson
The Washington Post
updated 3:51 a.m. CT, Sat., March. 14, 2009
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.

His approval ratings remain strong — above 60 percent, according to the most recent Gallup poll — but have dropped from their highs almost entirely because of falling support among Republicans since he took office.

Special risks
Upon entering the White House in 2001, Bush pinned the lackluster economy on his predecessor, using the "Clinton recession" to successfully argue in favor of tax cuts that won some Democratic support. But for Obama, who built his candidacy on a promise to rise above Washington's divisive partisan traditions — winning over many independent voters and moderate Republicans in the process — blaming his predecessor holds special risks.

He will need support beyond his Democratic base as he begins lobbying for his $3.6 trillion budget, which proposes sweeping changes in health care, the energy sector and the public education system. The president did not receive a single House Republican vote for his stimulus plan, prompting some in his administration to view his bipartisan outreach efforts as having little hope of success.

And Republicans have seemed only more emboldened in their rhetoric. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), for example, recently called the borrowing needed to fund the president's economic recovery plans "generational theft."

"What the administration is involved in now is the politics of attribution," said Lawrence R. Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota. "Each week that goes by with falling job numbers and Republican criticism of the administration's flaws means falling approval ratings. What's the antidote? That the guilty party is George Bush."

"The trick," Jacobs said, "is how do you shift blame to George Bush and retain any credibility on the idea that you are looking past partisan warfare? This looks like a doubling down on a very partisan approach."


Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, denied that the president has changed his tone toward the previous administration. He said Obama is "not trying to place blame, but he is trying to say clearly: Here's what we've got and here's our way out of it. He's offered a positive alternative to their criticism."

"The truth is that 98 percent of his speeches are about the future, and 2 percent are about inheritance," Emanuel said. "Whereas I think for Republicans it's 2 percent about the future, and 98 percent hope that the people have amnesia."

Until recently, the job of reminding the country of the Bush-era legacy had been left mostly to senior administration officials, and it sometimes ranged beyond economic matters. Referring to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Vice President Biden said soon after the inauguration that "we're trying to figure out exactly what we've inherited here."

In early February, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that "after I accepted the position, I began looking at the broad array of problems that we were going to inherit," citing the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan in particular.

'Sharpened language'
But most of the Bush-era blame has focused on the economy and the dismal state of the government's finances. Bush's spokesman, Rob Saliterman, declined to comment for this article.

Obama has strengthened his rhetoric gradually. Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution, said the administration's "sharpened language is a response to the Republican argument against Obama based on huge deficits and big spending."

Six days after taking office, Obama kicked off an event on jobs, energy reform and climate change with "a few words about the deepening economic crisis that we've inherited." He lamented announced job cuts at such economic mainstays as Microsoft, Intel, Home Depot and Caterpillar, among others.

Just over a week later, Obama, arguing for his stimulus plan, said that "we've inherited a terrible mess," and a few days after that, in the economically depressed city of Elkhart, Ind., he told the audience, "We've inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the Great Depression."

During a prime-time news conference later that day, he used "inherited" twice in the same sentence to describe the deficit and "the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression."

This month, Obama has described inheriting "a fiscal disaster" and "a real mess," as administration officials emphasized that the effects of the stimulus package have yet to be seen in paychecks and job-creating public-works projects.

Vanishing jobs
"There's a fascinating behind-the-scenes trend taking place for someone who remains a very popular president," said Ari Fleischer, a former Bush press secretary, describing the decline in Obama's approval ratings and an increase in disapproval numbers. "His response to that trend is to turn up the blame on George Bush and everything that came before him. And he was the one who talked about getting past partisanship."

The economy continues to shed jobs — 651,000 in February alone — and the Dow Jones index is roughly 12 percent lower than when the market opened on the day of Obama's inauguration. Perhaps most damaging has been the uncertainty surrounding Obama's strategy to rescue the banking sector, a plan that has been criticized for lacking detail.

Host Chris Wallace asked on "Fox News Sunday" this month, "Can this now fairly be called the Obama bear market?"

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) said, "I want to take the president at his word that he wants to work on these problems plaguing American families," adding that "people are looking for leadership."

"It is the Obama economy and the Obama stock market," Cantor said. "This is about today, and he's assumed his post."
Douggie

User ID: 631275
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03/14/2009 09:51 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
cant argue with the truth...well I guess ya can but most will see through it.

Any idiot knows that things were majorly fucked when he got into office....so, what, hes supposed to snap his fingers and have everything fixed in days?
It took Bush 8 years to get it this way. Their is no easy fix.
They have the power to create reality

I could explain it better but I would need charts, graphs and an easel.

By the way....which ones pink?
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2009 09:53 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
Well Obama sure as hell did not create this mess in a month now did he.
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2009 09:57 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
And four years later,when the economy is STILL in a mess, the democrats will propagandize the public with "Well, it took more than four years to get us INTO this mess, so it will take more than four years to get us OUT of this mess", thereby absolving Obama and themselves once again from any responsibility for creating this crisis.

The truth is that the democrats are HUGELY CULPABLE in the creation of the financial derivative and subprime meltdown via their repeal of the protective Glass-Steagall Act during Clinton's tenure.So they are either corrupt to the bone, or stupid beyond measure...take your choice!
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2009 10:01 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
The Republicans have to shoulder the lion's share of the blame. Ever since Reagan came to office, their agenda has been to create a fascist christian state. It culminated with Bush, and yes, he has been decidedly the very worst of the worst. He (his administration and the Republican legislature) must bear the majority of blame for the economy the way it stands now. Having said all that, the whimpy Dems also have to take some of the blame. They allowed and even enabled if not joined with the Rethugs to bring this nation to it's knees. Remember always, when you get past the drama, THEY BOTH WORK for the same side ultimately.

I don't particularly care for Obama, but don't blame him for pointing out the truth.
Shaun

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03/14/2009 10:02 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
shills new strategy is to spin the blame to Obama


watch


and


LOL
~we(me,kalindi,nimai and our unborn) need some help.
[link to blogs.myspace.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 567623
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03/14/2009 10:05 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
You Republicans are so friggin stupid...Obama didn't create the mess so, let's see...who came before Obama...um, Bush, Jr! He came before Obama...Duh!!
ANNONYMOUS
User ID: 546346
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03/14/2009 10:07 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
5a

Nothing new here those of us with any intellect have been doing this for the last TWO YEARS!
That Bastard!
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03/14/2009 10:49 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
Obama is a politian and he will say whatever he thinks will help him politically. There is no basis of ethics or honesty behind his rhetoric.

.
Anonymous Coward
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France
03/14/2009 11:05 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
This is right, he's not responsible for this mess

but has now to "clean up".
Normal Is Subjective

User ID: 634789
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03/14/2009 11:57 AM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
And that's just Bush 41.
I thought I'd beat the inevitibility of death to death just a little bit.
flybyshoeing
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03/14/2009 12:08 PM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
And four years later,when the economy is STILL in a mess, the democrats will propagandize the public with "Well, it took more than four years to get us INTO this mess, so it will take more than four years to get us OUT of this mess", thereby absolving Obama and themselves once again from any responsibility for creating this crisis.

The truth is that the democrats are HUGELY CULPABLE in the creation of the financial derivative and subprime meltdown via their repeal of the protective Glass-Steagall Act during Clinton's tenure.So they are either corrupt to the bone, or stupid beyond measure...take your choice!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 338377


Only 1 Democratic Senator voted yes for Gramm-Bliley Act, which basically killed what remained of Glass-Steagall. Gramm-Bliley was attached to a spending bill that was veto proof. Gramm was also responsible for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000 which had the "Enron Loophole". Gramm's wife was on the board of Enron when it collapsed. He is the major player in this mess.

The cause of the sub-prime mess was not Democrats or Republicans, it was lax regulation. All the bankers and even Alan Greenspan admitted this in Congressional hearings.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 551149
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03/14/2009 12:11 PM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
Yeah Obama should have fixed Bush's last 8 years in under two months. That should be an easy task...
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2009 12:20 PM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
Yeah Obama should have fixed Bush's last 8 years in under two months. That should be an easy task...
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 551149


Don't you know, this man says so:

Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2009 12:22 PM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
obummer and his acorn did create this mess along with barney and his fanny.
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2009 12:25 PM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
obummer and his acorn did create this mess along with barney and his fanny.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 634781


Aren't you in the same group of people who were clamoring that Obama was just a Junior Senator with no experience, that had done nothing in the Senate. But it's his fault...
emerald_glow

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03/14/2009 12:55 PM

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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
* (1 star)
Emerald_Glow
Anonymous Coward
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03/14/2009 01:12 PM
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Re: Obama's new strategy: Blaming Bush for 'mess'
obummer and his acorn did create this mess along with barney and his fanny.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 634781



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