It's All Republicans' FaultBy Derrick Wilburn
Even now, nearly a year into his second term, both the president and seemingly millions of his supporters are bent on blaming George W. Bush and "the Republicans" for the nation's ills. And now with the Affordable Care Act's provisions kicking in, the federal government partially shut down due to a budget impasse and the feds just days away from once again maxing their credit card -- the (to the right) finger pointing is once again a favorite pastime of the President, Harry Reid and pretty much every Democrat within shouting distance of a microphone.
As someone who spends a great deal of time on social media, I seem to be perpetually engaged in an endless debate over who's to blame for our economy's lack luster performance, the ever-growing mountain of federal debt, America's demotion to laughing-stock status internationally, the general combative attitude that exists between various factions of society, be it wealthy/poor, white/black, conservative/progressive, even the current government shutdown. The blame game never ends.
During his primetime speech to at last year's Democratic National Convention, former president Bill Clinton's strongest applause line was, "He [Obama] inherited a deeply damaged economy, ...No president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage he [Obama] found in just four years." Short translation? "It's all George Bush's fault." It brought the house down.
The U.S. fiscal situation is not particularly strong. Despite his promises to bring real hope and change to our economy, at the beginning of his second term unemployment remains persistently high, U.S. indebtedness is at an all-time high, real-median household income has declined, numbers of people on some form of welfare or government assistance are at an all-time high, household budgets are under strain due to persistently high energy costs, and there's no shortage of other not-so-good news as it relates to our fiscal and economic health -- without even going into the more subjective moral issues, or the global meltdown and our complete lack of a coherent international affairs policy or strategy.
For the first time ever, the United States federal government has racked up trillion dollar plus annual deficits for four consecutive years. And while any tenth grader knows you cannot run a hotdog stand without a budget, this administration has failed to submit and get a budget approved for four years. So outlandish have been this president's budgeting ideas that several of his budget proposals failed to gain even a single Democratic vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
President Obama used the word "inherited" constantly throughout his first term, including his annual State of the Union addresses -- a not-so-subtle way of saying "George W. Bush created all of our problems." To his credit the strategy has and apparently is working. At least with his liberal base.
But facts are stubborn things and the voices that attempt to pin everything on Republicans are clearly in need of a brief contemporary history lesson. The facts are George W. Bush oversaw a pretty robust economy, particularly astonishing when taking into account the fact he hadn't completed a year in office before America was hit with the worst act of war ever perpetrated on U.S. soil.
Debunking these claims and communicating the truth that all of our ills -- economic and otherwise -- cannot be successfully pinned on conservatives is another communications task that Republicans must master in the next fourteen months. Because the narrative's legs are finally getting tired and because it's simply not true. In order to correct the short-sightedness of oh-so-many who insist that Republicans are responsible for virtually all challenges we, as a nation, find ourselves facing, a little walk down memory lane is necessary.
November 2006 mid-term elections
A war-weary nation, tired of seeing the Iraq body bag count on the nightly news (which, strangely enough, seems to have stopped a few years ago), sent a rebuke to the Republican Party and handed resounding victories to the Democrats in the mid-term elections of George W. Bush's second term.
January 2007 congressional swearing in
New legislators are sworn in. Democrats take majorities in both Houses of Congress. Harry Reid (D-NV) sworn in as Senate Majority Leader. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sworn in as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
November 2008 general election
Senators Barack Obama from Illinois and Joe Biden of Delaware win the Presidential election by defeating Senator John McCain of Arizona and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. The Democrats also extend their advantages in both Houses of Congress to assume "super-majority" status in both houses -- meaning they are capable of passing legislation into law with no Republican votes.
January 2009 presidential/vice-presidential and congressional swearing in
Barack Obama sworn into office. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi maintain their leadership status in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, respectively. The Democrats can and do now pass any and all legislation they desire. Their majority is unbreakable and filibuster-proof. The Republicans cannot stop or even significantly slow down any legislation or judicial appointments. As evidence, Congress upheld the nomination to the highest court in the land of a woman without a single day's experience as a judge. Hadn't served as a judge at any level in her life, ever. The wildly unpopular "Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act" passes both Houses of congress and is signed into law without a single Republican vote. The bill even saw 34 "nay" votes from House Democrats but still passed.
November 2010 mid-term elections
Mid-term election of his first term as President sees the American people revolt over a government they believe is governing against their will. They hand control of the House of Representatives back to the Republican Party and give Republicans seats in the Senate, but not enough to assume control of it.
January 2011 congressional swearing-in
John Boehner (R-OH) sworn in as new Speaker of the House of Representatives. Harry Reid retains his Majority Leadership status in the senate.
November 2012 general election
Barack Obama and Joe Biden win their second term in office by defeating former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Congressional Representative from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan. The Democrats pick up two seats in the Senate to extend their majority in that body and add eight seats in the House of Representatives, further eating into the republican majority.
January 2013 presidential/vice-presidential and congressional swearing-in
New officials are sworn in, Obama returns to the Oval Office, Harry Reid and Jim Boehner retain their leadership positions over the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.
Thus in a final analysis of the three bodies necessary to enact law and responsible for the governance of our land -- Oval Office, Senate, House of Representatives -- Democrats have controlled: 3 out of 3 for two of the last five years (2009, 10.) Democrats have controlled 2 out of 3 for five of the last seven years (2007, 08, 11, 12, 13.) Republicans have been in control of just 1 of the 3 bodies (House of Representatives) for a total of less than 3 years (2011, 12, 13). That's it. They've had the U.S. House of Representatives since January 2011.
To the extent we are seeing fiscal, economic, domestic and foreign policy struggles, it's by-and-large the Democratic Party's policies that are failures. We are living right now with the result of the policy agenda, or lack thereof, set forth by the Democratic Party for the past seven years and a half years. Republicans have held the House and have been able to exert some influence, but anyone who is not pleased with the results we're getting needs to clam up with the "it's George Bush and the Republicans' fault" angle and live in reality because in so saying they're doing little more than placing their own ignorance on display.
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