Axelrod: 'Who's blaming Bush?'
This is fascinating to watch if you're student of politics.
Blaming your predecessor for the mess you're in is a time honored presidential prerogative going back to Thomas Jefferson. But the Obama administration has made it a Gregorian Chant - - a mantra to be repeated over and over, ad infinitum - to the point that many analysts believe the president is running out of time and that soon, the public won't buy it.
David Axelrod claims innocence:
David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's senior adviser, said the White House was not trying to shift blame with its frequent invocation of the "inheritance" it had from Mr. Bush, but to seek public patience for policies that may require months and in some cases years to pay dividends.
"Whatever problems he inherited walking in the door, they're his responsibility now," Mr. Axelrod said. "Nobody's trying to duck responsibility or make excuses for them. But it is important at times to put it into perspective, not to fix blame but to underscore that some of these problems are complex and they're going to take time to solve."
That quote is from a piece by Peter Baker in the New York Times . And Baker starts out this piece on presidential responsibility with this from Obama:
The financial crisis this administration inherited is still creating painful challenges for businesses and families alike," Mr. Obama said this week as he proposed spending limits. "We inherited a financial crisis unlike any that we've seen in our time," he said last week as he thrust General Motors into bankruptcy.
His advisers and allies follow the same script. "The Obama administration inherited a situation at Guantánamo that was intolerable," James L. Jones, the national security adviser, said of the military prison in Cuba. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the Obama foreign policy in the same vein. "We inherited a lot of problems," she said.
Republican politico and former Bush aide Ed Gillespie:
"I think they've got till summer" until these issues become fully vested with Mr. Obama, said Ed Gillespie, a former White House counselor to Mr. Bush. "But the novelty's already starting to wear off."
All of this may be true - except for one factor that Axelrod is fully aware of and knows that he can feign innocence while his client keeps bashing Bush for what ails the nation.
As long as the national press is emotionally invested in seeing Barack Obama succeed, this will be Bush's economy and Bush's fault. It really is that simple and nothing the GOP or alternative media say will alter the fact that the vast majority of the nation's media outlets are in the tank for Obama.
Eventually, if things really go south - if inflation kicks up and stifles the recovery and cumulative debt causes another worldwide financial crisis - the national press will be faced with the choice of placing the blame where it belongs or risk the last of their credibility and continue putting the Bush administration in the role of villain.
My guess is they will try to continue blaming Bush until Obama is re-elected in 2012 and then turn on him. By then, it will be too late.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky