The GOP’s Misplaced Rage

August 16th, 2009

From Bruce Bartlett, a well-known conservative economist:

Where is the evidence that everything would be better if Republicans were in charge? Does anyone believe the economy would be growing faster or that unemployment would be lower today if John McCain had won the election? I know of no economist who holds that view. The economy is like an ocean liner that turns only very slowly. The gross domestic product and the level of employment would be pretty much the same today under any conceivable set of policies enacted since Barack Obama’s inauguration. …

I think conservative anger is misplaced. To a large extent, Obama is only cleaning up messes created by Bush. This is not to say Obama hasn’t made mistakes himself, but even they can be blamed on Bush insofar as Bush’s incompetence led to the election of a Democrat. If he had done half as good a job as most Republicans have talked themselves into believing he did, McCain would have won easily.

Bartlett continued:

Conservative protesters should remember that the recession, which led to so many of the policies they oppose, is almost entirely the result of Bush’s policies. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession began in December 2007-long before Obama was even nominated. And the previous recession ended in November 2001, so the current recession cannot be blamed on cyclical forces that Bush inherited.

Indeed, Bush’s responsibility for the recession is implicit in every conservative analysis of its origins. …

In my opinion, conservative activists, who seem to believe that the louder they shout the more correct their beliefs must be, are less angry about Obama’s policies than they are about having lost the White House in 2008. They are primarily Republican Party hacks trying to overturn the election results, not representatives of a true grassroots revolt against liberal policies. If that were the case they would have been out demonstrating against the Medicare drug benefit, the Sarbanes-Oxley bill, and all the pork-barrel spending that Bush refused to veto.

Until conservatives once again hold Republicans to the same standard they hold Democrats, they will have no credibility and deserve no respect. They can start building some by admitting to themselves that Bush caused many of the problems they are protesting.

The article is long, and Bartlett provides detailed justification for his assertions.  If you read it all, I think you’ll find it hard to disagree with him.

Frankly, I’m tired of all this hyper-partisan nonsense.  The country faces too many problems for it’s representatives in Congress to spend so much of their time yelling at each other and throwing around false charges.  And the President, who has the intellect and instincts necessary to do it, should get serious about trying to clear away the dirty, nasty fog of partisanship that pervades every nook and cranny of Washington.  That was one of his campaign promises, perhaps the most important, and he should try to live up to it.

Voters should call to account all politicians who are guilty of hyper-partisan mud-slinging.  Throw the rascals out and start over, I say.

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4 Responses to “The GOP’s Misplaced Rage”

  1. Brian Bagent |

    Amen. That’s why I quit voting for Republicans in 1998, with a few exceptions. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000 or 2004, and I didn’t vote for McCain last year. Apparently, most republicans think big government is ok, just like most democrats do, as long as it is their form of big government.

  2. Harvey |


    If Obama were only “cleaning up messes” left by Bush, our economic situation would be much less serious than it is right now. Obama’s method of problem solving, however, always involves adding layers of government when judicious solutions would work better.

    I’m not arguing that Bush did not screw up the economy (that’s what we get when we elect a Christian Conservative who moralizes when he should be thinking), and I’m certainly not implying that McCain could have done a much better job than Obama — they are philosophically just different degrees of Liberals.

    Party politics aside, any one who argues that Obama is on the right track or that his ‘more government’ approach to problem solving will do anything other than exacerbate the problems he inherited from Bush is being far too optimistic.

    Fortunately the rebellion is starting and fortunately our representatives in the legislature are paying attention to the Tea Parties and the angry citizens at town-hall meetings. If we have any hope of surviving an Obama administration it will be because Obama is also paying attention.

  3. Tom |

    I won’t argue that Obama doesn’t favor big government solutions and a collective approach to social organization. He’s a liberal, and there was never any mystery about that. The people elected a very inexperienced man with liberal ideas whose previous political experience was limited to operating within a big city political machine. He’s in no way representative of the country or the vast majority of people in it. And so what? We’ve done worse.

    Like Clinton before him, Obama seriously misunderstood the realities and limits of presidential power at the beginning of his term. Those limits are preventing him from getting the health care reform he wanted, and he’s very unlikely to get the energy (cap-and-trade) bill he wanted. The only reason he got the big stimulus bill in February was because the country was frightened and ready to do something — anything at all. Plus, the earlier stimulus bill at the end of the Bush Administration provided a good precedent. So, in reality, Obama has actually done very little, and I assume he’s smart enough to have learned from the experience of failure.

    Bush was a failed president, not just in regard to the economy but in many other ways. The jury is still out on Obama. The way I look at it, he’s the only president we have, and I want him to be successful. That doesn’t mean I want everything he wants; I just want a successful president who can lead and inspire the country. We’ll find out if he can do that.

  4. doris |

    Right on, I do agree with you and the article, Tom. Anyone inheriting that huge mess would take a long time to sort through and certainly not know by some crystal ball the future or the way to fix this. Plus, he can’t move without approval, and he’s not getting much of that. I just want him to learn and get our people out of Iraq, like he promised, that would be nice, and make healthcare affordable to all who want it, without the poor having to use hospitals for a doctor, that would be great. Time to stop all the stupid rumors of what the healthcare will be and tell us the whole truth. Bush got us into this mess, I sincerely hope Obama can help to get us out. Smart move, Brian, to have not voted for Bush, nor did I.

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