Blaming Bush Retains Its Efficacy


Former Congressman Rob Portman is running for Senate in Ohio. Previously, he was George W. Bush’s OMB chief and his US Trade Representatives. Since everyone hates Bush, linking Portman to Bush seems like a natural strategy. But Chris Cillizza appears to have some doubts that these kind of old news attacks will resonate. And I assume that at some point the situation will change and Cillizza will be right. But for now, I think the evidence suggests that people still have sour memories of the Bush years. Consider this from Rasmussen:

President Obama contends he inherited the nation’s ongoing economic problems and that his actions since taking office are not to blame. Sixty-two percent (62%) of U.S. voters agree with the president that the problems are due to the recession that began under the Bush administration. Just 27% of voters say the problems are being caused more by the policies Obama has put in place since taking office, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Ten percent (10%) are not sure which president is more to blame.

Given that the economic situation is extremely bad—much worse than it was at any point while Bush was actually in office—keeping this argument in front of people seems like an absolutely critical piece of context. Even once the economy starts to turn around, the unemployment rate will continue to be at a bad level for a very long time even if the trend is in the right direction. It’ll be important to keep reminding people that a whole terrible sequence of events was basically baked into the cake as soon as the Bush-era bubble burst.