Public Mostly Blame George W Bush For The Economy, Bailing Obama Out Politically

One gripe I hear fairly often around DC is the idea that President Obama has failed to do an adequate job of reminding the public about the disastrous legacy of the George W Bush administration. The latest NBC/WSJ poll showing resilience of Obama’s political standing in the face of a bleak national mood suggests that this isn’t really the case and the public still puts lots of blame on Bush:

A third reason is that the American public isn’t blaming Obama for the current economy, with more than six in 10 respondents still saying he inherited the country’s economic problems from his Oval Office predecessor. Also, while a combined 47 percent believe George W. Bush and his administration are “solely responsible” or “mainly responsible” for the current economy, just 34 percent in the poll say the same of Obama and his administration

But that doesn’t mean the public is satisfied with the president’s economic performance. Just 41 percent approve of his handling of the economy, versus 50 percent who approve of his handling of foreign policy and 54 percent who approve of his handling of the war in Afghanistan..

This, incidentally, is why I think the conservative intellectuals who spent much of this year pining for Mitch Daniels were making a huge mistake. Running against the Bush legacy is clearly a winning strategy at a time when Obama can’t credibly claim to have delivered mass prosperity. Being able to literally run against a Bush administration senior economic policymaker would make that strategy much more viable than if Obama has to run against without direct ties.