Sunday, December 05, 2010

Who's to Blame, the GOP's Dilemma

While reviewing some video of a recent debate I engaged in with a GOP operative, I noticed an interesting exchange. When I mentioned President Bush's culpability for the economic crisis, my right wing adversary made the statement "isn't it time we stopped blaming Bush for everything." A somewhat modified version of this statement is quite popular in the mainstream media. The premise seems to be that after an unspecified amount of time, the argument that George W. Bush is responsible for the current financial crisis should be abandoned. This has been particularly effective when used during discussions concerning the current unemployment numbers.

The argument that there is some kind of amorphous statute of limitations for President Obama's predecessor is remarkably flawed. This would be problematic for those using that argument if it were ever challenged. Unfortunately, the mainstream pundits are too busy discussing this lunacy to question its validity. In order for this ridiculous concept to hold, either one of two lines of reasoning must be used. Their position must be that either "Obama caused it," or "Obama hasn't fixed it."

The first argument would be that the current unemployment numbers are the direct result of President Obama's policies. The obvious problem with this "he caused it" assertion is the actual numbers. The dramatic leaching of American jobs started well before Barack Obama took office. In each of the four months prior to President Obama's inauguration, this country lost over 500,000 jobs. Twelve months after President Obama's inauguration, the job losses had stopped and there was a net gain of jobs for the first month of 2010.

This smoothly transitions us to the second line of reasoning, that President Obama hasn't both stopped the job loss and regained enough jobs to lower the unemployment rate to an acceptable level, or the "he hasn't fixed it" argument. This is an argument that does nothing to benefit the GOP. If that is their assertion, it naturally contradicts the claims that President Obama is responsible for the jobless numbers and that we should absolve President Bush of responsibility for the entire mess. The "problem" when President Obama took office was the dramatic leaching of jobs, not the unemployment rate. The latter was a clearly result of the former. That being the case, the numbers demonstrate that he was very successful in stopping the problem he inherited.

The Republicans are masters of distorting and controlling the public debate. Unfortunately, what they are really bad governing the country.