Bequeathing to the American people the worst economic crisis in generations upon leaving office, President Bush continued to blame his predecessor for his failures as he was walking out the door. He blithely ignored the inconvenient fact that he was president for the past eight years. Bush said: "I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so" before he became president.
In 2004, in a speech in Colmar, PA, Bush blamed the Clinton administration for the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs. Even four years after occupying the Oval Office, Bush was still blaming Clinton for every economic woe.
Bush blamed Clinton for 9/11 because he failed to kill Osama bin Laden. Again, Bush ignored the fact that after eight years he did not kill the target he blamed Clinton for missing.
These accusations of course are incredulous, stretching the outer limits of rationality. One could even perhaps view these ideas as insane. Bush's delusional inability to accept responsibility is one of his ugliest legacies. But that is not the big story, as big a story as that is.
No, what exceeds even the outrageous irresponsibility of Bush's blame shifting is the recent suggestion by Republicans and right wing pundits that the time has come for Obama to take responsibility for our economic problems.
Obama has been in office for less than two months, but leading right wing voices are demanding that Obama step up and accept responsibility for the slide in the stock market and continued declines in the banking and insurance industries. Bush handed Obama the worst deficit and debt in history, a collapsing financial sector, a deepening recession and exploding unemployment, for which he blamed Clinton. And now after six weeks on the job, Obama is the culprit, leaving Bush clear of any culpability.
Clinton gets no credit for his eight years of economic prosperity, Bush gets a pass on creating the worst crisis in generations, and Obama is to blame for everything. Is there something wrong with that story line?
The lead fairy-tale on Fox News on January 26: "The Democrats' Economic Plan is to Blame Republicans for Everything." The truly bizarre implication is that somehow that blame is not warranted. After Bush blamed everything on Clinton for eight years, the audacity of that story is beyond description. Truly breathtaking.
The Republican attempt to blame Obama for Bush's failures is a new historic low. That is like the Vatican blaming Galileo for abuses of the Inquisition. That is like being pushed off a cliff and then being blamed for not solving the problem of flight before hitting the ground. The idea is offensively absurd at every level.
The Republicans have lost their already tenuous grip on reality. They have lost the concept of shame. They have lost all pride, for nobody with any self respect could blame Obama for Bush's eight years of mismanagement. No wonder Rush Limbaugh has become the voice of the Republican Party. The patients have taken control of the Republican Asylum.