Obama Campaign Deceptively Tries To Shift Recession Blame from Bush to Romney
A popular Democratic talking point since 2008 was that President George W. Bush’s economic policies were to blame for the 2008 recession. The latest version of that point, which has been adopted by the Obama campaign, is that Mitt Romney wants to return us to the same policies that caused that downturn.
The problem with this talking point is that the individuals who use it, never seem to expand on which particular policies to which it applies. This is particularly unfair because most of Romney’s proposed economic policies are radically different than those pursued by Bush.
One possible reason for this is that the argument refers to the housing policies that many blame for the crisis. However, most fair commentators would acknowledge that that was hardly a Bush policy. In fact, Bush actively attempted to reform the main culprits, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but was thwarted by members of both parties in Congress.
The main economic policy that liberals often negatively define the Bush presidency with is the Bush tax cuts. However, this again doesn’t explain the new talking point relating to the recession. Those tax cuts occurred in 2001 and 2003. In fact, President Obama and a Democrat Congress extended those same cuts in 2010. Therefore, this has really become an Obama policy, while Romney has advocated for reforming and flattening the tax code.
There are obviously many economic policy differences between Obama and Romney and there are some similarities between Romney and Bush, but I have yet to see anyone identify which specific similarity led to the 2008 recession. Therefore, unless Democrats and the Obama campaign are willing to go on record and point to a specific policy they believe led to the downturn, this talking point is unfair and dishonest.
General attacks on opponents might make for good campaign material, but they don’t create good policy. If President Obama hopes to win another term, he needs to realize that false attacks on Romney’s policies aren’t going to fix his own record.