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March 19, 2012

Forgetful Democrats

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

Democrats, most notably those closest to the president, claim a whole list of things that you cannot blame on Barack Obama.


First, they claim we can't blame rising gas prices on him. They blame our dependence on foreign oil, commodity speculation, and a lack of a comprehensive scientific commitment to alternative energy as the most likely culprits.


Next, they say that President Obama can't be held politically accountable for the deterioration of the Afghan conflict. Recent situations like the Quran burnings and the cold-blooded murder of innocent citizens by an apparently deranged U.S. solider are no doubt major sources of the angst and anger. Pundits suggest it isn't fair to lay that at the president's feet.


Same with the economy. Struggling along at a snail’s pace to recover from the Fall of ’08, we still see signs of hesitation from basic consumer choices to jittery investors.


Housing still not bouncing back? Don't blame President Obama. It's not his fault.


Who is this guy, the President of the United States – or an innocent bystander with a nice oval workspace?


Here's a painful reminder of how silly political pundits and insiders look to the rest of America. From 2000 to 2008, whenever anything nationally or internationally went wrong, who did the Democrats blame?


Here's a hint: he wore cowboy boots, had a Daddy in the same business, and might not have had the best grasp on elocution in the history of Washington, D.C.


They can't have it both ways, or at least they can't have it both ways and still retain any semblance of credibility.


Back in the Dark Ages (as MSNBC would have you believe the last decade was), if anything out of the ordinary occurred, it was blamed on George Bush.


·        9/11 – Bush's fault

·        Space Shuttle disaster – Bush's fault

·        New Orleans flood – Bush's fault

·        Slow reaction to the flood – Bush's fault

·        Western forest fires – Bush's fault

·        Iraq invasion and consequences – Bush's fault

·        Afghanistan political pushback – Bush's fault

·        Wall Street tumble in '08 – Bush's fault

·        Bank bailout – Bush's fault

·        $2 per gallon gas – Bush's fault.


Now, with the notable exception of a few items in the above list, almost everything on the list above was in some way George W. Bush's fault.


You see, that's the blessing and the curse of our constitutional republic. We elect a president to lead all the time, not just during the good times.


We aren't always fair about what we blame on the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, either. The point is that the assignment of responsibility is a function of the job, the downside to all of the trappings of power and privilege that balance the ledger.


The best example of this silliness is the gas price issue. President Bush was accused of letting his oil executive buddies drive up the retail price to fatten their wallets. Those villains and thieves stuck us with prices between $1.80 and $2 a gallon...imagine!


We'd all be happy with that outcome right now, as gas prices inch toward $4 a gallon nationwide, projected to hit $4.50 by mid-summer.


There is no more regressive or punitive economic consequence than high prices at the pump. Poorer people typically drive further than the wealthy. It's a fact.


So, President Obama had better gird himself and his inner circle for a rough summer and fall. Unless the economy makes a stunning recovery and gas prices take a nose dive, Mr. Obama has a wagonload of blame coming his way.


It may not come from the national news media, which will do its best to sing the heroic song of the nation's first African-American president, but it will come in the form of average American citizen-voters.


These people will vote in November, and those votes will reflect more accurately how much people think Barack Obama is responsible for their own predicament.


Short a miracle, he'd better start worrying.


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