Once more into the breach

I have a conservative friend named Milo who posted a list of reasons that he doesn’t like Obama on Facebook, and because I hate my brain, I decided to respond here. It’s a fairly long post and I wish I could link to it, but he wrote it on Facebook, so unless you are friends with him, you wouldn’t be able to see it. I’ll ask him to throw it up on a site that can be linked.

Anyway, some of the points are fairly common conservative nonsense, like complaining about the amount of “czars” that Obama has “appointed.” Conservatives who complain about Obama’s czars never seem to bring up the number of czars under Reagan or either Bush, or indeed, where the term originated in American politics. But the bigger problem with the czar nonsense is that many of the so-called czars that conservatives list in their Obama-is-bad compilations are actually leadership posts that have existed for years and are confirmed by the Senate, which sort of negates the argument that they are extra-constitutional appointees with dictatorial powers. But I digress.

I’m not going to engage in a point-by-point rebuttal, because it would be a very long post and not very interesting, but I did want to respond to the the first grievance that Milo lists:

He refuses to take responsibility for the abysmal economy, preferring instead to blame his predecessor even now, toward the end of his first presidential term.

This is a very common complaint from conservatives about President Obama and there’s a good reason for it. They really really don’t want anyone to remember anything that happened while “his predecessor” was in office. In fact, they avoid saying the name of “his predecessor” because the immediate response of most Americans now when hearing the name of “his predecessor” is not conducive to Republican prospects in November.

Let’s just take a look at this graph one more time, shall we?

I know that conservatives want everyone to forget about who was president in 2008, but the depth of the crisis is absolutely relevant to any evaluation of President Obama’s record. Do you see the brown line in that graph above? That’s the line that measures the (first) employment downturn during “his predecessor’s” presidency. You can see how it took a long time to recover, almost 4 years. That downturn began in 2001 and didn’t fully recover until 2005, briefly, before starting to fall again in 2007 and then off the cliff in 2008.

If President Obama’s “predecessor” couldn’t solve a relatively shallow jobs downturn in less than 4 years, why should Obama be held solely responsible for the largest downturn since 1932, and which also started during the presidency of “his predecessor?”

This is one of those stubbornly stupid facts that I listed on Monday that conservatives refuse to acknowledge when making the case for Mitt Romney over President Obama. In Mitt Romney’s victory speech on Tuesday night, he perpetuated this idea that the President is wholly responsible for the current economic conditions, as if the economy was doing just great when he took over.

Those were the days of lofty promises made by a hopeful candidate. Today, we are faced with the disappointing record of a failed president. The last three years have held a lot of change, but they haven’t offered much hope.

The middle class has been crushed. Nearly 24 million of our fellow Americans are still out of work, struggling to find work, or have just stopped looking. The median income has dropped 10 percent in four years. Soldiers returning from the front lines are waiting in unemployment lines. Our debt is too high and our opportunities too few.

And of course the other fact that conservatives don’t like to acknowledge is that Mitt Romney’s plan for fixing the economy is to just repeat the same policies as President Obama’s “predecessor.”

When I hear conservatives like Milo complain that the president “refuses to take responsibility” for the economy, I am reminded of an interview that Joss Whedon gave. Whedon is the creator of such nerd favorites as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse, as well as the director of the upcoming Avengers movie. Whedon was asked about one of things he is most known for:

Reporter: Why do you always write strong female characters?
Whedon: Because you’re still asking me that question.

When I see Mitt Romney try to place all the responsibility for the current economic situation on President Obama, and when I see conservatives like Milo ask why the president feels it is necessary to remind people of the historic depth of the crisis when he took office from “his predecessor,” I think of that quote from Whedon.

If conservatives would like to stop being reminded of these stubborn, stupid facts, they should stop forgetting them.

Author: Wiesman

Husband, father, video game developer, liberal, and perpetual Underdog.

5 thoughts on “Once more into the breach”

  1. Well written, well done. Unfortunately, conservatives such as the one you are responding to don’t want to hear logic or truth. And to believe that the country is 50% filled with them? Geez.

  2. One assumption that comes with doing the whole (lazy) graphs and charts bit is that all things not represented on the chart are equal. (Here, I think, is the reasoning behind the line about “lies, damn lies, and statistics.”)

    For example, what do you mean by “solving”? America had steady job growth after the 2003 tax cuts — even your little graph (the accuracy of which I’m pretending at merely for the sake of argument; I normally give credence only to data presented by reputable, non-partisan organizations, not Democratic lawyers) partly bears this out (suspiciously yet idiomatically for a leftist, it shows only four years). Surely, a consistent improvement in the state of something represents a solution. Four years of growth beats four years of decline and stagnation by any measure.

    But this is really beside the point. The fact is, Bush did not blame Clinton, or even the Democrat-majority congress that came about in 2006 (which he reasonably could have done, since the vast majority of spending in his second term took place after that election), for what happened to the American economy during the bulk of his terms. Bush generally took responsibility for the state of the nation under his watch, as most presidents have done — after all, a president is expected to use his executive power to address problems, not to keep criticism at bay by playing the same blame card over and over again while he seeks to re-engineer the economy to some Euro-socialist standard (which has worked out REAL well for the Europeans, let me tell ya).

    I win again! +1 LIKE if you agree.

    1. Bush never blamed Clinton for the recession? Hmmm. Maybe that’s true if your definition of “never blamed Clinton” is “blamed Clinton all the time”. If not, then it is absolutely false, like many of the things you claim. Again, facts are stubborn.


      On September 18th, 2002, CNN’s John King announced, “That’s why the president, in almost every speech, tries to remind voters he inherited a recession.” Five days later, his colleague Suzanne Malveaux regurgitated the same line, reporting, “[Bush] took up that very issue earlier today, saying — reminding voters that the administration inherited the recession.”

      In 2002, he blamed Clinton for the recession.

      In 2004, for manufacturing job losses.

      In 2008, for the soaring deficit.

      Also, it’s kind of sad that you don’t know what a “normalized” chart means. As “his predecessor” would say, “Is our children learning?”

  3. What I wrote: “Bush did not blame Clinton… for what happened to the American economy during *the bulk* of his terms.”

    Meaning, although Clinton was culpable here and there and Bush rightly called him out on occasion, there was no general Obama-esque trend of repeatedly, over and over and over, ad infinitum ad nauseam ( http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2012/03/23/president-obamas-hall-blame/ — careful, it’s a looooong read! ), resorting to the inheritance fallback. (Even though Joe Biden has tried to be the adult: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20113398-503544.html)

    Once more into the PWNED.


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