Monthly Archives: March 2009

Stop Making Blame Partisan

I’m really bored of hearing Fox News and Karl Rove try to mitigate blame away from Republicans after Obama’s State of the Nation Address.

From the Fox News “Fact Check”:

OBAMA: “Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.”

THE FACTS: This may be so, but it isn’t only Republicans who pushed for deregulation of the financial industries. The Clinton administration championed an easing of banking regulations, including legislation that ended the barrier between regular banks and Wall Street banks. That led to a deregulation that kept regular banks under tight federal regulation but extended lax regulation of Wall Street banks. Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, later an economic adviser to candidate Obama, was in the forefront in pushing for this deregulation.

Emphasis mine.

Obama didn’t mention the Republicans in that particular excerpt, and the author’s defensiveness seems misplaced. But Obama does frequently make implications about who is to blame for the mess he “inherited”, and about whose beliefs we are “rejecteing”.

In his piece, Karl Rove  picks up on Obama’s implied accusations, repeatedly questioning who exactly the President is blaming.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Obama told Congress and the nation, “I reject the view that . . . says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity.” Who exactly has that view? Certainly not congressional Republicans, who believe that through reasonable tax cuts, fiscal restraint, and prudent monetary policies government contributes to prosperity.

Rove is nit-picking the term “no role” here, and I understand that it’s a bit of an overstatement, but Republicans created this image for themselves.  Republicans push back on many federal fixes proposed by Democrats, and now they’re complaining about being type-cast. Yes, I believe that (in general) the GOP wants government to be all but absent from fixing society’s woes (“When my house is burning down, I want the market to decide whether the fire department should come save me”), but I have this belief because I listen to Republicans. Barack Obama does not need to plant these ideas in my head because I listen to people like Mr. Rove pushing them all the time.

But beyond that, over his entire speech, each time he did mention “Republicans” it was tightly coupled with the word  “Democrats”.  Obama is giving Republicans the opportunity to take part in what’s going to happen in his first term.  I think over the next four years we’ll see that the smart ones will take him up on it.

Rove story via The Heretik on Shakesville.


Posted by on March 1, 2009 in Current Events


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