All presidential Administrations talk down their predecessors, both to lay blame for problems inherited and – it’s usually helpful if you have this part too – to show forward progress by contrast to what came before. But never in my lifetime have I seen a president so fixated on his predecessor as Barack Obama. Megan McArdle, who has been given more than enough reason by now to regret voting for the man, asks in the context of the massive expansion of the budget deficit when enough is enough:
[A]t some point, Obama has to take responsibility. Listening to his defenders reminds me of those people who sit around whining about how their Dad was really distant and critical . . . I mean, fine, you apparently had a rotten childhood, but Dad can’t get come and get you off the couch and find you a girlfriend and a better job. Girls and employers get really creeped out if they try.
Whatever George W. Bush did or did not do, he’s no longer in office, and doesn’t have the power to do a damn thing about the budget. Obama is the one who is president with the really humongous deficits. Deficits of the size Bush ran are basically sustainable indefinitely; deficits of the size that Obama is apparently planning to run, aren’t. If he doesn’t change those plans, he will be the one who led the government into fiscal crisis, even if changing them would be [sob!] politically difficult.