Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush hoped to use his Republican National Convention appearance to rehabilitate his brother's shattered reputation. After claiming on Sunday that it was "unbecoming" for Barack Obama to continue to "blame others" for the economic calamity he inherited from George W. Bush, on Thursday Jeb suggested the President should be "spanked" for pointing the finger at Dubya.
Now, there are only a few problems with this approach, not the least of which is that most Americans agree with Obama. In 2004, then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney defended President Bush from John Kerry by protesting that "The people of America recognize that the slowdown in jobs that occurred during the early years of the Bush administration were the result of a perfect storm." Worse still, even now Team Mitt whines that "Governor Romney inherited an economy that was losing jobs each month" back in the Bay State. As it turns out, President George W. Bush and his acolytes have never stopped blaming Bill Clinton for the GOP's lost decade.
Jeb's brother made that point during his final press conference on January 12, 2009. During a month in which Americans would only later learn that the U.S. economy shed a staggering 820,000 jobs, President Bush passed the buck forwards--and backwards:
"In terms of the economy, look, I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession. In the meantime there were 52 months of uninterrupted job growth. And I defended tax cuts when I campaigned, I helped implement tax cuts when I was President, and I will defend them after my presidency as the right course of action. And there's a fundamental philosophical debate about tax cuts. Who best can spend your money, the government or you? And I have always sided with the people on that issue."
But while that fundamental philosophical question is still the subject of heated debate, the facts should not be.