August 4, 2010

It was pretty amusing watching Karl Rove and Neil Cavuto yesterday talking at length on Cavuto's Fox show about how Democratic senators played a key role in the passage of the Bush tax cuts back in 2001 without bothering to point out the obvious -- and stark -- contrast with their Republican counterparts in 2009.

They were trying to build a case for Democrats to support continuing the Bush tax cuts, but all they really did was remind everyone exactly why Democrats have no reason to play ball with these a-holes any longer: they will never compromise and work together with President Obama and Democrats to pass anything, and never will. Immigration reform is not going to be any different than health care was.

Along the way, Rove made this amusing claim:

Rove: Look, one of the reasons, one of the reasons President Bush never went out and blamed his predecessor -- first of all, it's not his style -- but also, he felt that that would simply poison the political atmosphere. And that's what the American people want. They want the president to muscle, to take responsibility for what's happening on their watch, and not spend all their time castigating their predecessor.

No one makes you want to emit low mordant chuckles quite like Lyin' Karl. Jon Perr has the actual record:

While the NEBR determined the George W. Bush's first recession actually began in March 2001, the history of U.S. GDP shows that the traditional definition of recession - two straight quarters of GDP decline - was never met during either the last year of the Clinton presidency or the first of Bush's tenure:

Undeterred, the Republican Party and its echo chamber have for years continued to perpetuate the myth that President Bush "inherited a recession" from Bill Clinton. As Media Matters detailed, the sound bite was introduced before George W, Bush even took the oath of office. On December 3, 2000, Dick Cheney told Tim Russert "I think so" when asked if "we're on the front edge of a recession." Within days, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich ("the Bush-Cheney administration should be planning on having inherited a recession as the farewell gift from Clinton") and House Majority Leader Dick Armey ("this new president may inherit a recession") followed suit. By August 2002, Mitch Daniels, Bush's head of the Office of Management and Budget, announced on Fox News:

"He [Bush] inherited that recession from the previous administration. Case is closed."

Predictably, the drumbeat from the Bush team was reproduced with zero distortion from the always reliable media. While Fox News' Sean Hannity made the argument during the November 2002 mid-term election "this president -- you know and I know and everybody knows -- inherited a recession," CNN made the case for him two months earlier. 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."

Bush was still blaming Clinton for his own economic malfeasance as late as 2004.

Indeed, as we pointed out previously, Bush loooved to blame Bill Clinton for just about everything:

In 2002, he blamed Clinton for the recession.

Also in 2002, for the mess in the Middle East.

In 2004, for manufacturing job losses.

Also in 2004, for a shortage of flu vaccine.

In 2005, for "running from terrorists" and generally causing 9/11.

In 2006, for Bush's own failures in containing North Korea.

In 2008, for the soaring deficit.

Oh well. Rove knows full well that he can go on Fox, blatantly lie, and no one will call him on it.

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