What Bush inherited
Victor Davis Hanson (VHD to NRO regulars), gives a good reminder on what George Bush inherited:
George W. Bush inherited a recession. He also inherited the Iraq no-fly zones, a Middle East boiling after the failed last-minute Clintonian rush for an imposed peace, an intelligence community wedded to the notion of Saddam’s WMD proliferation, a Congress on record supporting “regime change” in Iraq, a WMD program in Libya, a Syrian occupation of Lebanon, Osama bin Laden enjoying free rein in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, a renegade Pakistan that had gone nuclear on Clinton’s watch with Dr. Khan in full export mode, and a pattern of appeasing radical Islam after its serial attacks (on the World Trade Center, the Khobar Towers, U.S. embassies, and the U.S.S. Cole).
In other words, Bush inherited the regular “stuff” that confronts most presidents when they take office. What is strange is that Obama has established a narrative that he, supposedly unlike any other president, inherited a mess.
At some point, Team Obama might have at least acknowledged that, by January 2009, Iraq was largely quiet; Libya was free of WMD; Syria was out of Lebanon; most of the al-Qaeda leadership had been attrited or was in hiding; a homeland-security protocol was in place to deal with domestic terror plots; European governments were mostly friendly to the U.S. (unlike during the Chirac-Schröder years); and the U.S. enjoyed good relations with one-third of the planet in China and India.
I’m not sure Syria is really out of Lebanon, but the overall point still stands. Obama seems to have some luxury on the foreign policy front to be an ass to our allies and a friend to our enemies, since the clear and present danger seems to have abated a bit, not that the previous guy will get any credit for that.
I also hate the idea of “inhertting” a bad economy. It always makes it sound like the guy before caused it. True, the stock market peaked in Clinton’s last year in office and true the economy really tanked in Bush’s last year, but I don’t think either can really be blamed for it. The Dot Com bust that occurred in Bush’s first year (and began in Clinton’s last) was utterly predictable since the Dot Com boom was a text book bubble market. Ditto the housing market of the 2000’s. The government can be more readily blamed for the current housing crisis. Still, the economy is a complex beast. Government can do very little to grow the economy, at least one as advanced as ours, other than lowering taxes and streamlining or rolling back regulations. The 80’s boom, the Dot Com boom, and, yes, the housing bubble were at least partially influenced by such changes. Government however is more likely to harm the economy (usually in the name of “helping” it) by increasing taxes and regulation. Obama/Pelosi/Reid seem to be trying every possible dose of the latter. Yet, we go into year two of Obama and they still want to blame Bush for the fact the economy hasn’t shown much inclination to substantially improve, even though not one of their policies of any significance would grow the economy.
But, continuing my theme of giving small golf claps to the Democrats for consistency, this totally jives with the modern Democratic party. They’ve been the party of victimhood for a solid 3-4 decades. That they’ve controlled the legislature for nearly three years and the White House for almost one and they are STILL blaming someone else (white guys from Texas, natch) just shows you how allergic to personal responsibility they are.