People in the political world say that President Obama threw Secretary of State Clinton under the bus in an attempt to protect himself from political fallout from Libya.
I don’t follow those issues, so I can’t comment about the veracity of that charge, but I find it very interesting that some conservatives are urging Mitt Romney to throw former President George W. Bush under the bus.
More specifically, they’re urging him to condemn Bush’s statism and to attack Obama for continuing Bush’s failed policies.
Phil Kerpen of American Commitment nails the issue in a column for Fox News.
Romney’s biggest missed opportunity in the second debate wasn’t on Libya…he should have connected the dots between Obama and Bush to illustrate the accurate point that on the most significant dimensions of economic policy, Obama has accelerated Bush’s policy errors rather than reversing them. In the crucible of the 2008 financial crisis, President Bush famously remarked that “I chucked aside my free-market principles .” He was referring to TARP, his infamous big bank bailout. Obama supported the bill and voted for it. …On government spending, it’s the same story. Bush racked up one of the most disastrous records of out-of-control spending and debt the country had ever seen. Every aspect of the federal budget jumped under Bush. …Obama came in and continued spending recklessly. Bush’s $152 billion stimulus bill failed and so did Obama’s $821 billion stimulus bill. Bush flushed $25 billion in bailout funds to Chrysler and General Motors, and Obama added another $20 billion before finally recognizing that the companies would inevitably file for bankruptcy. All of the pre-bankruptcy bailout dollars were lost. …On the biggest economic policy questions, the Bush/Geithner/Bernanke approach is almost indistinguishable from the Obama/Geithner/Bernanke approach. It hasn’t worked. Obama’s failed policies of the present are all too similar to Bush’s failed policies of the past.
Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute made similar points in an article for the Weekly Standard.
Obama’s claim that Bush’s policies caused the recession resonates with American voters. Almost four years after George W. Bush left office, polls show the American people continue to blame him—more than Obama—for the recession that created today’s dismal economic conditions. Throughout the fall and in their debates, it’s a sure thing that Obama will continue to argue that Romney is just another George W. Bush. How can Romney respond? …Romney should not deny Bush’s error. Although Clinton began the process of forcing low mortgage underwriting standards, Bush continued and enhanced it. Instead, Romney should point out that the government should never have been in the housing finance business, and that he will eliminate Fannie and Freddie to restore a functioning housing market—something Obama has failed to do in almost four years.
But here’s where I disagree with Kerpen and Wallison, or at least where I would add a big caveat to their analysis. What makes them think that Romney would be any different that Bush or Obama?
This post highlights a few of Romney’s policies that would undermine free markets and expand the public sector.
If all one cares about is whether politicians have an “R” or a “D” after their names, then my concerns don’t matter.
But if you’re actually interested in making America a better place, then policy matters a lot.
I’ll close with a final point. I have no idea whether Romney is a closet statist or a closet Reaganite. All I’m saying is that, if Romney wins, people who value limited government and freedom should begin working on November 7 to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent Romney from becoming another RINO such as Bush or Nixon.