Tuesday :: Jul 1, 2003

Bush Resumes Pathetic Lies Blaming Clinton For His Poor Economy

by Steve

Dana Milbank continues to earn his reputation as the Washington Post reporter the Bushies like least this morning. Milbank runs a story that basically points out several examples of Bush flat-out lying, in his recent comments on the economy (three years into his administration it is still Clinton’s fault), anti-sodomy laws, and the University of Michigan law school affirmative action case. But of course to apologists like the Times’ David Rosenbaum, Bush cannot be accused of lying if he actually believed what he was saying, even if he had been shown to be wrong.

With the start of his reelection campaign in the past two weeks, President Bush has revived his pastime of blaming his predecessor, Bill Clinton, for the economic recession.

"Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession," he told donors at a Bush-Cheney '04 reception yesterday in Miami. He has raised the same accusation in fundraising appearances since mid-June in Washington, Georgia, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It's a good applause line for a crowd of red-meat political supporters. The trouble is it's a case of what the president has called, in another context, revisionist history. The recession officially began in March of 2001 -- two months after Bush was sworn in -- according to the universally acknowledged arbiter of such things, the National Bureau of Economic Research. And the president, at other times, has said so himself.

The bad news came on Nov. 26, 2001. The NBER, led by an informal economic adviser to Bush, Martin Feldstein, pronounced that economic activity peaked in March 2001, "a determination that the expansion that began in March 1991 ended in March 2001 and a recession began."

At the time, Bush accepted the verdict with perfect accuracy. "This week, the official announcement came that our economy has been in recession since March," he said in his radio address the next weekend. "And unfortunately, to a lot of Americans, that news comes as no surprise. Many have lost jobs or seen their hours cut. Many have seen friends or family laid off. The long economic expansion that started 10 years ago, in 1991, began to slow last year. Many economists warned me when I took office that a recession was beginning, so we took quick action."

That quick action has led to three tax cuts that have done nothing to stop the loss of nearly three million jobs. Since Bush wanted to be seen as having taken “quick action” to spur the economy back into positive territory, which it did, the resulting sluggish and job-less performance of the economy is squarely his responsibility, as are the ballooning deficits that followed. Oh sure, he can claim 9/11, but even Bush isn’t claiming 9/11 as a reason any more. He is blaming it all on Clinton.

It does make it easy for any Democrat to follow Bush around the country and call him a liar on stuff like this, doesn’t it? But I doubt the New York Times would call Bush on his lies. They are too busy kissing the GOP’s ass since Howell Raines resigned.

What does it say about a man who is unable to accept responsibility for his own screw-ups? Can you think of one instance where Bush took responsibility for something that has not gone well since he got into office, or in Texas for that matter?

Tell Dana Milbank you appreciate his efforts to point out Bush’s lies. You can reach him at milbankd@washpost.com

Steve :: 6:22 AM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!