New York Times columnist Frank Rich would have rebelled against the notion that opposing President Bush’s policies was unpatriotic. But he can shamelessly declare that opposing Obama’s agenda is unpatriotic – even if you’re John McCain. Rich wrote on Sunday:
If [Harry] Reid can serve as the face of Democratic fecklessness in the Senate, then John McCain epitomizes the unpatriotic opposition. On Wednesday night he could be seen sneering when Obama pointed out that most of the debt vilified by Republicans happened on the watch of a Republican president and Congress that never paid for "two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program."
Rich wasn’t going to find it ridiculous that Obama was blaming Bush for an "expensive" Medicare entitlement that Democrats voted for and/or felt wasn’t expensive enough – just as Obama blames Bush for the deficit effects of TARP, which he voted for. Rich only found fault that Obama wasn’t tougher – and used Times economics columnist David Leonhardt for backup:
The president’s indictment could have been more lacerating. Crunching Congressional Budget Office numbers, David Leonhardt of The Times calculated that of the projected $2 trillion swing into the red between the Clinton surplus and 2012, some 33 percent could be attributed to Bush legislation and another 20 percent to Bush-initiated spending (Iraq, TARP) continued by Obama. Only 7 percent of the deficit could be credited to the Obama stimulus bill and 3 percent to his other initiatives. (The business cycle accounts for the other 37 percent.)
Leonhardt certainly did write that Obama was "responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying." But Rich left out the other major concept of Leonhardt’s analysis: "The second is that Mr. Obama does not have a realistic plan for eliminating the deficit, despite what his advisers have suggested."
[HT: Dan Gainor]