The Editors of the National Review wrote The Logo- Centrist, 6/16/12:


The telling fact is that the president apparently is unable to discern the difference between what is his fault and what is his responsibility. The 1980 recession and the legacy of stagflation were not Ronald Reagan’s fault, but they were his responsibility, and he dealt with them. The Third Reich was not Franklin Roosevelt’s fault, but his responsibility. Presidents Reagan and Roosevelt went into their reelections able to show the American people that they had dealt with their responsibilities. President Obama cannot say as much.

Presidents never inherit a clean slate, a fresh canvas whose content they get to solely and freely fill. Bush 43 inherited a flawed housing policy, the crash, a stock market damaged by corporate corruption (Enron, Tyco,  and WorldCom), and the flaws that led us to 9/11.  Regardless of the effectiveness of his responses, I do not recall him reveling in blame.

Obama has told us that financial collapses are more severe than others and it may take ten years to recover.  This reminds me of the frustration Carter expressed when he spoke of a “crisis of confidence” during his ‘malaise’ speech,  (he never actually used the word ‘malaise’.)  Carter, like Obama, seemed unable to face the failure of his polices in the face of the responsibility he inherited.  The reason such financial collapses have taken so long is that the government typically compounded the problem with poor solutions and policies.  FDR inherited a mess from Hoover, but made it worse by instituting policies that compounded the problem and lengthened the depression.

The coming election is not about who is at fault; it is about how well the President has lived up to his responsibility.