Election 2012: Whoever wins the blame game over the weak recovery wins the election. The record shows that President Obama is most at fault. But shockingly, most Americans don't see it that way.
A new IBD/TIPP poll shows fully three-fourths of Americans continue to blame President Bush and Republicans for today's poor economy.
While such attitudes are shocking, we believe they haven't yet caught up with the facts, and merely reflect the prevailing White House and media spin.
On Friday, for example, Obama faulted GOP leaders on the Hill, arguing they've blocked his pro-union jobs plan "simply because it's an election year."
His surrogates have parroted the line in the media. On ABC's "This Week" show on Sunday, former Obama aide Van Jones suggested Republicans are actually rooting for Obama and the unemployed to fail.
"Obama's a lifeguard trying to help people drowning," while "these guys are sitting back on a rock hoping more people drown," said Jones, an avowed socialist.
Democrat operative Ed Rendell chimed in: "They're cutting police and ending safety on the streets."
MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews read from the same talking points in a June 4 broadcast.
"Republicans in Congress put up their wall to action," he said. "They don't want Obama to succeed so they're giving him nothing that he could call success."
Repeating the theme, a "congressional expert" appeared on one of the network's morning shows the day before to scold Republicans for "obstructionism."
Thomas Mann of the liberal Brookings Institution claimed the fault lies entirely with the GOP.
"It's entirely a matter of what the Republican Party is doing, because they are the ones that have become much more committed to all-out opposition," he said.
"Obama's election was the occasion for an explicit statement from Republicans: We are in this to defeat Barack Obama. We have no interest in passing" his economic agenda.
Reality check: Obama got his entire domestic agenda passed through Congress in his first two years in office.
It included a massive $1 trillion stimulus package, a $1.8 trillion health-reform bill and the biggest regulatory overhaul of the financial sector since the New Deal.
Almost everything he wanted was delivered to him on a silver platter by a Democratic-controlled Congress.
Only, the stimulus bill did not stimulate the economy as forecast, though it did explode the deficit. Infrastructure spending for bridges and other construction projects went instead to public-sector unions.
He wasted $3.5 billion in taxpayer money on a bullet train to nowhere. The California project is a complete boondoggle. Even Obama admitted that his "shovel-ready jobs" never materialized.
And instead of helping, ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank Act only worsened the crisis.
Now even Democrats are blocking his nostrums.
Not a single member of Congress voted for Obama's last two budgets. This is a stunning repudiation of his leadership.
Great leaders rise above demagoguery during national crises. They put aside rigid ideology to find solutions that work, especially when that ideology by all objective measures has proved bankrupt.
This president, in contrast, resorts to taking political pot shots. And he refuses to take responsibility for his failures — even when he falls short of his own accountability standards.
In a February 2009 interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, a cocky Obama pledged he'd have the economy turned around well before the end of his first term. "If I don't have this done in three years," Obama pledged, "then there's gonna be a one-term proposition."
It's now been more than three years, and the economy is still a basket case.
It's painfully obvious his plan didn't work. And more of the same won't work any better.
Obama had his shot, and blew it. Like he said, he doesn't deserve a second chance.