Well into his second year in the White House, President Obama would seem to be past the expiration date on getting away with blaming the Bush administration for the nation’s current economic troubles.
But in his radio-Internet address Saturday, he did just that – at least indirectly. And in a sure sign that any bipartisanship is long since dead, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R) of Ohio fired back Saturday morning with a partisan blast of his own.
Laying out his administration’s policies and programs, Obama insisted that “we are moving forward.” And taking a dig at GOP proposals, he added, “What we can’t afford right now is to go back to the same ideas that created this mess in the first place.”
It was the second week in a row that Obama went after GOP lawmakers. Last week, it was for “stalling tactics” to avoid an up-or-down vote on unemployment insurance and other proposals to boost the economy.
Earlier this month, Boehner and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor sent Obama a letter in which they reiterated the GOP’s “no cost jobs plan” first detailed last December, which focuses on business taxes and regulation.
Although the tone of Boehner’s and Cantor’s letter was polite and they said “Republicans stand ready to work with you and your administration,” Obama is having none of it – particularly the push to keep the Bush tax cuts in place and repeal health insurance reform. Boehner also has endorsed a one-year moratorium on all new government regulations.
“These are not new ideas.” Obama said Saturday. “They are the same policies that led us into this recession. They will not create jobs, they will kill them. They will not reduce our deficit, they will add $1 trillion to our deficit. They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward.”
Boehner was quick to fire back. In a statement he said:
“Out-of-touch and unable to sell his agenda in the face of near-double-digit unemployment, President Obama is resorting to partisan attacks, rather than working with Republicans to help the American people, who are asking, ‘where are the jobs?’ The fact is that Washington Democrats’ policies have created uncertainty that has undermined our economy, shaken the confidence of the nation, and cost millions of American jobs. Our nation needs leadership – not excuses. Republicans are offering better solutions to stop the Democrats’ tax hikes, end their massive spending spree, repeal and replace ObamaCare, and get America’s economy back on track.”
As the November elections approach, this kind of partisan rhetorical sniping can be expected to escalate, especially on issues related to the economy.
The White House reported Friday that unemployment is likely to stay above 9 percent until 2012. And according to the mid-season review released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Friday, the US deficit is headed toward a record $1.47 trillion.