Political Hay

The End of Blaming Bush

Who will the Left blame after today?

By 11.2.10

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Today's election is more about America's Left and Right, than Democrats and Republicans. And the Left's worst blow from it will be its inability to blame Bush for it. This time, nothing stands between the left and the public's verdict. Tomorrow that verdict will be clear. And with it will go the tiresome posture in which somehow they could be present at problems without ever being responsible for them.

For a full decade, the Left has been laying every problem at Bush's feet. He has been it fail-safe. Like a child's imaginary friend, on whom all mischief in the house is blamed, Bush served the same purpose for the Left. Never was it responsible for anything, despite often being at the scene of the accident.

A parent turns a blind eye to the children's charade, knowing an imaginary friend allows a child the opportunity to ease into accepting responsibility. But in the Left's case, its make-believe only allowed it to ease out of responsibility. In life, children grow older; in this instance, only the liberals' device has grown old.

Apparently the public no longer has a parent's patience. To quote, the apostle Paul: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Here the childish thing is not being put away, it is being taken away.

With this Tuesday's unmistakable results, the public finally will take away the Left's patented excuse. It will state unequivocally that it holds the Left and its policies responsible for much. Not the least of which will be its irresponsibility in not having solved enough of the problems the nation faces.

America faces a multitude of problems. It is safe to say that, in the public's mind, there are at least as many as when Bush left office -- many feel there are even more. In the public's opinion, the task now lies in solving these, regardless of when they occurred.

Even those problems, which the public attributed to Bush, they are no longer willing to absolve the Left from addressing. If you offer your policies as solutions, then the public expects you to shoulder the responsibility of doing the job -- not simply assigning the blame.

Just as when a plumber is called to fix a flooded basement, the homeowners quickly tire of explanations as to why the basement is flooded. They just want the water gone. And if it isn't, they call another plumber. America is making that call today.

America has now made it clear that its patience with excuses without results is over. The "blame Bush" ploy no longer works. Simply not being Bush is no longer sufficient qualification.

Conservatives should take this lesson to heart as well. The public has started the clock on them today. In accelerating succession, Democrats held the House for four decades, Republicans then held it for just over one, and Democrats now have held it for just two terms. There is no reason to believe the public will be any more generous to the Right with its patience, than it was to the Left.

Despite the Left's continued attempts to remake it into an intent-oriented society, America is still a results-oriented one. There is no better evidence than this that America remains at its core a conservative nation.

The Left is intent-oriented. For the Left, what motivates is what matters -- not what actually comes from it. What motivates an action is what determines their perception of it. For the Left, it is not simply enough to have accomplished a task, it must have been inspired by adherence to its principles.

The reason is simple: The Left's principles do not work in practice. So the last thing the Left is willing to do, is to have them measured by its results. Instead, it must be measured by intent.

The Right is just the opposite. It is results-oriented. The reason is equally simple: its principles do work in practice. So if an undertaking is measured by outcomes, the Right is confident that, if its principles were applied, the action will have been successful.

This fundamental difference between the Left and Right explains why blaming Bush has been so important to liberals. And so overused. Unable to succeed in practice, they inherently, and eternally, need an excuse.

After today, the Left will have to come up with a new excuse for its inability to solve problems. Even better yet, as America is making clear today, it will have to come up with solutions -- or make room for someone who has them.

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About the Author

J.T. Young served in the Department of Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004 and as a Congressional staff member from 1987 to 2000.