By the way, the entitlements numbers I cited earlier have a lot to do with why I take a dim view of describing George W. Bush as a “fantastic president.” Here are the projections for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit passed by a Republican-controlled Congress (though the House had to be dragged along kicking and screaming) and signed into law by Mr. Fantastic: $6.8 trillion in unfunded liabilities over a 75-year horizon and $14.3 trillion over an infinite horizon. Those are bigger long-term deficits than for Medicare Part A, the hospital insurance program.
None of this gives Barack Obama a pass on his dismal record, which frequently consisted of taking Bush-era overspending and throwing it into hyperdrive. If Obama wants to blame his failures on someone who has been out of office nearly four years, that reflects poorly on him. If conservatives want to heap unqualified praise on a president for bankrupting the country at a slower rate than Obama, that will reflect poorly on us.
The desire to say nice things about a fellow Republican who looks a bit better when compared to his successor is somewhat understandable, especially when considering personal relationships and friendships. But promising future conservative leaders should hold higher standards when applying superlatives to budget-busters from the red team. Until we make a clean break from big government conservatism, we can’t make a clean break from Obamanomics.