When does a President stop blaming his predecessor and start taking responsibility for his own actions? To be fair, that has been an eternal question in the American context, but it does seem as though Barack Obama has a crutch that he refuses to put aside. Economy? Blame Bush! Media? Blame Bush! Afghanistan? Especially there, Charles Krauthammer argues, Obama has been “disgusting” in his blameshifting, especially since it has been six months since Obama rolled out his own strategy on the war (via Radio Vice Online):
I want to point out one thing about what Obama had said when he talked about “the long years of drift.” There is something truly disgusting about the way he cannot refrain from attacking Bush when he’s being defensive about himself. I mean, it’s beyond disgraceful here. He won election a year ago. He became the Commander [in] Chief two months later. He announced his own strategy — not the Bush strategy, his strategy — six months ago, and it wasn’t off-handed, it was in a major address, with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense standing with him. And now he’s still talking about “the drift” in the Bush years. What’s happening today is not a result of the drift, so-called, of the Bush years, it’s because of the drift in his years. It’s because of the flaws in his own strategy, which is what he’s actively examining.
Disgusting? At best, one can say that it shows a lack of intestinal fortitude when it comes to taking criticism. No President gets a tabula rasa on entering office, and every president since Washington has had to deal with issues that began during a previous term in office. It comes with the territory, which is why 42 other Presidents dispensed with the whining and took responsibility for their own actions.
Obama may have gotten himself elected by promising to be the not-Bush, and he certainly won his Nobel Peace Prize for being the not-Bush. However, if he wants to be President, he’ll need to start acting like it and quit sniveling about the fact that he won the election after Bush — which he himself chose to do.