This election is turning into Barack Obama vs. George W. Bush. But then, so did the last Presidential election. There is just one problem with this. George W. Bush and Barack Obama never faced each other in an election. Details, details. Obama is still running against Bush, and Bush is still not on the ballot.
Last week I posted the unemployment rates from the beginning of the Bush years through May of this year. I tried to show how the Bush years had full employment for the most part and for a couple of years, it was more than full employment. The purpose was to show that job creation cannot be compared by the numbers because if there is full employment, how do you hire still more?
Unfortunately, I forgot to point out something else about those years. The unemployment rate began to increase in 2007. In addition the economic growth rate began to decrease in 2007. Something else happened in 2007. In the election of 2006, the Democrats won both the House and the Senate and were sworn in in early January 2007.
So how does this relate to Obama blaming Bush? Well, the House and the Senate is not the only election in 2006. All House seats are up every two years and a third of the Senate is up every two years. But there are also state offices that are elected in the midterm elections. Michigan’s seat for Governor is one of those.
Prior to 2002, the Governor of Michigan was limited to three terms in office. In 2002 that changed to two four year terms. The Governor in Michigan prior to 2002 was John Engler, a Republican. He was finishing his third term. Taxes were lower, unemployment in the state was at 3%. Granholm ran and won her first term as Governor in 2002.
In 2006, she ran for a second term. Unemployment was soaring. Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in the country and it wasn’t showing any indication of stopping from going up. The state had begun to fall apart during Granholm’s four years. Her opponent in that election was Richard DeVos, the rich businessman best known as being the son of one of the two founders of Amway and very successful in his own right in business.
Granholm claimed that the states maladies had been caused by Engler and she had “inherited” his mess and she was still cleaning it up but that she needed four more years to finish the job. She didn’t run against DeVos, she ran against Engler. Engler’s years were successful and the state was thriving but she, and the willing press, claimed that it was falling apart because of her predecessor. In a state that is for the most part a liberal state, it was an easy sell. She was the bashed on female against the evil male millionaire who was more of the same of John Engler.
Granholm never faced Engler directly in an election. But she ran against him in the first election, even though the real opponent was Dick Posthumous the Lt. Governor. In 2006, she ran against Engler, even though her real opponent was Dick DeVos. This tactic gave Granholm four more years. What did she do with that four years? She increased the unemployment rate still higher. Michigan was falling apart.
Sound familiar? Barack Obama is running against Bush, who has never been the opposition on the ballot against Obama. Obama’s words? “I inherited a mess.”
Do not take blaming Bush lightly. Michigan is a perfect example why we should not take this tactic lightly however ridiculous it sounds. With Obama’s record the past three years, even Democrats should have been begging for Obama to be challenged in primaries. A serious challenge, not some convicted felon in Texas running in the West Virginia primary. Instead, Obama is running virtually unchallenged in his own party, so he sits back and claims it’s Bush’s fault for all of the problems in this country.
Each time I hear that Obama inherited the problems created by Bush, I think it’s silly that anyone would even consider this as viable. Yet, it’s repeated by the press and the constant repetition has made it sound as though it’s a given.
Can blaming Bush work? The 2006 re-election of Jennifer Granholm in Michigan says it can work.
You’re welcome to comment.