The Corner

Sorry Katrina vanden Heuvel, It Is Obama’s Failures That Put Republicans in Charge

Over at the Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel laments that Republicans will do nothing “to address the profound crises the country faces.” She moans that the GOP will offer “no relief for the sinking middle class and impoverished low-wage workers, no strategy for addressing climate change, no response to the destructive excesses of banks too big to fail.”

Although she doesn’t forget that it’s her guy who has been in the White House for the last six years, vanden Heuvel repeats the tired excuse that Republicans’ “scorched-earth strategy” of “obstructing President Obama relentlessly” caused the economic and policy failures that led voters to hand Congress to the GOP. 

Hm, let’s see . . . vanden Heuvel’s lament would only really make sense if Obama hadn’t actually gotten all that he wanted during the first two years of his first term. Remember the huge stimulus bill that was supposed to prevent the unemployment rate from exceeding 8 percent? How about Dodd Frank and the promise that it would successfully regulate the big banks, save us from the moral hazard created by Too Big to Fail,” and address systemic risk? And let’s not forget Obamacare and its promise to fix health care, provide health insurance to everyone (especially the chronically poor), lower premiums, and help the long-term budget outlookDoes vanden Heuvel really want to blame the debacle on Republicans? She can certainly try, I suppose.

And then, of course, if you turn to things like the war on drugs, immigration, transparency, or all the scandals that took place under this administration (VA, the IRS, and Fast and Furious, etc, etc), vanden Heuvel shouldn’t be surprised that Obama has become unpopular even with his own base. 

So while I agree that the midterm victory doesn’t mean Republicans are full of ideas or that everyone’s going to become a Republican now, it makes no sense to claim the result has nothing to do with the president and everything to do with the Republicans getting in the way. Just as Republicans need to admit that the Bush years were hugely disappointing for those of us who believe in free markets and small government, Democrats should admit that it’s the failures and shortcomings of the Obama administration that have put the GOP back in control of Congress.

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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