Shortly after winning the endorsement of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney gave a shout-out to another Bush. Sure, the economy is looking rosier, Mitt said, but don't thank President Obama. It's really former President George W. Bush who deserves the credit for staving off another Great Depression; after all, he's the one who signed the Wall Street bailout. Though Romney seems assured of the Republican nomination, some pundits questioned his decision to show support for a president whom many voters still blame for the weak economy. Is Romney risking a backlash?
He should beware of aligning himself with George W. Bush: In a general election match-up with Mitt, President Obama would likely portray Romney as someone who'll continue "the failed policies of the Bush administration," says Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine. And that might be a winning plan: A February survey by Quinnipiac University found that 51 percent of voters still blame Bush for the current condition of the economy. So praising George W. Bush's "economic stewardship is probably not the wisest strategy." Romney just gave Obama a big assist.
"Romney: Credit Bush, not Obama, for the recovery"
It's a dangerous position to take, but Romney's pretty safe: Romney does seem to be pivoting away from "the economy's a hopeless disaster under Obama" message to a more daring "yeah, okay, the economy's starting to come back — thanks to Bush" message, but this isn't a big deal, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. Romney said "over and over again before the first votes were cast in Iowa" that he believes the Wall Street bailout was necessary, "and he's got the nomination all but cinched three months later." Obviously, his touting of the bailout (and, by extension, Bush) didn't turn off Republicans in sufficient numbers.
"Romney: It was Bush and Hank Paulson, not Obama, who saved the economy with TARP"
He doesn't have much of a choice: Yes, it's a tough argument to make, says Molly Ball at The Atlantic. But as Romney fends off attacks from his biggest rival, Rick Santorum, and crawls slowly to what he hopes will amount to 1,144 delegates before the National Convention in August, he seems to be thinking that he has to start acting like the nominee. After all, it might be "the best way to get the Republican Party to see him as its standard-bearer" in what looks like a protracted fight ahead.
"Mitt Romney's counterfactual economic argument"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- 10 things you need to know today: October 30, 2014
- For Democrats, the right lesson from 2014 is to be more liberal
- How to live a long life, according to science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Sorry, we will not all be having sex with robots in the future
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Yes, the Federal Reserve is politicized — and that's a good thing
- Is Amazon a monopoly?
Subscribe to the Week