George W. Bush was not your run-of-the-mill bad president. He was historically, monumentally, catastrophically bad, and after eight years of his stewardship, the American economy was in such a shambles that the memory of his epic failure remains seared in the minds of even the most clueless voter. From yesterday’s exit polling:
Four years after Barack Obama was elected, more voters — 52 percent — still blame George W. Bush for the weak economy rather than Obama. The exit polls found that 39 percent of voters blamed Obama for the state of the economy.
This is why Mitt Romney’s economic message could never get any traction. Voters knew it wasn’t fair. And when Bill Clinton — the most trusted politician in America — assumed a leading role in the campaign, it was game over. Only an awful performance by Obama in the first debate kept Romney from losing in an electoral landslide. But the ultimate outcome was never really in doubt. The pollsters had Obama ahead all year, and they were spectacularly correct — notwithstanding Charles Krauthammer’s “gut.”
It certainly helped Obama’s cause that Romney, as Mike Huckabee once said, reminds people of “the guy who laid you off.” Romney’s career as a vulture capitalist provided Democrats with plenty of ammunition, but any other Republican would have been saddled with the same Bush legacy and the same warmed-over Bush agenda. That’s one reason why no A-list Republicans except Romney entered the race.
They didn’t want to run with Dubya.