As left-leaning pundits wring their hands over how to boost Democrats' prospects after a bruising year, some are suggesting an old trick: blame Bush. They argue it's justified given that the new Democratic agenda has been hampered by the huge mess Obama's predecessor left behind.  Democrats deserve credit for cleaning up, they argue, and some leeway if progress is slow. Conservatives, of course, find the endless Bush-bashing tiresome. Is resurrecting the tactic a smart idea heading into midterms?

  • Dems Should Stop Blaming Themselves: Blame Bush High-profile Democratic strategist James Carville argues in the Financial Times that Democrats should stop the internal post-Massachusetts blame-game, and focus on the real culprit: George Bush. "It is under his disastrous tenure in the White House," argues Carville, "that health insurance premiums nearly doubled for the average American family ... It was under Mr Bush that the deficit spiralled out of control ... It was Mr Bush's economic team that worshipped at the Church of Deregulation and was asleep at the wheel as banks and insurance companies became too big to fail." Carville allows that "in the end, blaming Mr Bush might not have been enough to win in Massachusetts," but he appears to think it a good start.
  • 'Don't Accept Any Lectures on Spending,' writes Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, seeming in partial agreement. "The GOP took us from a $236 billion surplus when President Bush took office to a $1.3 trillion deficit, with unpaid-for tax cuts for the wealthy, two wars and the Medicare prescription drug program." Calling Republican "fiscal irresponsibility" historically unmatched, he says "we must make them own their record of disastrous economic policies,exploding deficits, and a failure to even attempt to solve our health care and energy challenges."
  • Obama Was Too Nice to Bush, blogger BooMan declares, as the Wire briefly touched on last week. "A narrative needs to be told about the degree to which the Republicans screwed up this country, flouted the law, violated privacy and civil rights, and took the money and ran."
  • This Is a Dreadful Idea, decides Jonathan Martin's analysis for Politico. Chronicling Democrats' fairly extensive use of the "Bush-bashing" strategy already, Martin reports that "after three consecutive losses in statewide races, some top Democrats are questioning [the] tactic."
  • Wrong Direction, agrees Clive Crook. He calls the White House suggestion that Bush is to blame for the Massachusetts results "laughable. Worse," he adds, "it suggested Mr Obama saw no need to change."