A few times in recent elections, a debate moderator has said to the candidates, "There's been a lot of negativity in this race. Is there anything nice you can say about your opponent?" To which they usually reply, "He's got a lovely family." But the inability to admit that the other guy ever in his life did anything right just makes you look like a phony, or a jerk, or both. To wit:
Hours after he secured the endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney credited his brother, President George W. Bush, with keeping the country from a great depression in 2008.
"I keep hearing the president say he's responsible for keeping the country out of a Great Depression," Romney said at a town hall in Arbutus, Maryland. "No, no, no, that was President George W. Bush and [then-Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson."
So let's get this straight: Bush saved America, and then America was fine, and then Barack Obama came in and ruined everything? How does that explain the fact that the economy lost 2 million jobs in the first three months of 2009, before Obama really had a chance to start his reign of destruction?
That's not all. Karl Rove tells us that the decision to approve the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound was no big deal. Sigh.
It's to be expected that candidates are going to spin things their way, but there's a point at which you just start sounding silly. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has said many times that Bill Clinton deserves no credit for the prosperity and job growth of the 1990s, because it was all caused by Ronald Reagan cutting taxes a decade before. And I suppose if the economy really starts humming, we'll hear from conservatives that it was all George W. Bush's doing.