On the Internet, there is a famous principle that has come to be known as Godwin’s Law. Named after columnist Mike Godwin, the Godwin Law states that as Internet discussions grow longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler (whether legitimate or illegitimate) approaches. Anyone who has spent any time browsing the blogosphere can verify Godwin’s Law.
Anyone who pays any attention to the trials and tribulations of President Obama can recognize the existence of another law. Call it Shapiro’s Law: As any conversation involving an Obama supporter grows longer, the probability of the Obama supporter citing the failings of President Bush approaches. In fact, Obama supporters rarely wait longer than 30 seconds before referencing President Bush’s shortcomings. President Obama himself talks about President Bush more than FDR, JFK, Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. combined.
Why do Obama supporters believe that President Bush’s weaknesses excuse President Obama’s total incompetence? When you mention that President Obama has driven the national debt to unprecedented levels, they mention that the Bush administration spent too much, too. When you mention that President Obama has nationalized industries and seeks to subvert private health care, they mention that President Bush passed an expansion of drug benefits and sponsored bailouts of the financial firms.
This is utterly illogical.
If O.J. Simpson had committed double-homicide, then cited Ted Kennedy’s manslaughter as justification, we would have scoffed. Yet we are supposed to accept “Ignore Obama, Bush was horrible” sloganeering as the apotheosis of argumentative rhetoric.
This is an administration that does not deign to make logical arguments. This is an administration that calls names and levels slurs at its opponents rather than challenging them on logical grounds. This is an administration that embraces the polarizing politics of racial pandering and class warfare while claiming a nonexistent high-mindedness.
But the Obama administration does not recognize one simple truth: Presidents are not the same as presidential candidates. Presidents must prove their mettle; they cannot blame their predecessors. They applied for their job, spending time and money and tears and sweat in order to get it. Once they’re in office, we’re no longer interested in hearing slurs about their predecessors. It is both unseemly and untimely.
Presidents must govern, not complain. Their supporters must support their policies, and they must justify them. If Obama does something wrong, it does not suddenly become right because Bush pursued similar measures. If Bush supporters did not stand up against Bush when he pressed for erroneous policies, that was a failing, to be sure – but it does not justify continued silence in the face of exponentially more erroneous policies.
And just to be clear, any analogy between the spendthrift policies of the Bush administration and the Obama administration falls flat on the merits. Bush left office with a $455 billion budget deficit for 2009 and a $10.7 trillion national debt. In well under a year, Obama has more than tripled the budget deficit to $1.58 trillion, and the national debt is now up to $11.8 trillion. The Obama economic policies will add a minimum of $9.05 trillion to the national deficit over the next nine years – and that is a vastly optimistic estimate. Some economists say the deficit will increase by over $14 trillion.
It is time for Obama and his followers to grow up and stop proving living embodiments of Shapiro’s Law. Bush has not been in office for nine months. Democrats have controlled Congress for three years. If Obama can’t defend his policies rationally, he should change them. If he can, he should defend them. George W. Bush has nothing to do with anything anymore.