Monday, December 28, 2009

Trying Out A New Act

Mary Matalin and James Carville, the vaudeville routine of political punditry, are always good for a chuckle; he’s corny and she’s arrogant. And when they’re not burning it up as a team act, Ms. Matalin is doing what can only be described as hypocrisy and snake oil. Yesterday on CNN, moments after complaining that President Obama is always blaming poor George W. Bush for his problems, she comes out with her own version of revisionist history.

I was there [in the Bush White House]. We inherited a recession from President Clinton and we inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation’s history. And President Bush dealt with it. And within a year of his presidency at this comparable time, unemployment was at 5 percent. And we were creating jobs.

Steve Benen picks it up from there.

As a factual matter, Matalin, as is usually the case, doesn’t have the foggiest idea what she’s talking about. Bush didn’t “inherit” the attacks of 9/11 — they happened more than eight months into Bush’s presidency, after his administration largely ignored warnings about the threat. Bush didn’t “inherit” a recession — it began in March 2001. Matalin didn’t even get the unemployment numbers right.

This, coupled with Dana Perino’s assertion last month that “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term” must be part of the new right-wing talking points that coalesce around the theory that no one should ever look back at what happened in previous administrations unless they can either get the facts wrong or just make stuff up. Ms. Matalin seems to have that part of the act down pretty well; now it’s time to move on to the talent portion of the program.