"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Ben Franklin's quote in the context of the Obama speech has been cited as a swipe at the Bush Administration policies. And those who take glee in this verbal "gotcha" also (as demonstrated in this thread) go on to compare President Obama to FDR... who inherited a demolished economy from Herbert Hoover. FDR -- the same president (and hero of the Democratic Party) who sent American citizens to internment camps during WWII because they were of Japanese heritage.
The irony and the ignorance are stunning.
As for the economy, anyone who "blames" Bush and Republicans solely for this economic mess is either ill-informed, delusional, or both. Democrats are also to blame.
Since 2001, Democrats blocked increased regulation on GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) on at least three different occasions. The GSEs are the source of much of the problem as they not only coerced banks into enforcing CRA to the virtual destruction of our credit markets. And once the credit markets go, so goes the economy.
Republicans called for increased regulations on the GSEs, but filibuster threats by the once-minority-Senate Democrats and very vociferous opposition in the House (which would brand Republicans as racist and elitist) won the PR war and won the day. Congressional Republicans in both chambers were pussies and should have insisted, but they didn't, even when they were in the majority. Bush should have been more insistent as well -- his biggest fault was not hammering away at this, but I suppose after being crucified by Democrats and the media on daring to suggest Social Security reform (he asked the Democrats for their ideas when they eviscerated him for his... we're still waiting for them), perhaps he figured it would be moot.
The GSEs had the bright idea to bundle the mortgages into derivative securities that would later be sold carelessly by an all-too-willing cadre of Wall Street whores. Not ALL financial services companies were negligent in this instance -- many remained true to their "suitability" rules and only sold them to certain customers very selectively. The fact of the matter is, there is sufficient regulation on Wall Street that is on the books to thwart the investment side of this debacle -- the problem was the regulators weren't doing due diligence.
One of the most egregious criminals in this scenario is none other than that mess from my home state, Barney Frank:
1) As Ranking Member and then Chairman of the House Banking Committee, he repeatedly resisted increased regulations against Fannie and Freddie and essentially chided Republicans for "crying 'wolf.'"
2) He was sleeping with Herb Moses, a high-ranking official at Fannie Mae at the time... and making policy decisions on the very agency in which his lover worked (conflict of interest anyone?). One of Moses' great responsibilities was the proliferation of mortgage-backed securities in the marketplace (among other things).
Maxine Waters, another Mensa member from the Democratic Party insisted on more than one occasion there was nothing wrong with the level of scrutiny being applied to sub-prime lending vis-a-vis the wishes of Fannie and Freddie.http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/dominic-lawson/dominic-lawson-democrat-fingerprints-are-all-over-the-financial-crisis-949653.html
In the end, it was Democratic Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama who was brave enough to admit that there was fault on BOTH sides of the aisle, in particular, his fellow Democrats who refused to heed warnings on Fannie and Freddie.
The emphasis on the Fannie/Freddie issue cannot be overstated. A free market economy grows and it recedes. The economy experienced a healthy amount of growth in the Bush Administration post 9-11. A recession, although undesirable, wouldn't be a surprise -- the economy is typically self-correcting and then it goes on to grow again. Chances are, the economy would have slowed and probably receded somehwat towards the end of the Bush presidency anyway (much like it did at the end of the Clinton presidency); however, it was the simultaneous collapse of the credit markets that made this recession so terrible. If no one is lending money, no one is going to make money.