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Memo to Jeb Bush: Obama Is Still Cleaning Up After Your Brother

Jeb Bush isn’t terribly happy with President Obama’s willingness to blame his brother George for his administration’s challenges:

For months now, Jeb Bush has been listening as President Obama blasts his older brother’s administration for the battered economy, budget deficits and even the lax oversight of oil wells.

“It’s kind of like a kid coming to school saying, ‘The dog ate my homework,’ ” Mr. Bush, this state’s former governor, said over lunch last week at the Biltmore Hotel. “It’s childish. This is what children do until they mature. They don’t accept responsibility.”

In fact, instead of constantly bashing the 43rd president, Mr. Bush offered, perhaps Mr. Obama could learn something from him, especially when it comes to ignoring the Washington chatter. “This would break his heart, to get advice that applies some of the lessons of leadership my brother learned, because he apparently likes to act like he’s still campaigning, and he likes to blame George’s administration for everything,” Mr. Bush said, dangling a ketchup-soaked French fry. “But he really seems like he’s getting caught up in what people are writing about him.

I really don’t see why President Obama should have to “accept responsibility” for conditions that he inherited from the previous administration. Jeb Bush may have forgotten, but Iraq and Afghanistan are his brother’s wars, and the financial crisis, recession and deficit are all consequences of his brother’s presidency.

For my part, I would encourage President Obama to ramp up his criticism of Bush, as it’s simply a fact that Bush’s presidency was ripe with shortcomings and missed opportunities. From health care to climate change to infrastructure, the Bush administration and its congressional allies left plenty of work to be done. Between the stimulus package, financial reform, health care reform and climate change, Obama and congressional Democrats are trying as much as possible to clean up after Bush. And given that, it’s not at all unreasonable or “childish” for Obama to point it out on occasion.

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