Does Obama think Trump’s wins are all due to Obama?

The Mercury News Weekend - - OTHER VIEWS - By Victor Davis Han­son Victor Davis Han­son is a syn­di­cated colum­nist.

For­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­cently con­tin­ued his series of pub­lic broad­sides against his suc­ces­sor, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Obama’s charges are para­dox­i­cal. On one hand, Obama seems to be­lieve he should be cred­ited with the cur­rent eco­nomic boom and the emer­gence of the United States as the world’s largest en­ergy pro­ducer. But Obama also has charged that Trump’s poli­cies are per­ni­cious and fail­ing.

Ap­par­ently, Obama be­lieves all of Trump’s suc­cesses are due to Obama, and all of Trump’s set­backs are his own.

Obama for­gets the old rule: Pres­i­dents, fairly or not, get both credit and blame for ev­ery­thing that hap­pens on their watch — even when wars abroad, tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and mar­ket col­lapses have noth­ing to do with their gover­nance.

Trump ran on the prom­ise of a “Make Amer­ica Great Again” eco­nomic re­nais­sance. He pledged mas­sive dereg­u­la­tion, fair rather than free trade, and tax re­form and re­duc­tion.

Trump jaw­boned against out­sourc­ing and off­shoring. He sought to rein­dus­tri­al­ize the Mid­west and promised to open new fed­eral land to fos­sil fuel pro­duc­tion, com­plete pro­posed pipe­lines, and lift bur­den­some re­stric­tions on frack­ing and hor­i­zon­tal drilling.

In con­trast, Obama ad­vo­cated mak­ing the use of coal so ex­pen­sive it would dis­ap­pear as an Amer­i­can en­ergy re­source. Re­new­able en­ergy sources such as wind and so­lar were Obama’s vi­sion of an Amer­ica en­ergy fu­ture.

As late as last year, Larry Sum­mers, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil for two years dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, ridiculed Trump’s boasts that he could achieve an­nu­al­ized GDP growth of 3 per­cent as the stuff of “tooth fairies and lu­di­crous sup­ply-side eco­nomics” and pre­dicted the U.S. econ­omy would be in re­ces­sion by now. In­stead, it’s likely to match or ex- ceed Trump’s prom­ise of 3 per­cent growth over a 12-month pe­riod.

Af­ter Trump’s vic­tory, econ­o­mist and Obama sup­porter Paul Krug­man pre­dicted the stock mar­ket would crash and might “never” re­cover. In fact, the Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age has climbed about 7,000 points since Trump was elected. Un­em­ploy­ment has hit near­record lows, wage gains are up and the econ­omy is grow­ing.

Still, af­ter 22 months, no one knows what the fi­nal ver­dict will be on the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

His­tory will de­cide whether a more man­aged or more dereg­u­lated econ­omy works best. We will learn whether a fo­cus on tra­di­tional en­ergy sources is prefer­able to an em­pha­sis on sub­si­dized green en­ergy.

In re­cent times, Re­pub­li­can ex-pres­i­dents — Ron­ald Rea­gan, Ge­orge H.W. Bush and Ge­orge W. Bush — left the lime­light upon the end of their tenures. They kept silent about their suc­ces­sors, and they al­lowed his­tory to be the judge of their rel­a­tive suc­cesses or fail­ures.

In con­trast, pro­gres­sive ex-pres­i­dents such as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clin­ton and Obama all en­vi­sioned their re­tire­ments as op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­lit­i­gate their ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Carter fre­quently warned that the Rea­gan de­fense buildup and tough stance to­ward the Soviet Union were dan­ger­ous and would lead to an ex­is­ten­tial con­fronta­tion. Clin­ton be­came a fierce critic of the Iraq War as his wife Hil­lary pre­pared to en­ter the 2008 pres­i­den­tial race as an anti-Bush can­di­date. Obama still seeks to con­vince the coun­try that Trump is “un­fit” to be pres­i­dent.

Af­ter the re­cent pass­ing of Ge­orge H.W. Bush, there are now four liv­ing ex-pres­i­dents: Carter, Clin­ton, Ge­orge W. Bush and Obama. There are five liv­ing for­mer vice pres­i­dents: Wal­ter Mon­dale, Dan Quayle, Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Bi­den.

If all ex-pres­i­dents and ex-vice pres­i­dents were to weigh in non­stop on the cur­rent pres­i­dent and present-day pol­i­tics, the re­sult would be as chaotic as it would be bor­ing.

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