So many want to put the entire blame on President Barack Obama for the reckless spending and huge debt that America suffers from. But it took an entire village of idiots to get us here.
Americans recognize this. A nationwide poll conducted by InsiderAdvantage for Newsmax found that a whopping 73 percent of the country disapproved of the "overall job performance of the U.S. House, Senate, and the president in their collective efforts to raise the national debt ceiling."
Take it from a veteran pollster: Seventy-three percent disapproval is a staggering number. You don't incite that degree of discontent and frustration in people without the help of a lot of folks who either don't know what they're doing, or do know but don't care.
George W. Bush is a prime example. He inherited a comparatively modest national debt when he took office as president in 2001. He then backed new federal initiatives such as the extravagant Medicare Part B program. That move enriched pharmaceutical manufacturers, but drove our national debt to new heights.
The wars that America has been fighting since 9/11 provide a ready-made excuse for the wild run-up in federal spending that happened on Bush's watch. But Republicans have to face the fact that both Bush and Congress spent way too much money in way too short of a time.
Then we get to Obama. What a catastrophic disaster we have seen with this president. He threw away incomprehensible amounts of money for "shovel-ready" construction projects and later laughed off the failure of this initiative by saying that maybe the projects weren't as shovel-ready as we'd thought.
Still, it takes three instead of two to tango on this matter of excessive spending. And Americans know it. Again, in our poll, they disapproved of the president and both houses of Congress.
The fact is that those who insisted on linking commitment to voting on a balanced-budget amendment with a raising of the federal debt ceiling were thinking correctly. But the balanced-budget component of the new debt-ceiling legislation has no teeth in it.
So a debt-ceiling "crisis" was laid out before the American public and their elected leaders, but it seems only elected officials were spooked by the crisis. Subsequently, a weak and half-baked piece of legislation emerged. To many Americans, it seems like TARP all over again.
Readers of this column will recall a prediction made early this year that there is going to be another economic meltdown in America. Well, given the record temperatures plaguing the nation, I guess that prediction has come true!
The good folks who rate our national credit managed to say many nasty things about the United States, despite the passage of a bill designed in part just to please these selfsame organizations. Their words caused the stock market to drop hundreds of points in a single day.
Fox News pundit Greta Van Susteren posed an interesting question to virtually everyone she interviewed about the debt crisis. Why do we put our economic fate into the hands of ratings agencies like Standard and Poor's and Moody's? Heck, they're the same organizations that just a few years ago were giving America wonderful credit ratings for all the piles of debt we were incurring. Not one politician had a substantive answer for Van Susteren's question.
While everyone seems to want to blame the tea party for being "terrorists," the fact is that most of the country either disapproved of the debt-ceiling legislation that just passed, or they had no opinion.
An even more telling number in our poll was that 59 percent disapproved of Obama's handling of the crisis. Every polling demographic that the president will need to get re-elected went south on him in the poll. That includes a majority of independent voters, a significant portion of Democrats and nearly 30 percent of African-Americans.
While some of these groups may return to the Obama fold, this much is still clear: The president was the biggest loser of the debt crisis. The only saving grace for him is that he had a lot of help from a lazy Congress and from his predecessor in getting us here.
Enjoy the meltdown. And remember who brought it to you.
Matt Towery is author of the book, "Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency." He heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage.
© Creators Syndicate Inc.