Bush got things done, Obama takes credit for doing nothing.

Regardless of your opinion of President George W. Bush, there is no denying that he knew how to get things done. Unfortunately for him, much of what he did was vilified by the media. The Bush tax cuts, for instance, were portrayed as “tax cuts for the rich” even though the rich’s share of the tax burden rose and the tax cuts helped spur economic growth. In the words of Rodney Dangerfield, Bush “got no respect.”

Along comes President Barack Obama. As candidate and President, Obama attacked the “tax cuts for the rich” that Bush gave out. But then, suddenly, President Obama compromises with the Republicans and extends the Bush tax cuts. CNN, who heeped no praise on Bush for his tax cuts, is now praising Obama for extending the tax cuts:

Most Americans like the new tax cut law that President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that while the tax cut compromise the president struck with congressional Republicans didn’t spark Obama’s overall approval rating, it may have given him a boost as “Triangulator in Chief.”

The poll also indicates that 55 percent of the public thinks Obama’s policies will move the country in the right direction, with just over four in ten saying the president’s policies will move the nation in the wrong direction. Obama’s 55 percent is 11 points higher than the 44 percent who say the policies of congressional Republican leaders will move the country in the right direction. Americans are split at 48 percent on whether what congressional Democrats are proposing will move the country along the right path.

“Since the GOP just picked up 63 seats in the House, what’s not to like about their policies? The tax bill may be a good place to start,” says Holland.

According to the poll, 56 percent of the public say that the bill does too much for wealthy Americans and six in ten don’t like extending the tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 or the changes in the estate tax. And less than one in four believe that their personal situation will improve as a result of the tax bill. Only four in ten favor an increase in the federal deficit to pay for tax cut compromise.

But despite those figures, three-quarters of all Americans approve of the tax bill overall, including the extension of jobless benefits for the long term unemployed.

If you are keeping score at home:

  • President Bush and the Republicans were wrong to pass the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.
  • President Obama was right to extend them in 2010.
  • Republicans were wrong to extend them in 2010.
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