History lesson

HISTORY LESSON…. The director of the White House National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, is known for having a rather brusque personality. I think he was clearly holding back this morning.

George Stephanopoulos just showed Obama economic adviser Larry Summers a tape of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell questioning the efficacy of the New Deal.

Summers: “The people who presided over the last eight years … [don’t] seem to be in a strong position to lecture on history.”

That’s true, and it’s a point that bears repeating from time to time. When it comes to economic policy, now would be an excellent time for the Republican Party to enjoy a little quiet time. We’re talking about a party that insisted that Bill Clinton’s economic policies would be a complete disaster, and then rallied enthusiastically behind George W. Bush’s economic agenda. In recent weeks, these same lawmakers have been questioning FDR, while embracing Hoover.

Given all of this, why the Republican Party believes it has credibility on economic policies is a mystery. After getting everything spectacularly wrong for years, we still hear McConnell, Boehner, & Co. sounding downright Cartman-like, demanding, “You will respect my authority!”

Summers’ attitude is the right one — those who fail don’t get to give lectures about how to succeed.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.