Frank, we had an almost identical situation over here, with the awful Blair/Brown era finally coming to an end.
In the Treasury, the new man arrived and noticed a note on his desk from his predecessor which read (paraphrase) "Money all gone. Good luck with that"
Blair the poodle and Bush the master dragged both Countries through an illegal war and as far as the UK was concerned, Blair then sold the family silver and maxed out the UK's credit card.
I suspect a similar set of circumstances greeted the post Bush government over there.
You're right in that nobody can expect the sweep up guy to rectify the situation straight away, but the ordinary people who live ordinary lives have very short memories.
Five years is a very short time to clear up such a mess, but it will come back and unfairly bite Obama if he doesn't.
My bet as an outsider (wait for the scoffing) is that Hilary stands a good chance.
It'd be great for the US to have a Mrs President come along and show the squabbling boys how things are done.