March 5, 2014
Netanyahu's inaction to Obama's provocations sends powerful message
Kerry, after apparent criticism by Schumer, seeks to allay skepticism on diplomacy
How to ruin a perfectly good kid in 10 simple steps
2014 Oscars played it safe, but was faith lost in the shuffle?
Apple joins Hobby Lobby in touting corporate values beyond profit
March 3, 2014
Alina Dain Sharon: In the Hebrew calendar, a leap year has extra month, not day
Latest Obama appointment to prove Prez set on emasculating so-called Israel Lobby
Jewish World Review
Nov. 6, 2013/ 3 Kislev, 5774
Obama is bubble-wrapped
Near the end of his new book, “Days of Fire,” my friend and former colleague Peter Baker recounts a moment in the White House Situation Room in 2008 when President George W. Bush was uncharacteristically reflective.
“The president looked at [Defense Secretary] Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, who had succeeded Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and harked back to the critical days in 2003 before he launched the war that had become so problematic. ‘You know,’ he recalled, ‘when I made the decision on Iraq, I went around the room to everybody at that table, every principal. “You in? Any doubts?” Nothing from anybody.’ ”
As President Obama sifts through the wreckage of his health-care rollout, let’s hope he’s having similar reflections about why he didn’t know the launch of his presidency’s signature policy would be so ugly.
In one account of what even administration officials acknowledge is a debacle, the Wall Street Journal reported that Obama’s policy advisers were aware long ago that the president’s promise that “if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it” wouldn’t hold up. “White House policy advisers objected to the breadth of Mr. Obama’s ‘keep your plan’ promise,” the Journal reported, citing a former senior administration official. “They were overruled by political aides, the former official said. The White House said it was unaware of the objections.”
Obama, to borrow Bush’s phrase, heard “nothing from anybody.”
No, the Obamacare pratfall is not Obama’s Iraq: The magnitude is entirely different, and the problems — Web site malfunctions and a wave of policy cancellations — are fixable. But the decision-making is disturbingly similar: In both cases, insular administrations, staffed by loyalists and obsessed with secrecy, participated in group-think and let the president hear only what they thought he wanted to hear.
In a damning account of the Obamacare implementation, my Post colleagues Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin described how Obama rejected pleas from outside experts and even some of his own advisers to bring in people with the expertise to handle the mammoth task; he instead left the project in the care of in-house loyalists. “Three and a half years later, such insularity — in that decision and others that would follow — has emerged as a central factor in the disastrous rollout,” Goldstein and Eilperin reported.
Their report is based in part on a prescient memo sent to the White House in May 2010 by Harvard professor David Cutler, an outside adviser on health-care reform. “I am concerned that the personnel and processes you have in place are not up to the task, and that health reform will be unsuccessful as a result,” he wrote. “My general view is that the early implementation efforts are far short of what it will take to implement reform successfully. . . . I do not believe the relevant members of the administration understand the president’s vision or have the capability to carry it out.”
Cutler identified many of the problems that would later plague the Obamacare rollout: The perception of secrecy, the lack of qualified personnel and the likelihood that “if you cannot find a way to work with hesitant states and insurers, reform will blow up.”
Instead, Obama followed a different governing philosophy: Dance with the one that brung ya. He figured that those who helped him enact the health-care law should be the ones to implement it.
I’ve written frequently about Obama’s insularity. Like his predecessor, he has rewarded loyalty and surrounded himself with like-minded advisers disinclined to dissent. This, combined with a Bush-like fetish for secrecy, has left the president in a bubble, struggling to find support in Congress or among the public.
That’s what makes the Iraq comparison resonate, even without Obama’s call for a technology “surge” to HealthCare.gov inviting the comparison. Although the policies are entirely different, both were unforced errors aggravated by a president’s insularity. Both men failed to hear warnings (about the intelligence and the military plan, in Bush’s case; about problems with the exchanges and the Web site, in Obama’s), overstated their cases (Bush’s hysteria about Iraq’s nuclear program; Obama’s keep-your-plan promise) and used the other side’s partisanship as an excuse to withhold information.
One of those who has made the Iraq comparison, National Journal’s Ron Fournier, argues that Obama “needs to do some soul-searching. What did I miss, and why? What was kept from me, and why?”
Bush didn’t ask those questions until his presidency was nearly over. Obama still has some time to cure the ills of insularity.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on Dana Milbank's column by clicking here.
• 10/30/13 A human face for drone victims
• 10/29/13 What did President Obama know and when did he know it?
• 10/22/13 If Obamacare fails, so will his party
• 10/17/13 The wreckage Cruz has caused is baffling
• 10/15/13 Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell meet in middle, for a moment
• 10/09/13 The Supreme Court is poised to legalize corruption
• 10/07/13 Mitch McConnell's vanishing act
• 09/26/13 Texas senator is Cruz-ing for a bruising
• 09/23/13 What's superbugging you?
• 09/13/13 Dear Mr. Putin: The American people's reply
• 09/11/13 The administration is muddled on Syria
• 09/09/13 Adam Kinzinger, bucking the RINO charge
• 09/01/13 What Arlington could tell Obama before a Syria attack
• 08/29/13 A thoroughly unremarkable 'historical' event
• 08/26/13 Our legacy: The weakest generation?
• 08/21/13 Whistleblowing's price: One of Obama's claims about Snowden is wrong
• 08/20/13 Obama's summer swoon
• 08/02/13 The GOP flips the script on Obama
• 08/01/13 Rand Paul rebuked by fellow Republicans on foreign aid
• 07/29/13 The McWeiners of the world
• 07/24/13 Obama's lifeless agenda
• 07/23/13 McCain, the 'maverick', is back
• 07/22/13 Is Liz Cheney feeling the effects of a saner GOP?
• 07/12/13 Oh, snap! Republicans are alienating the electorate
• 07/10/13 When a coup is not
• 07/09/13 George W. Bush returns as a uniter
• 07/07/13 Obama & friends: The change that wasn't
• 07/04/13 Testing Power's patriotism
• 07/03/13 Snowden's self-sabotage
• 06/25/13 Justice Samuel Alito's middle-school antics
• 06/24/13 For John Boehner, it's job security vs. legacy
• 06/20/13 Tea party scalds Marco Rubio
• 06/19/13 Congress has become a rubber stamp for the NSA
• 06/17/13 The left turns compliant on violating civil liberties
• 06/12/13 Climate activists are resigned to the inevitable
• 06/11/13 The secrecy backlash leaks were inevitable.
• 06/06/13 All in the White House family
• 06/03/13 Holder stewing in his own juices
• 06/03/13 Cleaning up D.C.'s house
• 05/27/13 Where money talks
• 05/23/13The IRS passes the buck
• 05/22/13 In AP, Rosen investigations, government makes criminals of reporters
• 05/14/13 Obama's second-term blues set in
• 05/08/13 Child's play with the budget as Dems and Republicans battle
• 05/06/13 When governing is seen as a game, we all lose
• 05/02/13 Mark Sanford's comedy of errors
• 05/01/13 Presidential bystander: Obama has already lost control of his agenda
• 04/29/13 A Washington weekend of honor and dishonor
• 04/26/13 Conservatives rebel against GOP leaders
• 04/24/13 Military tribunals don't work
• 04/23/13 A lack of appetite for Sen. Mike Lee
• 04/17/13 Washington moves on
• 04/16/13 At Supreme Court, cookies and baseball bats
• 04/15/13 A Senate stirred by a message from the heart
• 04/12/13 Rand Paul goes to Howard University in peace, receives quiet
• 04/11/13 Libs get angry at prez's triangulation
• 04/13/13 The new protest recipe: Less disruption from demonstrators on the Left
• 04/08/13 Obama's feeble salary 'sacrifice'
• 04/04/13 Hagel pulls rank -- with caution -- on thinning the ranks
• 04/03/13 The NRA has effectively disarmed its critics
• 04/01/13 Obama on guns ---- he's missed his chance
• 03/22/13 Obama in Israel: The presidential tourist
• 03/21/13 On Syria, Iraq's shadow is long
• 03/20/13 Standing with Rand, nervously
• 03/19/13 The Grand Old Punt
• 03/18/13 Conservative Confab Turns Into A Three-Day Therapy Session
• 03/14/13 Republicans go after Obamacare. Again.
• 03/13/13 Paul Ryan's magical budget
• 03/12/13 The limits of charm
• 03/04/13 The same old song: In Washington, everyone fights rather than solves
• 02/26/13 Sequester? No problem. To the moon!
• 02/25/13 GOP governors make peace with Obamacare
• 02/21/13 For Jesse Jackson Jr., the rules do apply
• 02/20/13 A grand bargain on life support
• 02/18/13 Lindsey Graham's no deal
• 02/14/13 A Lew-dicrous loophole
• 02/13/13 Let the bleak times roll
• 02/12/13 Senator of the evening: Bob Menendez has been selling his influence
• 02/11/13 'Trust me' is not enough on drone warfare
• 02/07/13 Chip off the Paul block: How will Rand separate from his father?
• 02/06/13 Empty talk, happy talk
• 02/05/13 John Kerry, finally where he belongs
• 02/04/13 With a friend like Jim Inhofe ...
• 01/29/13 Rubio's immigration 'reality' show
• 01/27/13 Ryan And Pence Represent Polar Opposites Of GOP
• 01/24/13 Congress's daffy duck saga
• 01/22/13 So much for unity: Obama's speech failed to rise to the moment
• 01/21/13 Less an inauguration than a tepid rerun
• 01/03/13 The GOP's savior
• 01/03/13 Boehner defined by a Sandy sidestep
• 12/21/12 Obama in focus, yet all over the map
• 12/20/12 A deal or a mutiny
• 12/13/12 Joe Lieberman's sad send-off
• 12/10/12 Post-thought think tank: Why DeMint and Heritage are a perfect pair
• 12/06/12 Republicans wave the white flag
• 12/05/12 Romney's last duty
• 12/04/12 Obama's poor efforts at transparency
• 12/03/12 The urge to purge: Rational Republicans defy purists at their own peril
• 11/30/12 The naked 'fiscal' truth: Lawmakers can't hide the lack of progress
• 11/28/12 Santorum's new cause: opposing the disabled
• 11/20/12 Norquist in defeat
• 11/19/12 Susan Rice's tarnished resume
• 11/15/12 Let those poor states secede
• 11/12/12 Whole lot of blaming going on
• 11/08/12 At Romney headquarters, the defeat of the 1 percent
• 11/07/12 Why I voted Republican
• 11/06/12 Romney's new tune
• 11/01/12 The Supreme Court's dog-day afternoon
• 10/31/12 A perfect political storm
• 10/29/12 Behind the Clinton 'bromance,' a stealth campaign
• 10/25/12 A Trumped-up bomb
• 10/24/12 Groupthink Live: How conventional wisdom congeals in 2012
• 10/23/12 The sound of worldviews not colliding
• 10/22/12 The tea party is helping Dems
• 10/18/12 Moderate Mitt wins conservatives' blessings
• 10/16/12 Reid's latest salvos are beneath the dignity of his office
• 10/08/12 Obama pays price for ducking the questions
• 10/05/12 Mitt Romney holds his own -- and then some -- in first debate
• 10/03//12 The Zinger candidacy --- all sugary platitudes, no protein
• 09/25/12 Obama makes room for 'The View'
• 08/17/12 Hateful speech on 'hate' groups: The Family Research Council is no KKK
• 08/16/12 Now Dems are employing harsh tactics
• 08/14/12 Paul Ryan on soapbox at Iowa State Fair
• 08/13/12 Romney's welfare gambit
• 08/07/12 Harry Reid's latest broadside
• 07/26/12 Romney can't have it both ways on defense spending, tax cuts
• 07/19/12 Ron Paul, fed up
• 07/17/12 The rotten results of one-party rule
• 07/11/12 The missing giants of the Senate
• 07/09/12 Representative Gaffe
• 07/02/12 The umpire strikes back
• 06/25/12 Norquist delivers the GOP's marching orders
• 06/19/12 The left, feeling left out
• 06/18/12 Skip the falsehoods, Mr. President, and give us a plan
• 06/15/12 The Wall Street Senate
• 06/13/12 Jeb Bush's heresy
• 06/12/12 Pileup at the White House
• 06/11/12 Obama's fate could be in Europe's hands
• 06/04/12 Welcome to Camp Competitive
• 05/31/12 Digging a racial grave
• 05/30/12 A new conspiracy theory: Is Romney a unicorn?
• 05/29/12 Do Republicans really want to clone one for the Gipper?
• 05/24/12 Obama's protectors are under the microscope
• 05/22/12 Obama's Old World mess: Allies are coming up short at a key moment
• 05/16/12 Where have all the candidates gone?
• 05/15/12 Barack Obama, the first female president
• 05/14/12 Irrationality wins: Voter cure for Congress's failures will likely backfire
• 05/08/12 Obama's marriage mess: His advisers scramble to clean up his 'evolution'
• 05/07/12 Taking out Dick Lugar
• 05/03/12 Gingrich may have ended campaign, but he will remain out of this world
• 05/02/12 Our do-almost-nothing Congress
• 05/01/12 President Obama, campaigner in chief
• 04/25/12 Romney's immigration Etch a Sketch
• 04/23/12 A congressional deal on immigration? Dream on
• 04/19/12 Dems battle back against Republican 'war on women'
• 04/18/12 Debauchery: An American govermental specialty
• 04/17/12 Silent witness
• 04/12/12 Rebuffing Obama's gimmicky 'Buffett Rule'
• 04/11/12 Santorum's Gettysburg surrender
• 04/09/12 The facts vs. Mitt Romney
• 04/06/12 Mitt Romney, talking to the press, keeps the press at a distance
• 04/05/12 From tracking al-Qaeda to tracking the wayward spouse
• 04/04/12 Budget cuts as back-door deregulation
• 03/26/12 My pet Mitt
• 03/22/12 Mitt Romney's latest gaffe may be etched in history
• 03/20/12 Supreme Court conceives of life after death
• 03/15/12 Conservative for Obama: The British PM as campaign prop
• 03/14/12 In Section 60, a silent search for meaning
• 03/13/12 Super Friends, unite
• 03/12/12 It's time to believe: Romney's a winner
• 03/07/12 Settling in to Washington's ways
• 03/06/12 AIPAC beats the drums of war
• 03/05/12 Did Republicans forget the women's vote?
• 02/29/12 Mitt Romney's acceptance speech, in (mostly) his own words
• 02/28/12 Common ground becomes a great divide
• 02/27/12 An expert witness for the GOP gender gap
• 02/21/12 Where Romney shines
• 02/15/12 A Republican death wish?
• 02/14/12Obama's budget games
• 02/13/12 Are GOPers playing right into Obama's hands?
• 02/08/12 Obama pumps the compressor of Joe Hudy's Extreme Marshmallow Cannon
• 02/07/12 Abramoff's atonement
• 02/01/12 Why we in the media just love Newt
• 01/31/12 The end of the road for Newt Gingrich?
• 01/25/12 Gingrich is Obama's best surrogate
• 01/24/12 Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney's attack dog
• 01/16/12 Mitt Romney's Al Gore problem
• 01/12/12 Kamikaze Gingrich, on the loose in South Carolina
• 01/11/12 Journalists' campaign trail secrets revealed
• 01/10/12 Mitt Romney's money problem
• 01/09/12 Newtonian exceptionalism
• 01/05/12 Mitt Romney out of control
• 01/04/12 Indecision 2012: In Iowa and the GOP
• 01/03/12 Rick Santorum's curious closing argument
• 12/28/11 A few cracks in my crystal ball
• 12/23/11 A few cracks in my crystal ball
• 12/20/11 Strange brews and views?
• 12/19/11 Cellphone ban would be a distraction
• 12/15/11 Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and the Malfunction Minuet
• 12/14/11 The presidential auction of 2012
• 12/12/11 Newt's tactics comes back to haunt him
• 12/06/11 Can an anthem save Occupy non-movement?
• 12/05/11 The winner of the GOP campaign: Washington
• 11/30/11 Barney the bully: Congressman Frank's other legacy
• 11/23/11 Jon Kyl's search-and-destroy mission
• 11/21/11 Pay to play, brought to you by Washington
• 11/17/11 Big enough to save the supercommittee?
• 11/16/11 Why Newt Gingrich won't last
• 11/08/11 The 2012 campaign gets seedier
• 11/06/11 A Machiavellian model for Obama
• 11/03/11 The Herman Cain crack-up
• 11/01/11 Cain can --- he will survive
• 10/27/11 Stuntmen of the supercommittee
• 10/26/11 Democrats on the sidelines
• 10/24/11 Rick Perry's birther Parade
• 10/24/11 The birthers eat their own
• 10/19/11 The GOP's middle man
• 10/17/11 The waiting for nothing Congress
• 10/12/11 Sparsely occupied D.C.: Why the movement hasn't caught on
• 10/10/11 Can Obama strike an alliance with Occupy Wall Street?
• 10/06/11 Chris Christie, such a presidential tease
• 10/05/11 Obama and his foot soldiers go toe to toe
• 09/28/11 Cain could deliver
• 09/26/11 Republicans? Mr. Nice Guys?
• 09/22/11 Why Ron Paul is winning the GOP primary
• 09/21/11 I am a job creator who creates no jobs
• 09/20/11 Obama launches a revolution
• 09/19/11 Dems for Romney?
• 09/14/11 ‘Supercommittee’? More than stupor committee
• 09/07/11 Mitt Romney finds his (corporate) voice
• 09/01/11 The infallible Dick Cheney
• 08/31/11 This liberal says Perry is the ultimate conservative candidate
• 08/29/11 Wanted: More bite from Obama the Great Nibbler
• 08/10/11 How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots
• 08/09/11 The most powerful man on Earth?
• 08/08/11 The FAA shutdown and the new rules of Washington
• 08/04/11 Lt. Col. Allen West fires a round at the Tea Party
• 08/03/11 Government on autopilot
• 08/02/11 Dems mourn debt deal like death
• 07/27/11 Life imitates sport
• 07/26/11 Obama and Boehner take on Washington
• 07/21/11 Why Americans are angry at Congress
• 07/20/11 The new party of Reagan
• 07/18/11 Rob Portman, the boring Midwesterner who could bring sanity to the debt debate
• 07/13/11 John Boehner's bind
• 07/04/11 Stephen Colbert, Karl Rove and the mockery of campaign finance
• 07/01/11 President Puts Up His Dukes, As He Ought To
• 06/28/11 Rod Blagojevich verdict: All shook up
• 06/27/11 Progressives voice their anger at Obama
• 06/24/11 Mission accomplished, Obama style
• 06/22/11 Jon Huntsman's first step toward oblivion
• 06/21/11 Scott Walker finds making bumper stickers is easier than creating jobs
• 06/20/11 A day of awkwardness with Mitt Romney
• 06/06/11 Hubris and humility: Sarah Palin and Robert Gates on tour
• 06/02/11 The Weiner roast
• 06/01/11 Congress clocks in to clock out
• 05/30/11 Hermanator II: No More Mr. Gadfly
• 05/24/11 How Obama has empowered Netanyahu
• 05/24/11 Pawlenty bends his truth-telling
• 05/20/11 Default deniers say it's all a hoax
• 05/18/11: Gingrich gives voice to moderation
• 05/17/11: Donald Trump and the House of Horrors
• 05/16/11: The medical mystery of Mitt Romney
• 05/12/11: The body impolitic: Schock photos should tempt lawmakers to cover up
• 05/10/11: Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans
• 05/09/11: The GOP debate: America -- and the party -- needs the grown-ups
• 05/05/11: Mitch Daniels, an alternative to scary
• 05/03/11: Obama's victory lap
• 05/02/11: How the journalist prom got out of control
• 04/28/11: Obama's birther day: Why did he lower himself by appearing in the briefing room?
• 04/27/11: Obama, lost in thought
• 04/24/11: Andrew Breitbart and the rifts on the right
• 04/22/11: Ten Commandments for 2012
• 04/21/11: Obama likes Facebook. Facebook likes Obama.
• 04/18/11: Without Nancy Pelosi, Obama is adrift
• 04/15/11: If progressives ran the world
• 04/14/11: Faith in political apostasy
• 04/13/11: One man's revolution is another's political expediency
• 04/11/11: Shutdown theatrics
• 04/06/11: Paul Ryan's irresponsible budget
• 04/05/11: Robots in Congress? Yes, we replicant!
• 04/04/11: Robert Gibbs, Facebook and the White House corporate placement service
• 04/01/11: Haley Barbour, the fat cats' candidate
• 03/31/11: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
• 03/30/11: Coburn and Durbin, the dynamic duo of the debt crisis
• 03/28/11: The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
• 03/24/11: Dems as Weiners
• 03/23/11: Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling
• 03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
• 03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
• 03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
• 03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
• 03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
• 02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
• 02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
• 02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group