In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 28, 2010 / 20 Shevat 5770

Partisan Stimulus Poisoned the Well

By Jonah Goldberg

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Every president is subject to forces beyond his control. If unemployment were at 5 percent, President Obama would be doing fine. If the Christmas bomber's pants had exploded successfully, Obama would be in far worse shape.

Obama's progressive base thinks his problems stem from not being ambitious enough. Conservatives argue the opposite. And what about the independents who've been running from Obama like residents of Tokyo fleeing Godzilla? Everyone has a theory, but one thing is clear: People think Obama took his eye off the ball.

If there's a single event for which Obama himself is to blame, one decision that explains his predicament, it is his mishandling of the stimulus at the dawn of his administration. Put aside the debate over whether it has "worked," and forget the White House's absurd trick of talking about jobs "saved or created" (for the record, I save or create 500 push-ups every morning). Obama made a rookie mistake outsourcing his first major domestic policy decision to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the Old Bulls of the Democratic Party, and that blunder has done lasting damage to his presidency.

This time last year, there was a wide and deep consensus that the country needed a second stimulus (President Bush's first one of $152 billion was thrown down the memory hole). Many Republicans, licking their wounds after successive drubbings at the polls and fearful that prophecies of a generation "in the wilderness" might prove true, were either eager to side with the popular new president or were at least resigned to the fact that they might have to, particularly if Obama was going to honor his commitments to bipartisan governance. According to Gallup, Obama started with an initial approval rate of near 70 percent (a whopping 83 percent of Americans approved his transition efforts). When the public is divided 70-30 in favor of something, most politicians like to be on the side of 70.

Letter from JWR publisher

Politically, the stimulus offered the president a chance to break the back of the GOP, while at the same time fulfilling his promise to transcend the gridlock and partisanship of recent years. If he had offered something close to half-a-loaf to Republicans at the time, he wouldn't have won total GOP support, but he would have gotten a sizable chunk of their votes — enough for the White House to claim a real bipartisan victory and force a Republican buy-in to Obama's agenda. The climate going into the 2010 elections might look very different if the Republican Party had an ownership stake in Obama's economic policies.

But Obama went a different way (unlike Bush, who started his presidency with the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act). He outsourced the entire $787 billion stimulus (now estimated to cost $862 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office), to House and Senate Democrats, who had a "40-year wish list" — in the words of The Wall Street Journal — and there were no Republican ideas in it. As Pelosi said at the time, "We won the election. We wrote the bill." Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told me (as he headed to the GOP's retreat in Baltimore last weekend) it was clear from the outset that Democrats "made a decision from the get-go. Freeze out Republicans."

Democrats contend that Republicans refused to work with them on the stimulus but that they incorporated "Republican ideas" in the form of "tax cuts." The facts don't support this. Pelosi introduced the stimulus bill the night before Obama even met with Republicans to solicit their ideas. When the GOP presented Obama a list of proposals, they never left the paper they were printed on. Obama embraced the Democratic bill, which had no Republican input.

Nor did it have "Republican ideas" in it. The bulk of the "tax cuts" — touted by Obama in the State of the Union last week — were actually micromanaging, Keynesian "rebates," or what Ryan calls "spending through the tax code." Regardless, if you want hot dogs on the menu and the cook serves tofurkey soydogs, it's really not right to say the chef incorporated your ideas.

Wrong or not, the Republicans were sufficiently appalled by both the substance and the process of the stimulus that they united against it, as did the public. The pork, fake ZIP codes and spending on items never intended to stimulate the economy fueled the migration of independents from Obama and set the tone for his first year: Bipartisanship was out; phony partisan spin was in. As a result, the GOP learned that opposing Obama was not a losing proposition, but potentially a path back to power. Obviously, Obama would be in better shape if the Republicans hadn't learned that lesson so early.

A year ago, the GOP was more irritant than opposition. Now it is a major force, completely outside his control.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006 TMS