Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

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 March 16, 2012/ 22 Adar, 5772

Politics: A never-ending game of 'hot potato'

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Warning: What you are about to read is a deeply cynical view of the 2012 election. If you're looking for puppies and rainbows, check back with me another time.

Many conservatives feel like this is the most important election in our lifetimes because we desperately need to reverse the damage done by the Obama administration and get the economy moving again.

Indeed, each of the remaining GOP hopefuls makes some version of this argument. They will fix what Obama (or Washington) has broken. The president, meanwhile, like a little kid smashing a clock with a hammer, says he just needs a little more time to fix everything.

Now, I do in fact hold onto the view that presidents matter. But this is a more controversial view among conservatives than one might think, at least when it comes to economic policy. When looked at from the proper altitude, the notion that the president "runs" the economy is fairly ridiculous. The president doesn't have a "Create Jobs" button on his desk he can press.

But he does have a whole bunch of monkey wrenches he can throw into the economic machinery. Like a drunk blind guy with a blowtorch: there are infinite possibilities for making things worse, far fewer for making them better.

I think Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt turned a mere depression into the Great Depression. Not everything FDR did was bad, but very little in the New Deal made the economy better and much made it worse. This is a controversial position with many smart people on both sides of the proposition.

What is not controversial is that FDR got the political credit for ending the Depression, even though it really didn't end until he stopped trying to fix it, and the economy didn't boom until after he died. And, of course, Hoover got the blame for starting the Great Depression because it happened on his watch. To this day, Herbert Hoover remains politically radioactive.

Similarly, liberals continue to believe that big government policies are effective in no small part because they think FDR fixed the economy with the New Deal.

Here's the problem: If you look around the world, it turns out that whichever party came in to "fix" the Great Depression, after it was well under way, got credit for ending it. And whoever was in power when it started got the blame.

In 1932, American voters threw out the Republicans and the economy improved, so voters rewarded the Democrats. "In Britain and Australia," writes Princeton's Larry Bartels, "voters replaced Labor Governments with conservatives and the economy improved. In Sweden, voters replaced Conservatives with Liberals, then with Social Democrats, and the economy improved."

And so on. Whoever happened to be at the switch when things got a little better got rewarded. Bartels argues that if the recession of 1938 had come two years earlier during the 1936 presidential election -- allegedly the most ideologically realigning election of the 20th century -- FDR would almost certainly have been a one-termer. Similarly, if energy prices and the economy had improved late in 1980, Jimmy Carter might have been re-elected and today be remembered as a very successful president.

And while, President Obama is responsible for many bad policies, right now it seems his fate is directly related to the price of gas.

The lesson for 2012, for cynics at least, is not that Republicans should vote for Mitt Romney -- or any other Republican -- because his policies will create jobs and get the economy moving again. But that when the economy really gets moving again, Americans will ascribe those advances to Republican policies. Likewise, if Obama stays in office for another four years, odds are good -- though perhaps not great -- that the economy will eventually start to get better and Americans will give him credit for a rebound he in fact delayed more than created.

Now obviously it's all more complicated than this. Presidents do in fact do things that affect the long-term trajectory of the economy, for good or for ill. And they do other things that are very important too (Indeed, the idea that we elect presidents to "run" the economy is a very recent notion).

Still, there's reason to believe that ideological realignments in this country are not necessarily the product of careful analysis and rigorous reasoning. Rather, they are the result of people assigning blame to the guy that just happens to be in charge when the data hits the fan.

It's not exactly a St. Crispin's Day speech for partisans on either side, but it is a reason to care who wins, at least a little.

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

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles