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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 Dec. 15, 2011 / 19 Kislev, 5772

Wonks on Parade

By Bob Tyrrell



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Do you recall in reading President Harry S. Truman's very good memoir, "Years of Trial and Hope: 1946-1952," his scholarly dissection of the Federal Reserve system and his discussion of low inflation's influence on relatively unstable growth? Actually, I don't either, and I read the book from cover to cover.

How about Dwight D. Eisenhower, the man who led our forces in vanquishing Hitler's war machine, became the first Supreme Commander of NATO and eventually president, serving until 1960? Do you remember his erudite discussions of domestic policy during his 1952 campaign? His plan to pare down the national debt with a temporary "surcharge" on the top 1.5 percent of income-earners? And then there was, of course, his education policy, which would include highly nutritious lunches to low-income students so the students would not be a burden on our healthcare system in future years? Well, I don't recall these discussions either.

Actually, I don't recall Eisenhower's talking in such wonky ways about anything, and I know Truman's memoir was devoid of the stuff. It read too well. Of course, today both Truman and Eisenhower would have to be really up to the highest wonk standards if they hoped to run against Barack Obama or Newt Gingrich.

For that matter, our greatest president since the sainted Franklin Delano Roosevelt (I speak of Ronald Reagan) was not a wonk at all. Nor were John F. Kennedy or Richard M. Nixon, and certainly not Lyndon B. Johnson. Jimmy Carter made a stab at being a wonk, but as with everything else, he failed. The real wonks came with the maturing of the 1960s generation, most notably Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, but there were also those curiosities: California's Jerry Brown and the ghost of the 1972 Democratic convention, Gary Hart. They are a little long in the tooth to be legitimate wonks of the 1960s generation, but they tried — as for a certitude, Brown was weird enough.

The true policy wonk is a juggler of facts and trends and "ideas" who came out of the 1960s to wow all of those whom he assaulted with his knowledge of government, society, the movies, rock 'n' roll and the cost of a gallon of milk. Wonks have ideas for income distribution, the value of the dollar, crime in the inner city, health care, the environment — whatever's in the headline at the moment.

They love to dream up policies for things whose policies are unclear. The problem of global warming? Cap and trade! Health care? Well, tax income at a certain percentage and apply the revenue to agreed-upon disbursements for earmarked segments of the population but with mandates that ... oh, forget about it. The health care monstrosity should have earned every wonk a price on his head.

With the 1960s generation came government policies for every aspect of the human condition and there has not been a good president elected since 1988. Barack Obama is the reductio ad absurdum of every policy wonk ever heard of.

Now steps forward Bill Clinton with a new book, "Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy." The presumption he attaches to the word "smart" is typical of him and his fellow wonks. Would Harry Truman or Dwight Eisenhower have the temerity to claim any of their policies as being smart? They wouldn't brag of their policies' stupidities, but they would leave it to someone else to appraise their policies' merits — and in the 1940s and 1950s, "smart" was a word associated more frequently with couture or tailoring than with policy. Both Harry and Ike were far better presidents than Bill, the guy who got himself impeached and trapped by a Republican majority in both houses, leaving him muttering that "the era of big government is over."

With this insufferable book of wonkish chatter, he has come forward and boasted of all that he achieved during his big-government-is-over days and proclaimed a future that will be dominated by the biggest government of all. It brings to mind another problem with wonks. Their wonkery is not rooted in principle or ethics. It is rooted only in their egos, which are fickle.

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.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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