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 August 15, 2007 / 1 Elul, 5767

Rove and the failure of big-government conservatism

By Robert Robb

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Bush and Karl Rove, his principal political strategist, intended to create an enduring Republican governing majority during his tenure. Rove leaves the stage without that being accomplished, to put it mildly.

In 2006, Republicans lost the control of Congress they had been given by voters since 1994. (Democrats took over the Senate for a time in 2001 due to the defection of Jim Jeffords, who had been elected as a Republican.) Going into the 2008 election, polls indicate that voters prefer Democrats by overwhelming margins, to hold office and on a wide range of issues.

Unless something changes drastically, Republicans appeared headed toward having their national influence shrunk to 1960s levels.

What happened?

In large part, 9/11 and the Iraq war happened.

Bush was first elected in 2000 on primarily a domestic agenda. After 9/11, he became a self-described "war president." Attention and political resources were understandably and appropriately diverted from domestic issues.

The current protracted engagement in Iraq is fundamentally at odds with American instincts. We are willing to take action to bat back looming threats. However, we aren't comfortable trying to run or manage the affairs of other countries and peoples. We are, at root, still the peaceful trading nation the founders intended.

The Bush-Rove strategy to create an enduring Republican governing majority, however, was fundamentally flawed independent of the national security preoccupation and missteps.

Bush wanted to create such a majority by reconciling conservatism with an active federal government. A large federal presence would be accepted, even expanded, but redirected to the accomplishment of conservative goals. Some dubbed this "big-government conservatism."

The best example of the strategy in action was No Child Left Behind, Bush's signature first-term domestic accomplishment. The federal role in education was expanded, and funding increased, but in service to the conservative reform of accountability through testing.

Bush initially proposed to link a prescription drug benefit to Medicare reform. Instead of the federal government directly paying the medical bills of seniors, it would offer premium subsidies to purchase private health insurance. The administration flagged on reform, however, when congressional Republicans balked.

Changing Social Security from a system in which one generation pays the retirement benefits of the previous generation to one in which people save for their own retirement never got off the ground.

Republicans didn't do much on reform. But they certainly got big government down pat. And in the process revealed an important political truth: big government is inherently corrupting of conservative principles.

Under Bush, federal spending has increased twice as fast as it did under President Clinton. Republicans perfected the art of the earmark, federal money for local projects designated by members of Congress. The claim to be the party of spending discipline was thoroughly squandered.

Liberals and Democrats view themselves as the natural governing party in the United States. And they may be right.

Certainly conservatives seem more at home in opposition than in power. In the modern era, perhaps the natural role of the conservative party, if Republicans can regain that appellation, is to check the excesses of the liberal welfare and regulatory state.

There is reason to hope for more. There is always a tendency to accept the prevailing political currents as fixed. In American politics, however, they rarely are.

In the 1970s, there was nothing in polling or electoral trends to suggest that the era of Reagan was about to dawn. But it was.

Many young people appear to have a profound skepticism about government. Perhaps a conservatism re-rooted in libertarian instincts can fare better, once this political season inevitably passes.

Regardless, the Bush-Rove era has demonstrated that big-government conservatism is a failure, both as a political strategy and as a governing philosophy.

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

JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

Robert Robb Archives

© 2007, The Arizona Republic