3e Jonathan V. Last

Home
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 Nov. 13, 2008 / 15 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Climbing back from calamity

By Jonathan V. Last


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Enough celebrating. It's time for recriminations!

Of course, like all Americans, I wish President-elect Barack Obama well and hope his presidency is a success. Obama's campaign was impressive in many ways. Yet his election seems less an endorsement of his political beliefs - whatever they are - than a rejection, root and branch, of President Bush.

There's no question that Bush wrecked the Republican Party. In 2000, when he was elected, Republicans had 50 senators and a 10-seat edge in the House. He will go out behind the biggest Democratic presidential win since LBJ, with Republicans clinging to 40 Senate seats (as this went to press) and facing a 79-seat Democratic advantage in the House.

The GOP has been wrecked by presidents before. The question is whether Bush is Nixon or Hoover.

When Herbert Hoover was swept into the White House with 58 percent of the vote in 1928, Republicans held a 56-39 lead in the Senate and a whopping 267-163 advantage in the House. (Each chamber had one independent at the time, and Congress was smaller because there were only 48 states.)

Unlike Bush, Hoover lost re-election. His term was so disastrous that Democrats flipped Congress in just four years, taking over the Senate, 60-35, and the House with an incredible 310-117 margin. It would be 14 years before Republicans regained control of Congress and 20 years before they again held the presidency.

Richard M. Nixon's political legacy was not quite so calamitous. Like Bush, Nixon won a three-way election for his first term by a razor-thin margin. He came to power facing solid Democratic majorities in Congress: Democrats had 57 senators and a 53-seat edge in the House.

Eight years later, when Jimmy Carter beat Gerald R. Ford, those numbers ballooned. Democrats emerged from the Nixon years with 61 Senate seats and a 145-seat advantage in the House.

After Nixon's disgrace, however, it took only four years for Republicans to recapture the White House and the Senate. The House, meanwhile, stayed Democratic for 18 more years.

While the numbers at the end of Hoover's and Nixon's terms were similar, the damage they inflicted on the GOP was very different.

Hoover presided over the splintering of an electoral coalition that was never reassembled. He won the presidency with an alliance of prohibitionists, business boosters and isolationists. He described his platform as one of "rugged individualism." When Republicans returned to power a generation later, they were a different party.

In contrast, the consequences of Nixon's failures were largely personal. He was permanently disgraced, but his electoral coalition - social conservatives, anti-communists and free-marketeers - survived and even flourished once his ghost disappeared.

What will be the legacy of Bushism? Republicans are in bad shape, but they are better off than they were in either 1933 or 1977, at least by the numbers.

And there is still some hope that the GOP remains a viable governing party. The environment will never again be as hostile for Republicans or as fertile for Democrats.

After all, John McCain was saddled with two unpopular wars, a burst housing bubble, the highest gas prices in history, and an outgoing president with sub-30 percent approval ratings. The media worked tirelessly against him. Obama outspent him 2-to-1.

And yet McCain was actually leading in the polls until Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. collapsed in September, triggering the mother of all financial panics. Even with that anvil around his neck, McCain lost by only six points.

On the other hand, what's left of the Republican coalition that Bush rode to power? Bush campaigned as a center-right unifier who would be a good-government reformer. He governed as a pork-barrel cronyist who eagerly expanded the government in pursuit of political advantage.

And as for Iraq and Afghanistan - leaving aside any value judgments - wars always foster political peril for the party that prosecutes them. As Winston Churchill bitterly observed: "The shadow of victory is disillusion. The reaction from extreme effort is prostration. The aftermath even of successful war is long and bitter."

As a result, Bush left nearly every segment of his coalition - from the social conservatives to the fiscal conservatives, from the hawks to the realists - unhappy to the point of mutiny. It is unclear whether they will be united again or, as Republican rugged individualism did apres Hoover, dissolve into nothingness.

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.

Jonathan V. Last is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

11/03/08 Put aside candidates' faults and ponder their qualities 10/09/08 Regrettably, neither of the presidential hopefuls has a grasp on economic theory
09/22/08 Anti-abortion Democrats and global-warming Republicans are becoming increasingly important
09/09/08 On both sides, this year's political gatherings marked the start of changed strategies that have transformed the race
07/23/08 With policy shifts, Obama now seen as an ordinary pol
06/26/08 Bush failed to hold others responsible for their mistakes, and he let his admirable vice president do too much
02/18/08 GOP will unify as Obama and Clinton continue to vie
12/13/07 Fun begins as races tighten and shift
12/05/07 Iran's future: Would lower fertility rates lead to stability?
11/01/07 Nobel Prize in Economics — where Team USA still dominates the game
10/25/07 Handicapping the GOP's presidential horse race
10/11/07 Germany's Turks provide a lesson on immigration
09/13/07 British battle can offer us a perspective on casualties
09/12/07 Alas, GOP seems set to take hit in Senate
08/30/07 Europeans have supplanted backbones with capitulation
08/24/07 Politics holds the key to ensuring a healthy growth in population
08/17/07 Finessing the Democratic center
08/10/07 Woohoo! Satire seeing a revival
07/31/07 Historical model: For Obama, it's Carter
07/26/07 Baseball, apple pie, a 2nd chance
07/24/07 Harry Potter and the alchemy theory
07/06/07 Life is hard — and often short. The perils of professional wrestling
06/21/07 After Bush: Gingrich and others worry that his shortcomings could have a far-reaching effect on the GOP
03/09/07 Why the British outclass us in acting
01/23/07 Romney: Seriously great, but with baggage
12/23/06 When truth is transpicuous
12/05/06 A realistic plan: Split the country in two
11/08/06 We could easily pull out of Korea and let China have regional hegemony. But would it be the right thing?
10/24/06 The decline of revolution
10/18/06 Why the free market is king
08/07/06 Democracy, of itself, not solution to all problems
08/01/06 We get the movies we deserve
07/27/06 How long will U.S. empire last?


© 2006, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles