In this issue
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 Feb. 3, 2006 / 5 Shevat, 5766

Brilliant foreign policy and listless domestic policy

By Tony Snow

Tony Snow
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Bush distilled the essence of his presidency in this year's State of the Union Address: brilliant foreign policy and listless domestic policy.

Perhaps one should expect some lassitude on the home front. It happens often to presidencies at this stage, and it is both a testament and a curse that George W. Bush's people refuse to leave his side. He inspires loyalty and confidence. But over time, even the best burn out — or worse, lose their capacity to tell the boss, "Sir, that idea stinks."

This year's presidential clunkers included an energy policy filled with stuff that even Jimmy Carter abandoned. Declaring the nation "addicted to oil," the president suggested that a spending-addicted Congress take more of the public's money. He requested a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research for technologies that have been attached to the federal udder for decades — "zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy."

Having adopted the theory that Uncle Sam can become the father of innovation, the president cooed about "cutting-edge methods of producing methanol," and then outlined a plan that would transform yard clippings into motor fuel. The "bold" part was to predict that we'll see ethanol-fueled cars all over the place in about six years — and to recommend that the United States reduce its dependence on Middle East oil by 75 percent over the next 20 years.

It is as if some huckster got the chief executive's ear and told him about the can't-miss investment of the future: cellulose fermentation. Impressed, the president wants everybody to invest. It's like a chain letter, only compulsory.

In the same vein, the president announced an American Competitiveness Initiative that would pour more federal money (that spending addiction again) into scientific research, a research and development tax credit (for "bolder private-sector investment") and 100,000 new teachers. This is Clintonism, pure and simple.

None of this seems conservative. Why, for instance, should taxpayers underwrite energy or scientific research when, by the president's reckoning, the market's ready to jump at these wondrous things right now? Why not let the markets work their own magic, propelled by the boldest of all inspirations, the motivation to get stinking rich?

Recall the Federal Genome Project. This program was designed to harness the genius of the nation's foremost genetic researchers and decode the human genome. Off it sped, spending tens of millions of dollars — only to get beat to the punch by Celeron, a small company that got the job done at less than a tenth of the cost and a small fraction of the time.

The president's speech was equally remarkable for what it did not include: The president didn't mention school choice. He didn't utter the words, "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Ditto for "tax reform," "out-of-control spending" and "veto" (other than a disingenuous request for a line-item veto).

On the most visionary domestic idea of this presidency — the long-overdue overhaul of Social Security — he tossed in the towel, recommending a "commission" to study "the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid." We don't need a commission. Here's the answer: Baby boomers will break the bank.

The recommendation seems like an act of surrender. Just imagine the bumper sticker: "Vote Republican. Get Commissions!" There is a bright side, though. The commission plan does seem to concede the point that the Medicare reforms passed a couple of years ago are dogs, and need a big overhaul as well.

The president tried to wrap these initiatives up in a bundle called "the hopeful society" — a phrase almost as infelicitous as the oil-addiction line. To be hopeful is to dream of deliverance from misery or weakness; it is to feel that one has minimal power over one's fate. The sense of helplessness and the plea for white-horse government intervention may explain why Democrats adored these parts of the speech.

Make no mistake: Despite the shortcomings in the speech, George W. Bush is the only figure who counts in American politics. On the seminal issues of national security and global destiny, he positively dwarfs the political opposition.

This is why the timid domestic policy seems so puzzling. George W. Bush, the man who likes big ideas and loathes "miniball," ought to be thriving. Americans want boldness. They want someone who will take a machete to the budget and challenge the old ways with passion. They want policies that acknowledge our native brashness and enterprise, and promise to set it loose on a yearning world.

For now, however, they'll have to settle for dreams of filling their gas tanks with rotted corn stalks.

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.

Comment on JWR contributor, and syndicated talk show host, Tony Snow's column by clicking here.

Tony Snow Archives

© 2005, Creators Syndicate, Inc