Friday, May 19, 2006


It is essential that we as American hold ourselves to a higher standard. It is even nice, in a way, that the rest of the world expects more of us, too. But Victor Davis Hanson points out that too many around the world have hijacked those high expectations and turned them into consistent and senseless anti-Americanism. Hanson offers some solutions to this problem in one of his best columns in a while.

Also on the issue of perceptions, Jonah Goldberg muses on President Bush getting no credit for the strong economy. Rather than get too upset about the unfairness of it all, Goldberg goes in a different direction:

So here’s where I hope to find a pony amidst all the manure. The idea that any White House “creates” jobs is absurd and always has been. Alas, there is no machine in the West Wing basement churning out job openings for welders and ophthalmologists. The $12 trillion American economy is too big, too diverse and too complicated for the government to “run.” Sure, economic policy matters, but the crude standard often used by politicians, political reporters and Hollywood betrays their belief in the cult of governmental power. On the (finally) canceled TV show The West Wing, the economy was like some giant machine humming along, as long as the right man was at the controls. It doesn’t work like that. If Bush’s plight helps Americans recognize this, the pasting might be worth it.
I get where he is going with this argument and I understand that there are space limitations for op-eds, but let's be clear that while the government can't run the economy, it can certainly effect it through taxes, restrictions, regulations, and so on. Goldberg's absolutely right not to put everything on presidents, but that doesn't mean we can't put anything on them.


dcat said...

The problem is that conservatives who tried to say that president Clinton had nothing to do with the prosperity of the 1990s are now trying to claim credit for what they claim is a healthy economy. Of course, if you have a friend who makes $40k and he has $25k in credit card debt, is he really in a healthy way economically? the answer is no. Saying we have a healthy economy right now with the deficits we have rung up is beyond dishonest.

All that said, I am shocked that the administration is not doing more to flout the economy. Take a page from the democratic playbook, play up domestic affairs, and talk about the robust economy. That seems like politics 101. This administration cannot even trumpet one of the things it can sort of kind of claim to be good at.


Tom said...


That might be a legitimate criticism of conservatives, but in this case it is exactly not the point of Goldberg's column.

We do have a healthy economy--the deficits and national debt are obnoxious but not the only indicator.

This administration is absolutely inept at getting it's message out when there isn't a presidential election going on. Their inability or unwillingness to communicate is breathtaking.