Conversations with the morning paper | Bleader

Conversations with the morning paper



Jonah Goldberg
  • Jonah Goldberg
Jonah Goldberg begins his column in Thursday's Tribune with a tribute:

"One of my heroes, Irving Kristol, used to say there's nothing wrong with the country a bad recession couldn't fix."

Goldberg's column is headlined, "The upside of the downside." In adversity there is opportunity. With all due respect to Kristol, the idea is an ancient commonplace.

Proceeding with his meandering thoughts, Goldberg wends his way to Cornelius Vanderbilt, Edward Gibbons, and Rocky Balboa, and eventually to the butt of his scorn:

"When President Barack Obama came into office, his administration's mantra was 'a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.' This little prayer to cynicism masquerading as an idealistic insight was used to justify vast expansions of government."

The "mantra" is associated with Rahm Emanuel, who used to be Obama's chief of staff. But apparently it was coined by Stanford professor Paul Romer in 2004. And the idea wasn't original with Romer.

An op-ed column isn't a particularly long piece of writing, but before Goldberg's is over he seems to have lost track of its point, the cynical Obama crowd and his hero, Irving Kristol, having believed pretty much the same thing.