Home
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 May 27, 2011 / 23 Iyar, 5771

For 2012, it's Obama vs. the smoothies

By John Kass

John Kass


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Barack Obama moves as smoothly through a news cycle as Muhammad Ali once moved through a prize ring.

What separates them from so many pretenders is their silkiness and their pace.

So it's easy to see what worries Republicans, as GOP contenders fall away, one by one, rather than challenge Obama's re-election. It is style that makes prizefights, and it is style that makes political campaigns.

And the Republican Party establishment is now left to contemplate the fact that they're about to put their smoothies up against a guy who'll dance them to death.

It's John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever" vs. Fred Astaire in, well, anything. The president is Fred, if Fred is the guy who got Osama bin Laden.

That's a prescription for Obama winning re-election over some Republican smoothie.

He's prettier and more elusive, a trout finning behind a rock. Lunge after him and you'll miss.

And this week Obama was exceedingly cool, so loved in Ireland that he might as well sign his name O'Bama, and then on to dinner with the queen. All that will make campaign commercials, with Obama hitting all the food groups.

Meanwhile, Republican Mitt Romney, America's foremost political mannequin, tries to be smooth, with the hair, with the clothes, with his "Massachusetts Miracle." Even Romney's laugh is smooth, as if it were squeezed from a bottle.

And former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is a smoothie too. He's no Romney, to be sure, which is a plus. Pawlenty has some promise. He's got those blue-collar roots showing rather ostentatiously through all that establishment Republican rhetoric.

Pawlenty is always ready with hilarious Spam jokes, but a smoothie nevertheless.

Of course, I know there are many of you who'll tell me that it's the substance of political arguments, the weight of them, and the issues, that are more important than style. And I agree.

But I do remember years ago, telling an editor that great ideas would drive a campaign, particularly ideas about the size of government, the federal leviathan crowding the freedom of the individual and so on.

He shook his head, sighed, lit another smoke and told me to have another drink. Then he explained that what drives presidential politics isn't grand ideas, but rather how much money a voter has in his or her bank account, and what's in the family's grocery cart.

Of course, he was right. And I bit my lip.

But style is critically important too. If it weren't important, then an unremarkable back-bencher from the Illinois state Senate with Tony Rezko on his back wouldn't have become the world's political rock star in a few short years.

Style makes political campaigns. Just like style makes prizefights.

That's how the old-time fight guys explained how matchups sold tickets.

It was taught to me while covering the local prizefights, held on many weekends in a dilapidated banquet hall on the West Side of Chicago.

If they made a perfume of the venue, it would be bottled mildew and smoke. The carpet was red. There was a bar in the lobby. And everywhere you looked there were plaster statues of cupids filling the fountains without using their hands.

It was there — writing for the Italian-American sports paper, the Red, White & Green — that I learned that styles make fights.

For example, a short left-hook artist with skin like paper is matched against a jabber, a taller dancer with a good right hand. The dancer keeps him away, jabbing. By the sixth round, the slugger is bright with blood, but that hook keeps the crowd interested and hungry.

Two smooth counterpunchers often make a boring fight, with each waiting for the other to throw. The people in the crowd lose interest. Their minds begin to drift. They know what will happen.

The fighter with the best feet wins.

And who has the best feet?

They belong to that skinny kid from Chicago.

Pawlenty is interesting, and I could be wrong, but I just don't see him doing it. As for Romney, he's yesterday's news. Obama will absolutely tear him up.

Mike Huckabee didn't want to fight. He'd rather do TV. And Sarah Palin? She was once perceived as dangerous, which is why she was savaged by the political left. But the survival show and that Mama Grizzly act have ruined her for serious work. She's showbiz now.

The Republican who would have had a legitimate chance was Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

He wasn't about being smooth. Short and bald, he had less charisma than that can of creamed corn in the back of your pantry. But he had something. He had weight.

Daniels was about the deficit and the debt and what he called "the red menace." And this resonated with conservatives and independents.

Unfortunately, Daniels has withdrawn, pulling the plug on the campaign over the weekend. His wife didn't want what was coming to her through the media. And it was coming.

The couple had separated, divorced, she married another man, but they reconciled and got back together, became a family again, and raised their daughters together.

Who can blame her?

And that leaves the smoothies. But they're not nearly smooth enough.

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.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.



Previously:



05/05/11: Is it time to de-friend Pakistan?
04/12/11: China stretches the bounds of decency with cow-human-breast milk
03/23/11: No you're not in control; get over it
02/28/11: Chicago wanted a strongman, and it got one
01/26/11: Oh, c'mon, c'mon, Rahm-bo a victim? That's a stretch
12/13/10: WikiLeaks and Assange pretend there are no consequences
12/09/10: Trendy toys don't stand up to playthings of yore
10/11/10: Obama and his pals need some scarce Hopium for the next election
09/14/10: Obama gets a little bossy with tacit endorsement of Emanuel
08/18/10: Dead Meat walking, but heat to be applied again
07/28/10: No verdict, but Blagojevich trial still has its winners, losers
07/26/10: Obama's fall guy in Shirley Sherrod case is Vilsack the Pooh
07/21/10: Loathing of Steinbrenner softens after his death
07/19/10: Summertime, and the race cards are easy
06/28/10: Does Congress have the guts to fix what court gutted? Honestly, no
12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
09/27/09: ACORN can teach the GOP a thing or 2
09/03/09: Blago as author gets it wrong yet again 06/22/09: Obama's latest political play should shock no one
06/17/09: Presidential satire takes Hopium break
06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2011, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles