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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 July 16, 2009 / 24 Tamuz 5769

Presidents Aren't What They Used to Be

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | From 1933 to 1960, America had nearly three decades of fairly successful presidencies — through the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the threat of nuclear Armageddon.


Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower were all re-elected. While contemporaries were critical of all three, they proved successful, stable executives.


In Roman times, the equivalent would have been the period of the "Five Good Emperors." The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon famously remarked of the reigns of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, between the years 96 and 180 that theirs was a time when "the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous." This was lost with the succession of the erratic and unstable Emperor Commodus.


In contrast, there has been no such stability during the last 50 years in this country, even as we have become ever more wealthy.


John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Lyndon Johnson was destroyed by Vietnam and did not seek re-election in 1968. An impeached Richard Nixon resigned. Gerald Ford was neither elected nor re-elected. Jimmy Carter was gone after one term — leaving office with a world abroad more dangerous and this country less affluent.


Twice-elected Ronald Reagan sought a renaissance of American order and stability, but by 1986 was caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal. George Bush Sr. was a one-term president who could not galvanize the country.


Bill Clinton was impeached and mired in scandal. The younger George Bush, like Clinton, served two terms but ended his presidency unpopular amid record deficits and incriminations over Iraq.


Now, the once-messianic Obama after six months is already experiencing sinking approval ratings — perhaps because his first budget is $2 trillion in the red, with trillions more in debt to come.


Is the problem with recent administrations that our presidents do not measure up to a FDR, Truman or Eisenhower? Or have we the voters ourselves become more unstable than our grandfathers? Or is it that the world itself has radically changed what we look for — or need — in our presidents?


By 1960, the United States had become more urban and affluent. Voters began to assume that someone owed us the good life. In contrast, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower had struggled to offer only an equality of opportunity to all: the beginning of civil rights, fair labor laws, overtime pay, disability and unemployment insurance.


But in the next half-century, that limited agenda morphed into one of a promised equality of result. Government grew to meet always-greater demands.


Then the larger world changed as well. High technology meant that the old radio and print news turned into a 24/7 video stream on the Internet and cable television.


Roosevelt was with his mistress when he fell fatally ill at Warm Springs, Ga. Can you imagine how that would have been covered today? Dwight Eisenhower during the war years had a close relationship with his young female chauffeur that today would be daily blog fare. Truman's old Missouri-machine politics were every bit as dubious as Obama's Chicago pedigree — but largely forgotten when he became president.


Apparently a prior, more gentlemanly media had neither the access nor the technology — nor the desire — to remind us that our presidents were all too human.


In addition, our contemporary commanders-in-chief have had to be "global fixers" as much as American presidents. An AIDS epidemic in Africa, for example, would have beyond the ability of Roosevelt to do much about.


Today in a more crowded, more interdependent world, an American president is a sort of global CEO who can misstep in ways unknown last century.


But the nature of our leaders themselves has also changed. Recent chief executives certainly seem to have less stature. Harry Truman was outspoken, but Johnson was vulgarly so. Eisenhower wanted to balance the budget, but not in the manner of conservatives like Reagan and the Bushes, who worried less about the resulting spiraling federal deficits. A bald, bespectacled Truman or Eisenhower could not imagine the "cool" of John Kennedy, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.


Roosevelt fought polio. Truman was once broke and throughout his life remained a common man. Eisenhower led millions of soldiers. In contrast, Johnson and Nixon were known first as political manipulators. The Bushes were born into splendor. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at very early ages plugged into the Ivy League and soon after never left the government gravy train.


In sum, we have changed. The world is also different. And the types we now elect as our presidents are not like those men of the past. No wonder they seem now more like the mercurial Roman emperor Commodus than the sober Marcus Aurelius — the last of an era.

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.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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