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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Sept. 18, 2008 / 18 Elul 5768

Memo to Obama: Dumb it down

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This is the season of high political anxiety. After months in the lead, Sen. Barack Obama has slipped back in the polls to dead even with the Republican ticket of Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.



As we enter the season of highest political advice, here's my advice to the Democrats: Dumb it down.


I don't need to give that advice to the Republicans. They've been dumbing it down for years. That's why they keep winning.


Do I sound condescending? Do I sound like I am talking down to Joe and Josephine SixPack out there in working class America? No way. I come from working class America. I know. It takes smarts to dumb the issues down well enough to help people to make an intelligent choice.


Winston Churchill was condescending. "The best argument against democracy," he is widely quoted as saying, "is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."


But Churchill was old-fashioned. He apparently was raised, as I was, with the notion that voters in a democracy should seek the best and the brightest to run their governments. "Elites," in other words. Elite is a dirty word these days. It sounds too much like "elitist," which to most people is the same as a snob. Nobody likes snobs. Not even snobs.


Democrats too often have missed that point. Clark Clifford, a Democratic lawyer and Washington wise man, called Ronald Reagan an "amiable dunce." As if Reagan cared. The "amiable dunce" happily smiled his way through two presidential election victories, right into the history books as a conservative icon.


George W. Bush won re-election, too, although hardly anyone has associated him with the word "genius." His approval ratings since have fallen from around 80 percent after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to below 30 percent today. Yet the big message in his party's recent convention went sort of like this: Washington is messed up, so if you're looking for real change, vote for the same party that put you in this mess. The result, his party's ticket is well positioned to pull off a possible victory. Why? A big reason, as everyone seems to know these days, is how McCain-Palin has outmatched Obama's elegant charisma in winning the support of working-class white voters.


This is hardly a new problem for Democrats. Ever since the late 1960s, Republicans have achieved remarkable success with tagging Democrats as "limousine liberals," even when they don't have limousines. The term actually serves as shorthand for "people who are not like you" and "don't share your values." And, you know what? Sometimes the shorthand is accurate. It's not that Democrats don't share the values of ordinary hard-working Americans. It's just that their candidates sometimes have a hard time expressing those values.


That makes the upcoming debates an acid test for Obama. He has shown great eloquence at speeches but uneven performances in past debates. His college professor side tends to show. He gets too conversational. He does not speak in bumper stickers. His speech often hesitates and ponders too much — like someone who is still reconsidering their views. Debates are a time to speak not just eloquently but strategically. Even when you're uncertain, try to sound certain.


This problem showed itself almost painfully during a televised forum with McCain at the Saddleback Church in California in Obama's passionless answer to the question of when he thinks life begins. He said the answer was "above my pay grade." McCain simply said he believed life begins "at conception." The conservative crowd cheered. McCain won the moment by leaving the details of his belief, like his past support of embryonic stem cell research, for some other time.


Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis revealed a similar absence of human emotion when asked during a 1988 debate whether his opposition to capital punishment would change if his own wife were raped and murdered. With his passionless answer, he lost the evening. You don't have to be a snob to sound like one. Or a zombie.


Al Gore ran into a similar problem back in 2000. The Vice President obviously had a more confident command of the facts and policies than Texas Gov. George. W. Bush did. But Gore let his confidence get away from him. His audibly impatient sighs reminded many of the smarty-pants kid who could never let the rest of the class forget that he was the smartest kid in the school.


Bush, meanwhile, reminded everybody of the sociable but less-mentally-agile kid, the "amiable dunce" to whom everybody wanted to lend a hand.


That vision came to mind as I watched Governor Palin try to answer ABC's Charles Gibson's question about "the Bush doctrine." She obviously didn't know much about what Gibson was talking about, but she gave a decent boilerplate version of Bush's foreign policy. Synopsis: We got to get them terrorists.


That's the kind of answer voters tend to like. Short and strong. It sounds resolute, even if it lacks the nuance or flexibility that virtues like wisdom and experience bring. We Americans search candidates who share our values and at least sound like people who know what they are talking about. We get fooled a lot.

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.

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

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