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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 Nov. 15, 2005 / 13 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

Red plus blue equals purple

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This time last year — just after George W. Bush had won his second term — you would have thought the second Civil War was about to break out. I lost count of the number of times I heard the phrase "a country divided."


At first sight, last week's elections seemed to furnish further evidence that the red-blue divide is deepening.


None of the four propositions Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed was radically conservative. They were mainly designed to weaken the entrenched opposition he faces in California from the Democratic Party machine and the public-sector unions. That not one of them passed tells you something obvious but important: A majority of Californians are Democrats. So while it seemed like a nice idea two years ago to have another Republican movie star as a blue state governor, what worked for Ronald Reagan in the 1960s now looks hopeless.


Add to this the looming battle over President Bush's second-choice nominee for the Supreme Court, Samuel A. Alito Jr. — a judge whose conservative record is already causing liberal pressure groups to prophesy a return to the antebellum South — and it looks like the U.S. cultural cleavage is deepening.


Or does it?


One of the most striking things to a newcomer to the United States is how very like one another these allegedly divided Americans appear to be. If you fly the 2,588 miles from San Francisco to Miami, as I did last week, the thing that hits you is how fundamentally the same these two places are.


To prove my point, ask yourself where you would end up if you flew the same distance eastward from London. The answer is Baku, Azerbaijan. If an Australian flew 2,500 miles north from Perth, he'd be just short of Kuala Lumpur. Only consider the immense cultural differences that separate these places and you realize at once that the most amazing thing about the United States is not its polarization but its homogeneity.


That's also borne out by serious scrutiny of public opinion. In their book, "Culture War: The Myth of a Polarized America," Morris Fiorina, Samuel Abrams and Jeremy Pope comprehensively debunk the notion that American society is deeply divided. On numerous issues, which just don't get debated because consensus is taken for granted, Americans have quite similar views. Even on the issues about which the political class gets excited — abortion, homosexuality, religion — it's amazing how much middle ground there is.



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This makes sense for two reasons. First, look at the electoral map that breaks down last year's presidential election by county. There are very few parts of the United States that are bright red or true blue. Most of the nation is what you get when you mix the two colors together: a soggy purple.


The other proof is to compare American liberals with their European counterparts. Whether the issue is the economy or G-d, the former are significantly more conservative.


And that's why the real story this week wasn't Schwarzenegger's setbacks in California. It was Mike Bloomberg's landslide victory in his race for reelection as mayor of New York.


New York City is scarcely a Republican stronghold. Its many minorities traditionally have been reliable Democratic votes. Yet Bloomberg has demonstrated in this election that it's now possible for a GOP candidate to win votes across the racial and ethnic spectrum. He won the backing of nearly a third of the Latino voters and, even more remarkable, one of every two black voters.


Almost as interesting was the case of the Democratic candidate who knew how to win on "values." Challenged on his opposition to capital punishment by his rival in the Virginia gubernatorial race, Timothy M. Kaine responded that his personal views were rooted in his Catholic faith but that he would nevertheless enforce the law if he were elected. As a former missionary, Kaine had cast-iron credibility. Expect more faith-based Democratic campaigns in next year's congressional midterms.


That said, it's much too early for the Democrats to start preparing for power. Some unsuccessful Republican candidates are privately blaming their defeats on Bush's dismal recent performance. Seemingly unable to win his "war on terror" in Iraq, and not much more impressive in the "war on weather" back home, Bush is suddenly unloved.


When this happens to a British prime minister, there is a frenzy of speculation about leadership challenges. Not in the United States. Here, barring impeachment or assassination, every president has his sell-by date, and Bush's is the end of 2008.


No one knows who will succeed him, but despite all the talk of impending civil war, it won't be a new Abraham Lincoln. John McCain is a potential contender and, despite his denials, Bloomberg may have just entered the lists. For victory three years hence will surely go to whichever candidate appeals most to the nation's big purple center.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.

11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2005, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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