May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on
April 22, 2013
US man departing country arrested on terror charges
An unorthodox but growing treatment in a 9-year-old's battle against cancer
April 19, 2013
Caroline B. Glick:
Why Obama's visit to Israel had no impact on public opinion or government policy
Gold collapse: The start of something big?
Livable super-Earths? Two candidates among Kepler's latest finds
April 17, 2013
Too much of a good thing? 'Palestinians' realize downside of foreign aid boom
BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!
April 15, 2013
Egyptian Christians respond with harsh words to attack -- rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire -- against main cathedral
Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar:
High Court to decide if you should own your DNA
US bracing for more Russian blowback after taking action against 18 more human rights violators
April 12, 2013
New cybersecurity bill: Privacy threat or crucial band-aid?
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom:
The Kosher Gourmet by Susan Russo:
Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
April 10, 2013
North Korean missiles: Could US shoot them down?
Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets
Donald Hensrud, M.D.:
Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Take vitamin supplements with caution --- even approved, they may actually do damage
74 DNA discoveries move cure closer for three cancers
April 8, 2013
Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
Is Putin finally trading his own party for a new power base?
Jewish World Review
August 19, 2011
19 Menachem-Av, 5771
Wanted: Ideas That Work
If all politics were truly local, Tim Pawlenty might still be in the race. The former governor of Minnesota made the best offer to Iowans, promising to cook their dinner or mow their lawn. Of course, there was a catch. The winner of the dinner and a freshly clipped lawn had to come up with an example of something specific offered by President Obama to solve the economic mess.
It was a trick question because there are no examples. The political rhetoric this season has focused so far on what's not there from this administration. Despite his failure to attract conservative enthusiasm in Iowa, Pawlenty demonstrated both a serious side and a light touch in a time when polarizing trivia make up the substance, such as it is, of the "debates." Most of the rhetoric is little more than a repetitious leveling of ideas.
Pawlenty, in fact, had a lot more to show than Rep. Michele Bachmann, the winner of the Iowa straw poll. After all, he has actually governed a liberal state as a fiscal conservative, and for two terms. He ran behind a congresswoman from his own state, and that's the way it can work in the oddly structured early rounds of the Republican competition.
We're living with multitasking distractions, and the early televised political debates and straw vote are trivialities. You can arrive late and not miss much. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas figured his day-after rodeo-like presentation would get big attention, and he was right.
Iowa is the first test, but the debate offered little that's fresh. We watched, looking for real substance to take into 2012, but wound up with mere personality revelations. Newt Gingrich had a point when he chided moderator Chris Wallace to put away the "gotcha" questions, which is what the media do best.
"I'd love to see the rest of tonight's debate asking us about what we would do to lead an America whose president has failed to lead, instead of playing Mickey Mouse games," he said, and the audience cheered.
They loved it because no one was in a mood to listen to yet another explanation of why certain campaign workers defected from one campaign to another, the inside-baseball popcorn and Cracker Jacks on which reporters feed. Newt is an idea man, for better and worse, and he was trying to present his ideas with a big audience at hand. Chances are he won't have it for long.
Michele Bachmann, for all of her admirable passion, is hardly an original thinker. She wins because she runs on conservative social issues, but no one expects her to lead with a challenging intellect. She's a niche candidate who fares well before the arguments get complicated. She gets attention, but for one-note ideas, which she'll never be required to broaden.
The big question is: What kind of ideas is America ready to listen to and act on?
"Bold ideas are almost passe," writes Neal Gabler in The New York Times. Having written a biography of Walt Disney, he seems a bit jaded in his suggestion that we've been animated, automated and webbed-out into either trivial or greedy thinking, limiting ourselves to ideas that make money but do not make us think.
"We are living in an increasingly post-idea world," he says. "A world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can't instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value that few people are generating them and fewer outlets are disseminating, the Internet notwithstanding."
But that, it seems to me, gets it all wrong. Americans are wary of his kind of bold ideas, and for good reason. He cites Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Marshall McLuhan, among others, as examples of real thinking. Their ideas have been simplified and deified. Marxism led to brutal dictatorships, Freud took away human responsibility for personal behavior, and McLuhan was used to celebrate the medium as the message.
Gabler bemoans the impact of social networks as obstacles to thinking, but he's looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Never have so many people so quickly learned about ideas that directly affect them and their futures. Democracy, after all, is based on action by informed citizens. The Founding Fathers limited the vote to those who owned property, an idea that seemed a good idea at the time, and now those without property or even jobs can make their voices heard. The vote is a great equalizer, and the debates would be, too, if they were focused on specifics.
Is there someone out there who has those ideas? Send him — or her — to me, and I'll cook the dinner.
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 JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.
Suzanne Fields Archives
© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K