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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 June 22, 2010 / 10 Tamuz 5770

Malaise All Over Again, Or: Is This Jimmy Carter's Second Term?

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Surely it's just my fallible memory, but I can't recall a presidential address that has fallen as flat as Barack Obama's last week, at least not since Jimmy Carter gave his (in)famous Malaise speech back in the dismal summer of 1979.

Without actually using that French-sounding word, which may have been the one mistake he avoided in that overwrought and overthought speech, that beleaguered president got his message across clearly enough: He was the victim of a crisis of confidence on the part of the American people.

And if we would just regain our spirit, all the other crises his administration faced would go away -- from gas lines to hyperinflation to the general feeling that no one was in charge. It was really our fault that he was proving such a failure.

Strangely enough, We the People didn't buy all that, maybe because we expected a president of the United States to take the lead in solving problems, not go on national television to psychoanalyze them, and us.

As it turned out, the American people did have a lot of confidence in themselves; it was their president they lacked confidence it -- a feeling that would be borne out by Mr. Carter's defeat in the next presidential election a year later by Ronald Reagan, the happiest warrior to occupy the White House since FDR.

Having campaigned on a promise to give America a government as good as its people, Jimmy Carter had come down from his mountaintop, specifically Camp David, where he'd spent two days getting advice from everybody in sight, to tell the American people that we weren't as good as his government. Which was a funny way to restore people's confidence.

If I recall correctly, it took a couple of days for the full force of public opinion to set in against that speech, and then descend on the White House like an avalanche of negative reactions.

Things happen much faster in these computerized, iPhoned, YouTubed times. Barack Obama had scarcely finished his speech last week about the oil spill and what a great job he'd been doing to contain it when the rotten tomatoes started flying. We've just never been that big on Malaise in this country; we would rather a leader tackled problems than analyze them.

Dr. Carter's diagnosis of the American psyche -- a bad case of Malaise -- might have gone over well in a different country. France, say, where they seem to enjoy contemplating the futility of things. What other people could have produced existentialism followed by deconstructionism and then early retirement? The French seem to luxuriate in La Tristesse, savoring every delectable, mournful sip. Like a good Beaujolais.

The end of every French movie I can remember seeing -- excuse me, the denouement -- has been: And They Lived Unhappily Ever After. And then everybody slowly drifts out of the movie theater sighing deeply, enveloped in a bittersweet self-satisfaction, absorbed in their own deep sensitivity. Ah, there's nothing like having one's cynicism borne out by events. Although it does tend to spoil the popcorn.

But that's just not the American way. We've got things to do, places to go, people to see, oil to trap, skim and vacuum. Lamentation just takes up too much good time that could be spent on, say, holding down a second job or playing in a garage band. Philosophy has never been our strong point; on the whole, we'd rather make money.

Rather than follow some ascetic creed, we prefer our faith on the positive side. He helps those who help themselves and all that. If we can't have a purpose-driven life, we'll settle for just a driven one.

But one thing we're not likely to settle for is a leader who analyzes instead of leads. Which may be the big reason the president's address Tuesday night fell flat as a flitter. Or as Mark Twain said of a different performance, it wasn't American, it wasn't un-American, it was ... French.

Our current president's much touted call to arms against the oil spill somehow managed to disappoint both left and right, and center, too. And even those who don't much follow politics. Talk about a comprehensive impact. Who says the man can't unite us?

Pragmatist or idealist or just innocent bystander, all seemed just a little miffed the morning after, or even the night before. The talking cure just doesn't seem to get it done this side of the Atlantic, or at least in flyover country, where introspection may be taken as just an early symptom of constipation.

Over here, we like our leaders chipper, especially when the roof is falling in. Think Churchill while the V-2s were raining down on London, Maggie Thatcher when she was reminding Bush I that now was no time to go wobbly, Ronald Reagan when he inherited the Carter Malaise but acted as if he had just been handed the lead in a musical comedy co-starring Jimmy Cagney -- and the happy ending was waiting in the very next reel.

There is much to be said for having an actor in the White House, preferably one who specialized in B-movies full of all-American melodrama. Maybe because American history is one heckuva screenplay itself.

So we were all waiting for the president to say what he was going to do about this sea of oil headed into the Gulf, but he seemed so ... detached. Removed. Cool, man. As if this were somebody else's problem, really. Which is what brought poor, out-of-his-depth Jimmy Carter to mind. The country doesn't need another president like that. But it seems to be getting one. The prospect is enough to fill most of us with ... malaise.

So could we please just fix this oily little matter, Mr. President, which ain't so little after all, before we start gazing fondly at our navels? There'll be plenty of time for philosophizing after this well has been safely plugged. Till then, let's concentrate on Job No. 1. And git 'er done. Then we can go back to arguing politics. Till then, the country could use a president who leads, follows or just gets out of the way. Instead it's got this ... community organizer.

Wake up, Mr. President!

Paul Greenberg Archives

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.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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