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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 Oct. 7, 2013/ 3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

That was then ... when politics required thought

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was so long ago that a new young senator from Illinois named Barack Obama might have been mistaken for an idealist.

It was so long ago that the usual naifs thought the little potboiler of a book he wrote, a thinly disguised campaign biography covered in political clichés, was an eloquent appeal to principle. It was so long ago that its title, "The Audacity of Hope," hadn't yet made audacity and hope sound ironic in his mouth.

This was how long ago it was: Barack Obama was still defending bipartisanship instead of just lambasting the opposition whenever he was asked to compromise. "Genuine bipartisanship," he told us back then, "assumes an honest process of give-and take, and that the quality of compromise is measured by how well it serves some agreed-upon goal, whether better schools or lower deficits."

That's right: It was so long ago that Barack Obama was talking about better schools, not just more and more teachers, and lower deficits, not just raising the ceiling on the national debt.

It was so long ago that a younger and still appealing Barack Obama could add that real bipartisanship "assumes the majority will be constrained -- by an exacting press corps and ultimately an informed electorate -- to negotiate in good faith."

But that was before the well-trained cadre that is the Washington press corps could be trusted to use a phrase like "a clean spending bill" without any compunction or even awareness of its bias. A modern day George Orwell would have spotted that bit of newspeak immediately as a prime example of the corruption of language by politics, and probably included it any new edition of his classic essay, "Politics and the English Language."



It was so long ago that a young Sen. Obama's "informed electorate" would never have let an older President Obama get away with summoning the leaders of the opposition to the White House for negotiations so they -- and the country -- could be informed that he wasn't about to negotiate.

It was so long ago that the country might have expected that the president who had written those idealistic words about the need for genuine bipartisanship would govern in the moderate mode of an Eisenhower, or like that of the two Bushes, or even adopt the now paradigmatic example of Ronald Reagan's negotiating technique. The Gipper would meet regularly with Tip O'Neill, the Speaker of the House at the time, for a libation and negotiation at the end of the day. Both the Hollywood actor, a master of B-movie American myth, and the old-fashioned Boston pol knew how the game was played -- and how the country was governed. Both knew when to orate and when to shut up and deal.

But that was all so long ago. Now that once-convivial political air has been replaced by a great cloud of nothing but talking points churned out by both sides and swarming like gnats on a late summer's eve over our nation's miasmal capital, blocking out any sight of the setting sun.

Now the innocents all around, those multitudes of wanna-be insiders, a low ambition indeed for citizens of a republic, solemnly repeat their side's talking points as if they meant something. Something besides "I'm just another groupthinker parroting the party line." Which party and which line scarcely matters if there is no exacting press or informed electorate to check our political reflexes in a political climate dominated for the dim moment by what Orwell called "the smelly little orthodoxies that are contending for our souls."

Meanwhile, the American people -- oh, yes, them -- still deserve a government that actually governs.



But this, too, will soon be long ago. And this impasse, too, will be gone, like any other passing plague of insects. Never give up on this country. It may have been Winston Churchill who said Americans can be counted on to do the right thing -- but only after we've tried everything else.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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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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