Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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. 12, 2013/ 9 Kislev, 5774

Scattered returns: As New Jersey goes, Virginia doesn't

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Only the most addicted political buffs will read much into the results of this year's off-off-year elections. But to the commentators, critics, climbers and just fans hooked on politics, a most powerful hallucinogenic, there may be all kinds of deep meanings hidden in last week's scattered returns. Political junkies need only peer into the murky depths and call forth deep significance -- like a gypsy fortune teller examining your palm and finding portents galore therein.

True seers tend to be those who claim not to be, like old Amos -- no, not Mr. Amos Jones, Owner and Operator of the Fresh Air Cab Company on the old "Amos 'n' Andy Show," but the one in the Old Testament. The one who claimed to be neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but just a simple shepherd who gathered a few acorns here and there. Even a blind hog may happen on one from time to time, like some hapless newspaper columnist peering through a thicket of disparate election returns looking for a pattern, any pattern, in all that undergrowth, or even a sign of things to come. It's great fun if you don't take it too seriously.

Last week's tea leaves/election returns may say a good deal more about the present than the future, and what they say, if anything, may depend on who's looking at them. To some of us they say the whole, mixed-up and deeply divided country has one thing in common: The American people are fed up with both political parties.

Call it a bipartisan disgust. Which is understandable. No sooner had Republicans taken most of the blame for shutting down the federal government than along came the great roll-out of Obamacare, which proved -- and is still proving -- a great fizzle.

Until the trainwreck that was Obamacare's debut, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia was favored to win Tuesday's election there by a landslide. But after Obamacare shuddered and stalled on the launching pad, the odds-on favorite in Virginia was lucky to eke out a win over his less-than-popular Republican opponent.

The saddest election returns, expected as they were, came out of New York City, where the voters elected a Democratic mayor for the first time in decades. Expected as they were, the election results in Gotham threaten to return the city to its pre-Rudy Giuliani period, when a succession of incompetent mayors ushered in a Hobbesian state of nature. Labor unions regularly paralyzed the city, the crime-ridden subway system was less public transit than public danger, whole neighborhoods were left to totter into decay, and municipal finances teetered on the edge of bankruptcy time and again.

Think of 1970s New York as a precursor to today's Detroit. Not until Rudy Giuliani, did a leader respond to the flashing Bat signal above a great city in deep distress.

Here's hoping New York's next mayor will have learned from that dreary history, but Bill de Blasio's campaign offered little but the old, worn-out slogans of the left. He came across as an Occupy Wall Street type, if better dressed. Utopian slogans have this way of producing only a dystopian reality. His election does not bode well, but New Yorkers are a hardy type and can survive even progressives.



The most hopeful election returns -- who'd a-thought it a few years back? -- came out of New Jersey, where Chris Christie won re-election as governor of New Jersey by the even more than expected landslide, and came out sounding like a presidential candidate in 2016. As an up-and-coming national figure, he exerts the peculiar charm of Tony Soprano combined with the rarest of abilities these days: He seems to know how to make government work.

Having overdosed on ideology, Americans would be delighted to settle for just plain competence. With maybe a dash of Fiorello LaGuardia on top. Imagine: balanced budgets, bipartisan teamwork, unity and efficiency in a crisis (as when Hurricane Sandy hit), all combined with the tough-guy appeal of a denizen of Joisey.

He's quite a character, this Christie -- a politician less devoted to high-flown rhetoric than just getting things done day after gritty day. Yet he seems to have a real zest for politics and life, for both campaigning and governing. In an era when so many Americans have grown disillusioned and cynical, Chris Christie still practices politics with gusto. The man seems to think it's fun. Some of us have missed that spirit.

It'll be interesting to see how the Chris Christie Show goes over once he leaves the East Coast and heads into the Republican heartland, into Rand Paul and Ted Cruz country. Can he win hearts-and-minds there the way Dwight Eisenhower once won over diehard fans of Robert A. Taft?

It's possible, especially if the right wing of the party proves as foresighted as Sen. Taft did in 1952. Convinced he'd been cheated out of the GOP's presidential nomination that year, and with some grounds for that conviction, Mr. Republican nevertheless went all-out for his former rival. He campaigned for Ike in 20 different states in the Midwest and West, rallying his sullen supporters till, they, too, would like Ike. He even tried (unsuccessfully) to get the imperious Douglas MacArthur to endorse Eisenhower that year. Caesars do not always take well to less pretentious successors.

It all worked out, as things in America will. Ike swept the presidential election, polling 55 percent of the popular vote, carrying all but nine states, and winning with 442 electoral votes to Adlai Stevenson's 89. And a fractured GOP emerged united and upbeat. There's nothing like the prospect of political victory to sweep aside ideological differences within a party.

In 1952, the country was even more deeply divided than it is today, and Americans were ready for peace, prosperity and a spell of good will -- which is just what Ike delivered. But by the fall of 1958, the GOP was in trouble again. The not so Grand Old Party was swamped in the congressional elections of that year, foretelling its defeat in the coming presidential contest of 1960.

It was at that low point in Republican fortunes that an aging prophet named Whittaker Chambers happened upon the perfect metaphor for the kind of true believers who would rather lose than win by compromising their most cherished obsessions in any way. In the dying autumn of that year, old Whittaker Chambers penned this still relevant diagnosis and warning in a letter to a promising young conservative editor named William F. Buckley:

"If the Republican Party cannot get some grip of the actual world we live in, and from it generalize and actively promote a program that means something to masses of people -- why, somebody else will. There will be nothing to argue. The voters will simply vote Republicans into singularity. The Republican Party will become like one of those dark little shops which apparently never sell anything. If, for any reason, you go in, you find, at the back, an old man, fingering for his own pleasure some oddments of cloth. Nobody wants to buy them, which is fine because the old man is not really interested in selling. He just likes to hold and to feel."

Whittaker Chambers could be writing today in the dismal aftermath of the not so Great Government Shutdown of 2013.

For the moment, GOP fortunes have been saved by the unraveling travesty called Obamacare, but the party cannot hope to regain its old strength solely on basis of the opposition's weakness. It must offer a positive alternative of its own, one that means something to the great majority of the American people. But are Republicans listening?

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.

© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast