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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 March 23, 2012/ 29 Adar, 5772

A Fawlty slip of the tongue

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There's a great old "Fawlty Towers" scene (if you're unfamiliar with the 1970s British sitcom, hie thyself to YouTube!) in which Basil Fawlty (John Cleese), an innkeeper, welcomes some German patrons. He gives explicit orders to everyone: "Don't mention the war!" He then proceeds to mention the uncomfortable subject of World War II over and over again.

In one scene, after blurting out references to the war a dozen times while seating the Germans at the restaurant, he says to his wife, "Listen, don't mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right." He then returns to the Germans' table to review their lunch order: "So! It's all forgotten now, and let's hear no more about it. So, that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering, and four Colditz salads."(

When one of the patrons begs him to stop talking about the war, Cleese responds, "Me? You started it!"

The German retorts, "We did not start it!" Cleese answers, "Yes you did! You invaded Poland."

The scene came to mind Wednesday when I saw an instantly infamous clip of Eric Fehrnstrom, Mitt Romney's communications director, comparing his candidate to a children's toy.

Asked by a CNN anchor if the primaries had forced Romney to tack "so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election," Ferhnstrom responded, "Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again."

Of course, the gaffe was overhyped by the media and by Romney's GOP rivals. And, yes, there's a perfectly plausible defense of Fehrnstrom's statement. Every presidential contest restarts once the nominee has been picked and the general election commences.

But Ferhnstrom should know that he shouldn't say anything -- and I mean anything -- that reinforces the idea that Romney is a flip-flopper, a people-pleaser, a weather vane or, now, an Etch A Sketch. It's less than a novel insight to note that Romney's greatest vulnerability is that he seems insincere and that it appears his commitment to conservatism is entirely tactical. Ferhnstrom should know this. He's the communications director, for Pete's sake. He's supposed to be the guy with the hose putting out fires, not throwing gas on them.

Fehrnstrom's Etch A Sketch gaffe would be akin to Newt Gingrich's communications director saying, "Who knows what Newt will actually do as president. If you haven't noticed, he's sort of crazy." It would be like Rick Santorum's spokesman saying, "Well, Rick's just talking this limited-government stuff until he gets elected. Once he's sworn in, he's going to take care of the gays, Day One." It's like White House Press Secretary Jay Carney saying, "Well, of course in his second term President Obama won't feel the need to hide his real socialist agenda -- or his relationship with Bill Ayers."

Every candidate has a weak spot, an inconvenient storyline he doesn't want magnified. Fehrnstrom's remark was simply malpractice, and while it would probably be unfair to judge the man by one misstatement, Romney would have been wise to fire him, or at least take him to the woodshed.

Barring that, he could have tried to make a joke about it.

As NBC's Chuck Todd suggested, he should have brought out a Magic 8-Ball and made light of the situation. Maybe he could have asked the toy, "Should I fire Eric?" Or he could bring out a Pet Rock and talk about how president Obama is about as useful in getting the economy going.

Every few years I write a column on one of my biggest peeves about GOP strategists and politicians: They read their stage direction, usually in an effort to suck up to political reporters. Some elder statesman-hack wonders aloud, usually anonymously, about whether the campaign will "go negative." Here's a tip: If you're going to go negative, go negative. Don't announce it.

Give the Democrats their due: They fake their outrage with more sincerity. Chuck Schumer never prefaces a comment: "I'm now about to make an entirely indefensible claim in order to trick the media into looking over there."

Of course Romney -- or any nominee -- will pivot to the center in a general election. Obama's been running for president as a fake centrist for almost two years now. He just doesn't admit it.

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