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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 July 13, 2011/ 11 Tammuz, 5771

The Presidency Matters, But How Much Does Obama?

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In 1994, the Republicans took back the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. The significance of that victory is hard for some younger people to appreciate, because we now seem to go through political leaders the way Lady Gaga goes through wardrobe changes. In the old days, it was a given that the House was the Democratic Party's fiefdom, which is why the Gingrich Revolution was such a tectonic shock. By the spring of 1995, Americans were talking as if we had suddenly adopted a parliamentary system with House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the prime minister. Really.

President Clinton was asked at a news conference if he were even relevant anymore. He responded: "The Constitution gives me relevance." Critics guffawed at first, because it set such a low bar, like raving about potted meat because it complies with the minimal government standards for human consumption. Didn't the president bring anything else to the table, other than the job description?

But Clinton was right. The presidency matters, period. Soon, Clinton had more going for him. The news conference after the Oklahoma City bombing gave him an opening, and the rebounding economy gave him a wind at his back.

In 2010, President Obama's party suffered from an even worse "shellacking" in the House than Clinton's had in 1994. Few asked whether Obama was still relevant, in part because the Democrats still held the Senate, but also because we had learned from Clinton that it's a silly question.

And that's what is amazing about Obama's presidency right now. It is almost entirely pro forma. Save for a few marginal exceptions (like an overly sympathetic media and the loyalty of Senate Democrats), his place in American politics rests entirely with what the job brings to him and not what he brings to it.

Obama seems incapable of moving public opinion, at least among people who don't already agree with him. You can tell his handlers have noticed because his talking points have become top-heavy with jargon freshly minted from focus groups: corporate jet owners, "winning the future," raising revenue instead of raising taxes, etc.

Similarly, his shopworn rhetoric has become more desperate. On July 5, he said of the debt-ceiling negotiations, "It's my hope … that we'll all leave our political rhetoric at the door." The next day he insisted that "the debt ceiling should not be … used as a gun against the heads of the American people to extract tax breaks for corporate jet owners, for oil and gas companies that are making billions of dollars because the price of gasoline has gone up so high."

When Obama says people should drop their political rhetoric, he means everyone else.

The most telling sign that Obama's presidency has been shorn of its pretensions to greatness is not rhetorical but substantive. Obama began his presidency using his deficit reduction commission as an excuse not to worry about the debt or deficit, as he borrowed trillions of dollars more. When the commission released its recommendations, he politely ignored them.

Ever since Obama's decision to extend the George W. Bush tax cuts until 2013, he's been pulled in a direction not of his choosing. Amid talk of a second stimulus, he began the year with a budget that increased the deficit, and it sank without a ripple, voted down 97-0. In April, after the GOP came out with the Ryan plan, Obama offered a new, fake counter-budget in the form of a gaseous speech. And until recently the White House still thought it could get a "clean" debt-ceiling hike simply by insisting on it.

The national conversation now is not one he wants to have. "I'd rather be talking about stuff that everyone welcomes, like new programs," he said at Monday's news conference. But, "The politics that swept (John Boehner) into the speakership were good for a midterm election. They're tough for governing."

But even as Obama has been forced to put aside his understanding of what governing means, Clinton's point is still valid. When it comes to getting the deal done, it's very difficult to go around the presidency, and it's very easy for the president to declare victory even after a failure. Obama may not be bringing much to the table, but it remains his table -- because it came with the office.

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