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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 Sept. 28, 2011 / 29 Elul, 5771

A Bear of a Problem for Obama

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "You woke the bears! Why did you do that?"

That's from one of my favorite scenes in "Anchorman." In the Oscar-robbed film, Ron Burgundy (played by Will Ferrell) loudly leaps into a bear pit to rescue his girlfriend and then falsely blames her for waking them up.

Watching President Obama these days reminds me of that scene.

In March 2010, liberal columnist Peter Beinart argued that, for decades, Democratic politicians treated America's innate conservatism like a slumbering bear: If you make no sudden moves and talk quietly, you can get a lot done. But if you wake the bear, as Democrats did in the late 1960s and early '70s, the ursine silent majority will punish you.

But Obama promised to change that. He was tired of the timid, almost apologetic talk. He was going to be an FDR, or at least a Reagan for liberalism. He was going to "fundamentally transform" the country. And to those who counseled that Democrats can't govern that way, Obama and his followers responded with shouts of "Yes, we can!"

You might think it was those shouts that woke the bear, but that's not what happened. After all, Obama enjoyed stunning popularity when he entered the Oval Office.

No, it wasn't words but deeds that roused the beast. The poorly crafted, deeply partisan stimulus was like a sharp stick to the bear's belly. But it was "Obamacare" that ended the hibernation.

Despite his deployment of every rhetorical weapon in the progressive arsenal, Obama could never make the thing popular. At town hall meetings, the bear growled and snorted, in a posture that the experienced psephological woodsman understands means "leave the bear alone." The Democratic response was to mock the grizzly. Nancy Pelosi even called the town hall protesters "un-American."

By July 2009, Gallup found Americans had attitudes that were "conspicuously incongruous with the results of the 2008 elections." The 2010 midterm elections showed just how incongruous.

Of the myriad miscalculations made by Obama, among the most fateful has to be his assumption that a repudiation of George W. Bush was synonymous with a repudiation of conservatism. By Election Day in 2008, Bush's approval rating was at 25 percent. You cannot get that low without losing a sizable slice of your base, particularly when self-described conservatives outnumber self-described liberals by roughly 2 to 1. It was their opposition to Bush's big-government conservatism that made them the feedstock of the "tea parties."

Obama probably understands this dynamic better as his own poll numbers sink not only among independents but with his base, which has convinced itself that his -- and the country's -- problems stem from appeasing the conservative bear. Obama's bizarre harangue of the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday -- "Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying" -- was a testament to the cratering enthusiasm of his biggest supporters.

The dilemma for Obama is that non-liberals don't see the situation the same way. As nearly every poll shows, more than 70 percent of Americans believe we're on the wrong track, and the number of people calling themselves conservative continues to grow, as does the number of moderates who say they lean to the right. According to Pew, the average voter places himself twice as far from Democrats as he does from Republicans.

Moreover, notes Brookings Institution scholar William Galston, a domestic policy advisor under President Clinton, the average voter thinks the Democrats are much more liberal than the average liberal does. "So when independents, who see themselves as modestly right of center, say that Democrats are too liberal, average Democrats can't imagine what they're talking about."

And it's not just about labels (though labels matter). According to Gallup, Americans believe 51 cents out of every dollar sent to Washington is wasted. That's rough terrain for selling more spending and higher taxes.

So here's Obama in a very rough spot. He needs more than just his base to win, yet he can't win without his base. But he can't secure it without slapping the bear even more. And unlike Ron Burgundy, he's really got no one to blame but himself.

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