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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 Jan. 25, 2011 / 20 Shevat, 5771

A night to cheer, and to stay awake

By Wesley Pruden




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Tonight's one of the nights groupies live for, the blatherfest called the State of the Union speech. Presidents usually exhaust their supply of clichés until the spring thaw.

This year's cliché of choice is "civility," and it's a tired old chestnut already. Civility should be a noun we rarely use, because the word is only a synonym for the "good manners" that went out of style decades ago. Presidents campaign on sentiment now but sentiment is eventually overtaken by reality. "We campaign in poetry," Mario Cuomo famously said, "but we govern in prose." So true.

Mr. Obama, who does sentiment well, will no doubt be unable to resist the temptation to lapse into sentiment in his take on the State of the Union. He should take care. Invocations of tragedy, however well meant, easily become exploitation of someone else's suffering. Even he won't be believable scolding others for poisoning the stew with harsh words, since he has used a few himself ("if the Republicans bring a knife to the fight, we'll bring a gun"). He may be tempted to throw a little tapioca to the majority of folk the pollsters say are appalled by the over-the-top craziness abroad in the land, but such polling leads to misleading conclusions. Many Americans are appalled by the right, but probably more are appalled by the left, as we saw in the aftermath of Tucson. The pundits who tried to blame Sarah Palin and her friends for all the grief and woe in the land woke up on the third day with undigested egg on their faces.

The only way the president can employ the jujitsu to turn Republican grassroots anger over earmarks, runaway spending and congressional corruption against his newly empowered tormentors in Congress, says Michael Waldman, President Clinton's chief speechwriter, is "to leapfrog the Republicans in Congress by proposing strong, really bold reforms and make [the Republicans] try to catch up." But the lessons taught last November is that the peasants have caught on to the arts of euphemism. Devising a way to pit what Mr. Waldman calls the public's "deficit anxiety" against the "tax-cut hunger of the Republican elites" is only a badly disguised special pleading for more taxes.

Even the atmospherics of this State of the Union are dramatically different from recent years past. The president will still have Joe Biden at his side, laughing at his witty asides and grinning on cue when the president needs a little evidence of faux bonhomie. But instead of Nancy Pelosi leaping to her feet like Jill-in-the-box to applaud the president's every cough and pause, he'll have the dour John Boehner wiping away tears, probably of pique.

Mr. Obama has been so chastened by the November massacre that he might have kind words for a few Republicans, at least some of those safely dead, and reprise Republican themes of the past. In an op-ed in USA Today, Mr. Obama pays tribute to Ronald Reagan, not as a curiosity but as a man whose values could be useful to a modern Democratic president eager to climb out of a hole wrought by his own shovel: "[Mr. Reagan] had faith in the American promise; in the importance of reaffirming values like hard work and personal responsibility, and in his own unique ability to inspire others to greatness."

Everyone wants to write Mr. Obama's speech. Old White House speechwriters lapse into dreaded columny. Peggy Noonan, who wrote great stuff for George Bush the Elder, thinks Mr. Obama can knock it out of the park (or at least hit a clean Texas Leaguer into short centerfield) if he rises above himself to say things "simply, clearly, and sparingly," as the elder Mr. Bush did on occasion (". . . read my lips . . . "). But Mr. Obama, like most presidents on this occasion, is more likely to talk too much. "He says too many words, and they're not especially interesting words," says Prof. Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal. "They're dull and bureaucratic or windy and vague, too round and soft to pierce and enter your brain."

Still, they're sure to be "civil," in keeping with the season's cliche. Republicans and Democrats have been assigned to sit next to each other to avoid 'incidents" of fun and spontaneity. Nobody will heckle as earlier State of the Union audiences heckled FDR and Harry Truman. Keep it dull, that's the recipe.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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