Home
In this issue
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 April 7, 2010 / 23 Nissan, 5770

Some presidents talk too much

By Wesley Pruden




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What this country needs, in addition to the elusive nickel cigar, is a president with less presence and more absence. Not just from Barack Obama, but from whoever follows him as well. Celebrities, even presidents, can be too much among us. They, like us, suffer for it.

The jet airplane, the ubiquitous television camera and now the Internet have conspired to illustrate as nothing ever has that familiarity breeds contempt, that it's absence that makes the heart grow fonder. Women once knew that by female instinct, until they aspired to be men, minus the body odor and whiskers. (Some of them are working on that.) The studio moguls in Hollywood understood that, too, when Hollywood was still Hollywood, populated by movie stars. Now Hollywood, like Washington, is populated only by actors, who compete to see who can look and smell most in need of a bath. Jane Russell, one of the last of the authentic movie stars, once told me how she couldn't slip out of her house for a quick trip to the supermarket for a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread without her make-up, manicure, heels and hair perfectly in place. It was in her contract. (Meryl Streep, our only surviving movie queen, projects the old star power precisely because she remembers the formula.)

You might think that a president, being the most powerful man in the world, able to start wars on a whim, wouldn't be so eager to get noticed. Indeed, presidents once carefully rationed their availability, even for photo-ops. FDR, Harry Truman or Dwight Eisenhower would never be available for a photo-op with Miss Drumsticks of the Ozarks, even for a cause so grand as commemorating poultry plentitude. Barack Obama has not yet descended to the chicken house, but that may be in the works. He never misses an opportunity to take his noisy community activism on the road.

Letter from JWR publisher


The president, who early on came to regard himself as the prince with the voice that could make the earth move, has never been able to resist the sound of his voice. He likes question-and-answer sessions with carefully screened constituents because it gives him jumping-off places for stump oratory. When a woman named Doris stood up at a rally at a battery factory in North Carolina to ask whether "it was a wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care package," he had a few words for her. Nearly three thousand of them.

Mr. Obama spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds — conscientious reporters are paid to keep track of such statistics — wandering through a maze of wonkery that would put an entire Washington think tank to sleep. He talked about Medicare waste, foreign aid, Warren Buffett, earmarks, and offered two lists of "essential three points" for everyone to keep in mind. Alas, by this time nearly everybody, including the president, was fast asleep. He never answered Doris' question, but he did apologize for taking so long about it.

This is not necessarily this president's fault. Brevity is no longer a virtue in public discourse. When someone talks a lot, nobody remembers much of what he says. Calvin Coolidge once sat next at dinner to a Washington society dowager who told the president, famous for hoarding words, that she had made a bet that she could get him to say more than two words. Replied Silent Cal: "You lose."

This presidential pursuit of celebrity, tempting as it may be for any politician, can have serious consequences. Mr. Obama, like George W. Bush before him, is fond of issuing extravagant warnings to the nation's enemies that neither he nor they believe for a minute. Such warnings sound good in his ear, no doubt, but nowhere else.

He and his secretary of state have called Iran's nuclear-weapons program "unacceptable" so often that it has become a mantra. The president set several final, absolute, positive deadlines for Iran to negotiate a comprehensive, verifiable, workable agreement satisfactory to the several nations of the West — or else. The president has waived the deadlines, one by one. He finally made the waiver permanent and invited the evildoers to tea, declaring that "our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue stands." For this Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a ready insult: "They say they have extended a hand to Iran, but [we] declined to welcome that."

This would have persuaded presidents past to accept reality and deal with it, but that's no longer the fashion. Mr. Obama merely sends word to the teleprompter that more show-and-tell is in the works.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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

Wesley Pruden Archives

© 2007 Wesley Pruden

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles