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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 April 8, 2007 / 20 Nissan, 5767

Fred Thompson's idea of ‘reform’

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A man walking along the edge of a cliff slips and plummets toward jagged rocks and crashing surf, barely saving himself by clinging to the cliff's face. But the cliff is too steep to climb, so he shouts, "Is anyone up there?" A voice fills the sky — G-d's voice — saying: "Have faith and pray. If you have sufficient faith and pray well, you can let go and land gently, unhurt, amid the rocks and surf." The man ponders this promise, then shouts: "Is there anyone else up there?"

This is the "Anyone else up there?" phase of the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, which explains the political flavor du jour, Fred Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee. Conservatives are dissatisfied with the array of candidates. Of course, people usually want what they do not see, a candidate who is a combination of John Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln — handsome, energetic and wise.

Handsome? Thompson, whose eight-year career in electoral politics, all in the Senate, ended more than four years ago, perhaps looks presidential, meaning grave. Energetic? He is said to be less than a martyr to the work ethic, but is this a criticism? Granted, Alexander Hamilton famously said that "energy in the executive" is a prerequisite for good government. But what kind of energy?

One litmus test of conservatism is: Whom would you have supported for president in 1912? The candidates were a former president, Theodore "I don't think that any harm comes from the concentration of powers in one man's hands" Roosevelt; the incumbent president, William Howard Taft, and the next president, Woodrow Wilson. Conservatism warns against overreaching, hence rejects the energetic Wilson, would-be fixer-upper of the whole wide world. And conservatism teaches distrust of hyperkinetic government, the engine of which is the modern presidency, of which TR was the pioneer. So: Steady, prudent Taft.

Thompson has never had to show consuming energy as a candidate, never having been in a closely contested race. He won his two elections with 60 percent of the Tennessee vote in 1994 (for the remaining two years of Al Gore's Senate term) and 61 percent in 1996. He did not seek reelection in 2002 — not a painful sacrifice for a man who disliked the Senate: "I'm not 30 years old. I don't want to spend the rest of my life up here. I don't like spending 14- and 16-hour days voting on 'sense of the Senate' resolutions on irrelevant matters."



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Does Thompson have enough energy to raise the money he will need to be competitive — say, $50 million by the end of November? He would need to raise $1.5 million a week, starting immediately.

Is he wise? As a senator he insistently advocated increasing the government's regulation of politics. One of only four senators who supported John McCain's candidacy in 2000, Thompson argued for the McCain-Feingold legislation that regulates the content, timing and amount of political speech.

In 1996, Thompson worked successfully, unfortunately, to preserve the (currently collapsing) system of public financing of presidential campaigns. His arguments were replete with all the rhetoric standard among advocates of government regulation of political speech: Government regulation of politics is necessary to dispel "cynicism" about government (has that worked?), to create a "level playing field" and to prevent politics from being "awash with money" (Congressional Record, May 20, 1996).

In a news release that day he warned of money from "special interests" and asserted that the checkoff system "flat out worked" because in 1994, 24 million taxpayers checked the "yes" box on their Form 1040, thereby directing that $3 of their income tax bill go to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. He asserted that "on average, 20 percent of Americans participate in the checkoff." Well.

In 1994, according to the IRS, the checkoff was used on 16.3 million, or 14 percent, of the 114.8 million individual tax returns, so a landslide of 86 percent of forms were filed by taxpayers who rejected participation. Today, use of the checkoff has sunk to just 9.6 percent. Its unpopularity is unsurprising, given that it has allowed a small minority to divert, in a bookkeeping dodge, $1.3 billion of federal revenue to fund the dissemination of political views that many taxpayers disapprove of as much as they disapprove of public funding of politics.

Back then, Thompson believed, implausibly, that voters are "deeply concerned" about campaign finance reform. Today, many likely voters in Republican primaries are deeply concerned about what Thompson and others have done to free speech in the name of "reform," as John McCain is unhappily learning.

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

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