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 Jan 9, 2012/ 14 Teves, 5772

The verdict that wasn't

By David Shribman




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Iowa settled nothing. What happened last night on the plains and in the countless small farm communities and small towns of America's great crossroads state -- the place, in pioneer days as in our modern political calendar, that Americans traversed on their way to someplace else -- was not an act of futility, but it wasn't one of finality either.

In the freezing temperatures of early January, Iowa did what it almost always does. The home of right angles on the great expanses of open country and, in years when the Republicans alone hold contested caucuses, of a right-leaning politics that doesn't reflect the rest of the party or country, Iowa didn't answer questions, it posed them. It didn't respond to important unknowns, it raised them.

Iowa didn't resolve things when it presented victories to candidates with strength but not stamina like Sen. Tom Harkin in 1992 or former Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008, who soon vanished. It didn't bring things to a conclusion when it sent plausible nominees like Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1980 and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt and Sen. Robert J. Dole in 1988 onto New Hampshire, where they all lost.

It didn't do much when it elevated Sen. Paul Simon and the Rev. Pat Robertson, whose strong second-place showings in 1988 infused them with confidence if not long-term political credibility. It didn't even settle things when it gave early triumphs to eventual nominees Walter F. Mondale in 1984 and Barack Obama in 2008, both of whom required months more of struggle to capture their nominations.

So what did all of those negative ads, those endless afternoons of coffee shop and legion hall encounters, those cloying appeals to Iowa ego, accomplish?

They were not wasted, except for maybe the Iowa chauvinism, which over the years has given us subsidies for ethanol, which expired over the weekend, and a national focus on an electorate that is more conservative, more white and more educated than the country at large. Because now we can adjust our focus and, in New Hampshire next Tuesday and beyond, examine these questions:

• Just how strong is Mitt Romney anyway?

The former Massachusetts governor got about a quarter of the vote, which is what he has been polling for months -- and what he captured four years ago in a losing effort. That quarter slice was enough, in a deeply split field, to allow him to put on a brave face last night, but it was far from the decisive verdict he hoped to win. He and the Republican regulars who support him have to worry that a candidate with the experience of an earlier presidential campaign and with massive financial advantages seems stuck at about a quarter of the vote of his own party.

Now Mr. Romney moves into friendlier territory in New Hampshire, where nearly every Massachusetts presidential candidate running in an open contest has prevailed since the 1960s. On paper, Mr. Romney now has to be considered the favorite, even a strong favorite. And if Mr. Romney prevails next Tuesday, Iowa could be but a distant memory and he could be hard to stop.

• Just how enduring is Rick Santorum?

He has won a triumphant pass into the next round, New Hampshire, and perhaps into the one after that, South Carolina, where his enhanced position makes him a formidable contender among the religious conservatives who are such a visible part of the state's Republican scene. But the Palmetto State hasn't rolled over for social conservatives; Mr. Huckabee was upended there by Sen. John McCain four years ago and Rev. Robertson did not prevail against Vice President Bush in 1988.

Mr. Santorum has spunk, spirit and, now, serious political bona fides. His is one of the more remarkable political stories of recent times -- with a stunning presidential-caucus performance in Iowa more than five years after losing his Senate re-election bid in Pennsylvania by 18 percentage points.

Right now his campaign is cloaked in romance and stardust. But he lacks money and organization, which are more prosaic but often more powerful in presidential politics. Besides, he may be susceptible to the forces that elevated five other non-Romney contenders to the fore only to see them all falter under greater scrutiny and formidable negative attacks from others, including forces associated with Mr. Romney.

Until now, Mr. Santorum has been regarded as an innocuous, well-meaning afterthought in a V-neck sweater. That status ended last night, and the barrage against him almost certainly will begin this morning.

• Just how powerful a force is Ron Paul? Mr. Paul is today what he was yesterday, a candidate with a loyal cadre of supporters but almost no chance of substantially expanding his coalition. It is true that the physics of the issues have moved in Mr. Paul's direction; he no longer is the lone voice in expressing skepticism of the Federal Reserve Bank and rethinking America's far-flung international involvements.

But his association with supporters who have fringe ideas with odious overtones limits his ability to reach moderates and undecided voters whom Republicans know they will need to prevail against Mr. Obama in November. In entrance polls last night, they showed they want to choose a winner, not only someone whose ideas they consider winning.

The danger to the Republicans is less in Mr. Paul's resilience and determination to remain in the GOP field after New Hampshire and South Carolina than in the possibility that results like last night's might embolden him to bolt the party and undertake a third-party candidacy that could siphon off support from the eventual Republican nominee.

• What about Newt Gingrich?

He was the great phenomenon of December but in the new year went from presidential timber to political tinder and from first place to fourth in Iowa. He remains the great idea machine of the Republican Party and, unlike Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Rick Perry, very likely will continue to be a factor in the campaign, perhaps with a comeback, but almost certainly with the sort of debate performances that define the Republican conversation going forward.

He didn't flounder because of a bad Iowa performance. He had a bad Iowa performance because he floundered. In that regard, the candidate of big ideas is proof of the big truth emerging from last night:

Iowa didn't matter. It only clarified what does.

Comment by clicking here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Previously:



01/02/11 These are the keys to who will persist
12/19/11 Another Gingrich rebellion
12/12/11 A defining fight for the GOP
12/05/11 A distinct lack of enthusiasm
11/28/11 For GOPers, the winds are beginning to pick up, the horizon is darkening
11/21/11 Today's polarized politics . . . blame FDR and the political scientists
11/11/11The sporting life
11/07/11 Ron Paul, true believer
10/31/11 Why Cain isn't able
10/10/11 GOP starting over
10/03/11 The Forgotten War of 1812
09/26/11 The way we live now
09/19/11 The crisis this time
09/11/11 But what will it mean?
09/05/11 A horse race column: Who might win the GOP nomination and how it might unfold
08/29/11 The vacuum calls
08/22/11 Passion and politics: How Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got crowded into the same dangerous corner
08/15/11 Eleanor's little village
08/08/11 The agony of August
08/01/11 The politics of the impossible: What a country this might be if the political class served the broad interests of the majority
07/25/11 Pennant fever grips 'Burgh
07/18/11 Exemplar of an era
07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





© 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles