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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 Feb 8, 2012/ 13 Shevat, 5772

A tale of two elections: Voters today are making their most profound choice since 1912

By David Shribman




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There was a discredited president, distrusted by his own party, portrayed by even his fondest allies as a disappointing underachiever. There was an eastern governor, decorated with breathtaking academic credentials and a star turn in the non-profit sector, mounting a serious challenge. There was the threat of minor-party candidacies, with charismatic leadership and a core of devoted supporters who could skew the contest. It was perhaps the greatest election in American history. It was exactly a century ago.

That year, 1912, stands as a hinge in American history. It was when the Republicans reverted from their new identity as the party of reformers back to being the party of business, when the Democrats transformed themselves from outsider social critics to insider social activists, when questions about the character of capitalism filled the air, and when the power -- and limits -- of personality in politics were glimpsed.

Often we view the past not so much through a mirror as through a magnifying glass -- Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater, the combatants from 1964, for example, seeming so much bigger, more substantial, than their counterparts from our own time -- but in truth the principals of Election 1912 were larger than life, arguably larger than their equivalents from Election 2012.

American politics rarely repeats itself, but when it does, it sometimes happens with almost eerie century-long congruity. The elections of 1828 and 1928, for example, were about the accessibility of the White House to outsiders, just as the elections of 1864 and 1964 were choices between continuity and radical departure. The 2012 election has strong echoes of 1912, with the Republican Party holding a remarkable, unexpected seminar, about the capacities and dangers of capitalism -- and the capacities and dangers of government regulation.

Only once or twice in a generation does the country examine with such searing rhetoric and sharp-eyed judgment these kinds of fundamental questions about business and government. It has been great sport to argue that this year's early political contests have been dominated by farcical characters. But no one can plausibly argue that the contests themselves have been about peripheral issues. These are the bedrock questions of a democracy and mature economy.

Such were the issues a century ago, when President William Howard Taft veered from the one true progressive, reformist religion of the GOP predecessor who hand-picked him, Theodore Roosevelt. Both Taft and Roosevelt were vast, important departures from the Republican presidents who preceded them, smaller men like William McKinley (an unlikely role model for George W. Bush to have chosen) and Chester Arthur (nobody's role model), and from the Republican presidents who would succeed them, commerce-oriented men like Warren Harding and Herbert Hoover.

Roosevelt was so alienated from his onetime protégé that he broke, like a bull moose, from the Republican Party he had transformed and mounted an independent candidacy. The Democratic nominee was the misty-eyed idealist from Princeton, Woodrow Wilson, perhaps the greatest reformer to cling to the odious racial values of the segregated South. Also on the ballot was Eugene V. Debs, who had played a cameo role in many of the signal struggles of the time, including the Pullman Strike, and would later help to form the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the Wobblies. Debs would draw almost a million votes.

These were major, enduring figures on the American scene. "Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson invented the activist modern presidency," Bard College political scientist James Chace wrote in the authoritative account of the 1912 election. "TR's commitment to use Hamiltonian means to achieve Jeffersonian ends was not unlike Wilson's use of executive power to promote free competition that would prevent big business from stifling local economies. Their legacy was the use of centralized power to create greater democracy."

That is no mere achievement, nor an irrelevant aspect of our politics today, for in the wake of the bruising Florida primary, the very existence of centralized power and the definition of greater democracy once again are at the heart of American politics.

President Barack Obama may be, as his onetime allies on the left believe, a reluctant progressive, but he remains firmly in the Theodore Roosevelt camp, as his December 2011 journey to Osawatomie, Kan., the site of TR's "New Nationalism'' speech of 1910, demonstrated. Though the president disavowed "a view that says we should punish profit or success or pretend that government knows how to fix all society's problems,'' in Kansas as in the capital, he believes in a large regulatory role in American commerce.

And though the Republicans are engaged in a vital debate about business and responsibility, the prevailing GOP ethos is deep skepticism about regulation and devout conviction that centralized power is inimical to greater democracy.

But the role that former Speaker Newt Gingrich is playing -- his remorseless critique of former Gov. Mitt Romney's years at Bain Capital standing as a symbol of a new stream of business skepticism within the modern Republican Party -- does have historical antecedents.

After the election a century ago, the Republicans, as University of Wisconsin historian John Milton Cooper Jr. put it in his classic "The Warrior and the Priest," a dual biography of Roosevelt and Wilson, "reverted to pre-1912 patterns." But a strain of business skepticism, personified by figures with GOP roots such as Sens. Robert M. La Follette, George M. Norris and William E. Borah, endured for a time.

Mr. Gingrich, like Roosevelt, may not have sorted out whether he is, in the formulation the late Yale historian John Morton Blum developed for TR, a conservative radical or radical conservative. Some days he is more the one, some days more the other and some days the two converge in a fantastic mélange never before seen on the American political stump.

Though the questions he poses about Mr. Romney's business experience are designed to achieve a narrow goal -- to advance his candidacy and diminish Mr. Romney's -- Mr. Gingrich still has had a broad and important effect, changing the dynamic of the 2012 race, providing it with echoes from the 1912 race on the right to match those Mr. Obama set in motion on the left, and perhaps setting the Republican Party, maybe all of American politics, on a new course. It is a rare primary fight that does so much.

Comment by clicking here.

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


Previously:



01/30/11 Whither the GOP establishment?
01/23/11 The Democratic coalition is breaking up
01/09/11 The verdict that wasn't
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





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