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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 30, 2012/ 8 Iyar, 5772

The likability factor: We're going to find out how important it is in these troubled times

By David Shribman




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | And so now we take on the question that has haunted you since the seventh grade: How important is it to be well-liked?

At Shaw Junior High, where I spent my seventh grade, it was pretty important. But in presidential politics? We're about to find out.

This is an unusual race for the White House in many respects. The incumbent came into office on a wave of adulation unlike any in modern times -- more so than John F. Kennedy, more so than Ronald Reagan. Even so, as he runs for re-election the polls put him in a dead heat with former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

Mr. Romney, by contrast, has few fervent fans. Polls show that the public is skeptical of how deeply he believes in his own campaign statements and is hesitant to warm up to him. He's knowledgeable enough, these polls suggest, but not adept at building rapport with voters.

The result is that the United States is about to conduct its greatest test in more than four decades of the power of personality, measuring whether in tough times a man with difficulty relating to average Americans can defeat an incumbent with a mixed record but natural personal skills.

The best comparison may be 1968, when the man who was the more natural campaigner, the man with the warmer personality, the man who was more at ease with himself, was defeated by a rival who was awkward on the stump, cold in person and visibly uncomfortable in his own skin. In that election, Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey was defeated by former Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

There were, to be sure, many complicating factors in that election. Young people were rebelling, African Americans were challenging the moral order and the nation was divided on the Vietnam war -- and that's before we factor in the unusual element of a strong third-party candidacy from former Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama.

In the face of all that, a country in crisis turned to an experienced but unappealing hand, which seems unremarkable except when you consider that in 1920, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008, the candidate considered more personable prevailed. The candidates who appeared more competent but lost include Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 and Nixon in 1960. (Some readers inevitably will quibble with some of those elections, but the trend is unmistakable.)

It is still six months to this year's election, and it may turn out that Campaign 2012 is a dogma-eat-dogma race, pitting the Obama ethos of economic stimuli, higher taxes on the wealthy and an aggressive regulatory apparatus against the Romney ethos of lower taxes, less spending and an emphasis on business issues and economic growth. The country needs this debate -- after which, many argue, each side needs to compromise a bit -- and probably doesn't need a popularity contest. Even the president, none too popular during parts of his term, likely would agree.

Consider these findings from the latest New York Times/CBS News poll: Mr. Obama's favorability ratings are nearly half again as high as Mr. Romney's and he outpaces his challenger 47 percent to 34 percent as "someone you can relate to." Mr. Romney has slender leads as someone who would "make the right decisions about the economy" and improve voters' financial situations.

Those results are generally mirrored in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, where Mr. Romney prevails in two areas (changing business as usual in Washington and having good ideas for improving the economy) and where Mr. Obama prevails in all the rest (including being compassionate, caring about average people and being easygoing and likable).

Ordinarily, Romney tacticians might take these indicators and shape a message broadly along these lines: We are living in difficult times and what is required is intelligent, tough leadership, not an appealing fellow whose ideas haven't revived the economy or strengthened the nation's position in the world.

But Mr. Romney's profile as someone who has changed his beliefs and repudiated his record makes that argument more difficult to make. So do small episodes like the way he dismissed a plate of cookies made by the Bethel Bakery -- which has a cult following in the South Hills for its breads, rolls, muffins, doughnuts and sheet cakes made with yellow and chocolate batter -- as probably having come from 7-Eleven. These incidents make his listeners recoil in disbelief -- and his advisers cringe in helplessness.

The Times/CBS pollsters asked whether each candidate says what he believes most of the time or what he thinks people want to hear, and the result was stark, with Mr. Obama scoring 46 percent for saying what he believes, far outpacing Mr. Romney's 27 percent. Add in Mr. Obama's advantages in the Journal/NBC poll as the candidate who is more honest and straightforward and who is more consistent in standing up for his beliefs, and you see the Romney challenge in sharp relief.

"Often likability reflects the fact the candidates or presidents are doing something well," says John Geer, a Vanderbilt University expert on presidential elections and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll. "That's where the Obama disconnect is. Romney's task is to bring that into alignment by showing that the favorability ratings on Obama are premature and that there are in fact a lot of problems that voters can lay on Obama as a person."

The flip side is that, while Mr. Obama, as the saying goes, needs no introduction, Mr. Romney still has a chance to introduce himself to many Americans. Indeed, he's been scrutinized only by a minority of Republicans thus far. He's been bruised by the nomination fight -- but also toughened by it.

This presidential election is not even close to over. But even though it is primarily about Mr. Obama, not Mr. Romney, Mr. Romney has more work to do in the next half-year than Mr. Obama does. Only on television is the Cookie Monster lovable.

Comment by clicking here.

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


Previously:



04/23/12 Romney's four battles: With the nomination essentially in hand, he must turn to new challenges
04/16/12 For GOPers, expect the frustration to build, not abate
04/09/12 The political battles you cannot see
04/02/12 Romney's roadmap: Doing better in Democratic states may complicate his fall campaign
03/26/12 Romney struggles with same GOP forces his father faced long ago
03/19/12 The writer and the president
03/12/12 Romney could learn from his rivals after Super Tuesday
03/05/12 The GOP race continues, and Republicans continue to grouse about their choices
02/27/12 The turnout threat: when voters vamoose
02/20/12 The Winter's Tale: Republicans are engaged in a 'problem play,' full of psychological, and real, drama
02/13/12 Which Ike to like?
02/08/12 A tale of two elections: Voters today are making their most profound choice since 1912
01/30/12 Whither the GOP establishment?
01/23/12 The Democratic coalition is breaking up
01/09/12 The verdict that wasn't
01/02/12 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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