April 21, 2014
April 18, 2014
Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology
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
: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain
April 14, 2014
Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time
: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic
: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships
: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin
: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate
: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
April 11, 2014
Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden
: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does
: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer
: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You
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
: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau
: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
April 8, 2014
Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease
Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear
April 4, 2014
A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children
Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet
Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds
Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves
April 2, 2014
Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?
Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities
It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene
Jewish World Review
June 3, 2013/ 25 Sivan, 5773
Capitol culture shock: The Old Guard of the Senate valued honor most of all, and see little of it today
This is how strange contemporary Washington has become: In the Senate -- the less combative branch of congressional Republicanism -- John McCain, the self-proclaimed maverick who once nearly was invited to join a Democratic national ticket, and Susan Collins, the Maine moderate who often sides with Democrats -- are regarded, and sometimes disparaged, as the Republican Old Guard.
Of course, this does not mean that the GOP has drifted leftward. On the contrary. It means that all the assumptions once brought to bear on congressional Republicans are out of date. Dead. Relegated to the deep, dark past.
This spring these two occasional renegades found themselves in the role of Old Guardians by virtue of their longevity (Mr. McCain has been on Capitol Hill for 30 years, Ms. Collins nearly as long, if her years as a congressional aide are counted) and guardians of party tradition by virtue of their temperament (which is to say accommodating, though they delight in being unpredictable in whom they might accommodate).
But these days, an accommodating temperament and longevity are passe, so these two onetime rebels found themselves at the ramparts over discussions about (and this is the remarkable thing) whether discussions should even be held over debt limit and budget issues. It is probably not necessary to add that yet another budget crisis looms.
For 10 weeks -- about the length of an American general election campaign -- Senate budget talks with the House have been stalled. Actually, they haven't really begun, and as a result the vital appropriations process is in peril -- a potent symbol of government dysfunction. At war are two absolutes: the absolute necessity to address budget questions and the absolute refusal to engage those questions without preconditions.
Before you leap to the conclusion that Republicans are being intransigent, remember that many of the Tea Partiers are tired of being rolled in negotiations, tired of watching tax increases creep into law, tired of watching ineffectually as big government stays big or gets bigger.
So if you are sitting on the right, intransigence seems prudent. And congressional comity -- an SAT word you used to hear on Capitol Hill -- could seem beside the point.
Increasingly the nation sits helplessly by while two parallel range wars are conducted on Capitol Hill.
The first is the usual one, drearily familiar though it may be, that pits Democrats (basically interchangeable with liberals) against Republicans (basically interchangeable with conservatives).
But the second is more interesting, and maybe more consequential. It pits veteran Republicans, reared in a Senate where comity ruled and intransigence was regarded as bad manners, against newly minted Republican senators, who regard the upper house as a torture chamber where principles go to die.
The result is a drastic change in two of the most important institutions in American civic life: The Republican Party (which in both houses of Congress provided a far higher rate of support than the Democrats for the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and the Senate (where the American filibuster was invented, and then twisted to a form that would be unrecognizable to its onetime masters).
For many years political scientists and political commentators regarded the Senate as if it were invulnerable to outside influences, exempt from time, existing in a world of its own and, more to the point, of its own making. This circumstance prevailed for decades, even into recent memory.
But that no longer is the case. The first breezes of change came with television, resisted by many of the Senate's old bulls at a time when the phrase was redundant, but implemented under an agreement between Republican Sen. Robert J. Dole of Kansas, no rebel against tradition, and Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the most stubborn defender of Senate customs and prerogatives ever.
That changed everything, including the color of the Senate walls, which soon were adjusted to look better on television. Junior lawmakers like Sen. Albert Gore Jr., a particularly deft manipulator of Senate TV, developed visibility and power beyond the expectation and experience of their predecessors.
The changes did not stop there. Public-affairs programming on cable television and the faux drama and high-fever rhetoric it rewarded transformed all of politics, the Senate especially. This new ethos reinforced a broader culture of confrontation and devalued the sense of reason that the Senate, a product of the 18th-century Enlightenment and its celebration of reason, once symbolized.
"Now it's all or nothing, compromise is a four-letter word, it's what plays on the cable shows each night rather than the sweep of time [that matters]," says Kenneth M. Duberstein, who once worked for one of the giants of the old Senate, Republican Jacob K. Javits of New York, and eventually became White House chief of staff for Ronald Reagan. "No wonder the party elders are in short supply. Their wisdom and voices of reason are easily dismissed by those who insist on instant gratification, who believe that they are right and if you disagree you are to be demonized and destroyed."
But it's not only the contemplative streak of the Senate that has been jeopardized. If there were one characteristic beyond the ruminative quality of the Senate that the Old Guard cultivated and revered -- reflected in its tone and tempo -- it was this: honor.
Some lawmakers of the old temperament complain that the current Senate pressed for a budget but now refuses to go to conference with the House to hammer one out -- the word "hammer" indicative of the fact that the contemplative Senate of the past was nevertheless combative.
That sense of resistance -- dishonor, some of the Old Guard would say -- is not the way things used to work in the old days. But then again, in the old days, things used to work.
if (strpos(, "printer_friendly") === 0)
Comment by clicking here.
David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
05/27/13 Patience is a virtue --- and a political strategy
05/20/13 Crossing sacred lines in Washington
05/06/13 The limited power of presidents
04/29/13 Living history on display
04/22/13 Social Security, 21st-century style: Dems call Obama a traitor
04/15/13 49 years, four months, 25 days: Today's America is as far removed from JFK's era as his was from World War I
04/08/13 The Senate as it once was
04/01/13 Connections and coincidence: History is full of mysterious relationships, including clusters of greatness
03/25/13 Where portraits tell the story of America's greatest conflict
03/18/13 A former president's correspondence reveals the power of letters, and the powerlessness of aging
03/11/13 Outrageous spectacle lead to a rational resolution on the budget? A nation can dream, can't it?
02/25/13 The one big thing Democrats and Republicans can actually agree on
02/18/13 Obama is wrong to make young people think college is mainly about making a living
02/11/13 The war inside the GOP
02/04/13 Presidential politics, frozen in place
01/28/13 Speech invokes past for present and future
01/14/13 If Obama's inaugural address is to be remembered at all
01/21/13 Identity crisis in the GOP
01/07/13 History meets firearms
12/31/12 In search of our better angels
12/24/12 Wounded in war, Inouye just kept serving his country
12/10/12 President as change agent
12/10/12 Another overtime election
12/03/12 Defining the Obama presidency: Our re-elected chief executive has the whip hand now, but how will he use
11/19/12 New Hampshire 2016
11/12/12 Obama's second chance
11/05/12 America's first martyr to free speech
10/29/12 Making hay in Iowa
10/15/12 When two men confronted each other from afar as civilization hung in the balance
10/08/12 If you look at the election a certain way, things don't seem so terrible
10/01/12 Debating the debates
09/24/12 Pessimists R Us
08/20/12 Obama remains a puzzle even as he asks the American people for a second chance
08/13/12 With Ryan, Romney upends the conversation
08/06/12 The real Romney remains hidden behind other people's opinions
07/30/12 What summer is for: How August can matter, and how Romney might use it
07/23/12 The Independent son of independent Maine promises to shake up Washington
07/16/12 The Rambler American
07/09/12 The Telstar revolution: Fifty years ago, a 3-foot orb was sent aloft and spawned a new era in communications
07/02/12 It's got only four electoral votes, but Romney and Obama will be fighting for them
06/25/12 A little noted rebellion over a lonely stretch of land helps tell the American story
06/18/12 You're nothing special: Luck is what you make of it . . . and what it makes of you
06/11/12 Anybody can talk authoritatively about the presidential election. Here's how
06/04/12 Candidates love to ally themselves with admired presidents, in sometimes unexpected ways
05/29/12 Americans aren't in a new burst of patriotism but they are in a new burst of appreciation for the military
05/21/12 Inside out: Almost nothing about this year's presidential election conforms to conventional analysis
05/14/12 Lugar grew into an elder statesman, which is why he'll be leaving the Senate
05/07/12 50 years later, MacArthur's farewell to arms continues to inspire
04/30/12 The likability factor: We're going to find out how important it is in these troubled times
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
© 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.