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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 June 4, 2012/ 17 Sivan, 5772

Candidates love to ally themselves with admired presidents, in sometimes unexpected ways

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | alk through the Hall of Presidents in the National Portrait Gallery and you will see much of American history within a few steps. Over here, hand on chin, is Abraham Lincoln, who saved the Union and set the nation on a course toward racial justice. Over there is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, cigarette holder in hand, architect of the New Deal and of victory in a terrible world war. At the end of the hall is a stunning Chuck Close portrait of Bill Clinton on loan to the gallery that reflects the complexity of the 42nd president.

But this is more than a museum. It is a metaphor, and the image you might take in the middle of a spirited political season from these hushed halls might be one of a lending library.

This library, to be sure, has only 44 volumes. One is unfinished. All are subject to revision -- and revisionism.

The 16th volume is always in high demand, especially so in the Obama years, with a presidency patterned so self-consciously on the Lincoln model. The 35th is slender but well worn; quotes from John F. Kennedy have been in style for a half-century. Hardly anyone pulls off the 31st volume; Herbert Hoover isn't much more acceptable today than he was in 1933, when he left office.

And the 30th volume? It has almost nothing in it. Calvin Coolidge had many great virtues, lack of verbosity being chief among them. "The things I don't say," he once said, "never get me into trouble." Presidents never quote that one, and don't remember its wisdom.

Lately Barack Obama, who will be in the National Portrait Gallery, and Mitt Romney, who would dearly like to join him there, have been frequent borrowers, and they've made surprising withdrawals.

Mr. Obama has been talking in a positive way about Ronald Reagan, for whom he almost certainly didn't vote, and Mr. Romney has been talking brightly about the anti-big-government views of Mr. Clinton, though he has bragged that as an Independent he chose a Democratic ballot in 1992 to vote against the Arkansas governor in the Massachusetts primary.

Presidents and candidates for the White House often retreat into the library of presidents. They do so to identify themselves with past greatness, to establish themselves as part of an honored tradition, to contrast their mortal opponents with the remarks and values of the immortals. There's been a fair amount of the latter in recent months.

First, Mr. Obama suggested that a Republican icon, Ronald Reagan, wouldn't be conservative enough to appeal to the Tea Partiers in the new, muscular GOP. Then Mr. Romney said this month that Mr. Obama didn't live up to the Clinton tradition of moderation and bipartisanship.

In an unusual daily double that deprecated two Democratic presidents in one sentence fragment, Mr. Romney said that killing Osama bin Laden was such a natural, logical decision that "even Jimmy Carter would have given that order." This was a campaign tour-de-force.

There never has been predictability in presidential borrowing. Richard Nixon, as partisan a Republican who ever occupied the White House, nonetheless admired Woodrow Wilson, a two-term Democratic president who is one of the new GOP's favorite targets for opprobrium. He also had a soft spot for Hoover, a fellow California Republican who, more than eight decades later, still remains a potent symbol for economic distress and presidential insensitivity. Nixon admired Wilson's sense of internationalism and Hoover's eye for government efficiency.

Mr. Clinton in recent years has grown close to his 1992 rival, George H. W. Bush, with whom he engaged in a bitter election struggle, and in his 2008 campaign Mr. Obama said he had "enormous sympathy for the foreign policy" of the elder Bush.

The most unlikely pairing might have been Reagan and Kennedy, who shared a taste for showmanship and an affinity for Hollywood but who are aligned in history as advocates for tax cuts.

In truth, Reagan, whose economic convictions were strong, believed in reducing taxes a lot more than did Kennedy, who was an avowed novice in economics and a cheerful but committed conscientious objector to learning more about it. But Reagan used the Kennedy precedent to lure reluctant Democrats into his tax-cut brigade and to give moderate Democrats political cover for supporting his economic ethos.

Presidents and candidates ordinarily embrace icons from their own ideology, which is why George W. Bush patterned himself after William McKinley, who never before or since has been cited as an example of anything for anybody. FDR used Wilson imagery, which was natural because he served as assistant secretary of the Navy in the Wilson administration, and Nixon basked in the reflective glory of Dwight D. Eisenhower, for whom he served two uncomfortable, tumultuous terms as vice president.

In office there is little danger in cross-party compliments. Lincoln is a safe lodestar for presidents of both parties and, until recently, so was FDR, whom Reagan supported early in his career when he was a Democrat. Kennedy is a man for all political seasons because his idealism, resolve and sense of national purpose are admired today even by people who were alive to criticize him as shallow and callow.

But in a campaign setting, these sorts of bipartisan borrowings pose peril.

Mr. Obama may admire Reagan's optimism, his natural political skills and his ability to persuade Congress to do just about anything he wanted, but the incumbent possesses few of those traits, and the contrast between the two of them can only be to Mr. Obama's disadvantage. Mr. Romney may admire Mr. Clinton's moderation, his emotional openness and his political intuition, but the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee possesses none of those attributes, and the contrast between the two of them diminishes rather than enhances the former Massachusetts governor.

Not that presidents are beyond diminishing each other. John Adams referred to George Washington as "Old Muttonhead." Andrew Jackson said of John Quincy Adams that he "must be demented." Lincoln called James K. Polk "a bewildered, confounded and miserably perplexed man." And Wilson once called Chester A. Arthur "a nonentity with side whiskers."

To all of which we might add: Takes one to know one.

And this, too, our lesson for this morning: Beware presidents quoting presidents. The lending library is always open, but history belongs to the presidents who write their own volumes, not to those who crib from earlier works.

Comment by clicking here.

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


Previously:



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





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