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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 27, 2011 / 25 Sivan, 5771

What the Secretary said

By David M. Shribman




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The most important part of last Sunday's interview shows was the part that didn't make much news. It was the part when the departing secretary of defense said that the tone of American political dialogue is posing a threat to the country's security.

When secretaries of defense speak of mortal dangers to the nation, they usually speak of enemies armed to the teeth, adversaries with new technologies or terrorist groups with nothing to lose but their lives. But Robert Gates is a different kind of defense secretary, and not because he is from a different party than the president he serves (Robert S. McNamara and William Cohen, both Republicans, were appointed to the Pentagon by Democrats), and not because he served two presidents of two different parties (he's the only one to do that).

Robert Gates is different because he has been in government, with some interruptions, since the Nixon-Ford years. That's enough to unsettle both Democrats, who distrust anyone who was recruited in college to work for the CIA (he joined twice), and Republicans, who distrust anyone who has spent most of his life on the public payroll (even his latest interruption, the presidency of Texas A&M, was a public job). Even so, Gates is, along with James A. Baker III, perhaps the greatest non-presidential public servant of the postwar age. One more thing. Perhaps better than anyone alive, he knows how the world works.

These days the world isn't working all that well, and the same can be said about Washington. It's the latter that preoccupies Gates, who is to leave office this week. Last Sunday Chris Wallace asked Gates what was the big lesson he had learned during all that time in the capital. Here's his answer on "Fox News Sunday":

"That when we have been successful in national security and foreign affairs, it has been because there has been bipartisan support. And agreement between the president and the Congress that the fundamental strategy -- maybe not all the tactics, maybe not all the specific decisions -- but that the fundamental strategy is the correct one. That's what (happened) through nine presidencies and the Cold War that led to our success, because no major international problem can be solved on one president's watch. And so, unless it has bipartisan support, unless it can be extended over a period of time, the risks of failure (are) high."

There's a lot of experience in that paragraph, and a lot of wisdom, too. It applies to foreign policy, to be sure, but it also applies to domestic policy.

At the heart of Gates' critique is the loss of bipartisanship, but bipartisanship cannot be forced, or learned. What can be learned is the lesson that many of America's problems, domestic and international, aren't matters for one presidential term but instead are themes that slop over from one administration to another.

We should not need Gates to tell us that. While the Nazi threat was the concern of only one president (two, if you count the first month of Harry Truman's administration), the slavery issue occupied a dozen presidents. Reconstruction occupied four presidents, maybe more if you count the spillover effects. You could argue that civil rights occupied all 44 presidents. Iran has been an irritant, or at best a minor aggravation, for six presidents, Iraq for four.

The biggest threat facing the country is economic right now, and let's stipulate from the start that all presidencies are in a sense about economics. We think of George Washington as having left an important foreign policy legacy, but his Farewell Address, and the admonition to avoid foreign involvement, came only in the final months of his presidency. The greatest impact probably came from that engine of economic ideas in his administration, Alexander Hamilton.

But budget woes have haunted every one of the last eight presidents, and worries about entitlements have been a major preoccupation of the last five. A bipartisan commission on Social Security added some stability to the system in the early Reagan years, but all sensible people agree that the topic has to be taken on again, and that this time Medicare has to be part of the equation.

Compromise is a lost art in American civic life and increasingly regarded as one of the dark arts. The country was built on compromise, both at the Second Continental Congress and at the Constitutional Convention. Yet we also honor the politician or statesman who stands alone and stands firm. This contradiction is at the heart of our history, and an American Ecclesiastes might say that there is a time to stand and a time to stand down.

The times to stand are when great principles are at stake -- in civil rights, for example, where there is now an American consensus, and on abortion, where there remains no American consensus. The times to stand firm are almost always moral issues, questions of right or wrong. But even in a country built on commerce there are few economic issues that are as starkly moral as slavery and abortion. There is room to compromise on most of them.

Today it is not possible to serve both parties' priorities -- the Democrats' demand that the sanctity of benefit levels be preserved, the Republicans' demand that the programs be solvent. That is an overstatement, but both parties have been hiding behind their own overstatements for some time.

There is political purity in these arguments, but not moral purity. Members of both parties know that the benefit levels and the level of taxation imposed to support those benefits have changed since Social Security was passed in 1935 and Medicare was passed in 1965.

Let's not forget that both programs were passed with bipartisan support. On the Fox television show last Sunday, Wallace asked Gates what he worried about most. Gates' answer was simple: "A loss of bipartisanship."

Said the man who served presidents of both parties: "I think that the kind of relationships that I've had on the Hill show that when individuals make this effort, they can make headway. They can make progress, and at least (have) civil conversation about these issues."

Right now bipartisanship is gone. Gone -- but not forgotten.

Comment by clicking here.

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


Previously:



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.

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