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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 July 14, 2014 / 16 Tammuz, 5774

Obama may be way down in the polls right now, but Americans are fickle employers

By David M. Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | Wow. A reputable poll shows that the public believes Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II. Worse than Richard M. Nixon, driven from the presidency by Watergate? Much. Worse than Jimmy Carter, for decades the very symbol of the feckless chief executive? Loads. Worse than George W. Bush, still a lightning rod on the left and a symbol of disappointment on the right? Definitely.

These startling poll results set loose the predictable reaction: A flurry of told-you-so nods on the right and a fusillade of this-tells-us-nothing assertions on the left. For once, they're both right.

Obama is in trouble, no matter how carefully you peel through the Quinnipiac University poll that is causing such a firestorm. There's almost no good news there, or anywhere else, for the president. Then again, this worst-president poll sheds little light. Almost every veteran observer of polls and presidents will likely attest to that.

First, the trouble.

Obama has it, in several dimensions. The public is split evenly — 48% to 48% — on whether the president is honest and trustworthy. It's split fairly evenly on whether he has strong leadership qualities, with a slight advantage to those who think he doesn't. The same for whether the president cares about "people like you," with the same slight advantage this time to the president.

Here's the big one. By a fairly substantial margin (45% to 38%), the public believes the nation would be better off had former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts been elected two years ago rather than Obama.

No one can possibly argue that these figures are good news for the president, who is dealing with an immigration crisis at the Mexican border, a crumbling Iraq, an uncertain Afghanistan and an economy that hasn't bounced back fully. How Obama, employing the idiom of hope and change, would love to run against an incumbent president with a portfolio like that!

Now, the sobering bucket of cold water for the Obama critics.

With the exception of three occupants of the White House (all war presidents), presidents tend to grow in stature as their administrations grow more distant in the rear-view mirror. The exceptions, according to Gallup figures in The New Republic, are three of the most beleaguered modern presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam), Richard M. Nixon (Vietnam) and George W. Bush (Iraq and Afghanistan).

Foreign crisis doesn't assure that phenomenon, however. Carter is rated substantially more favorably today than he was when he was in office, and he dealt with a hostage crisis in Iran that persisted for 444 days and, arguably, doomed his presidency. George H.W. Bush is also more favorably regarded today than he was while in office, and he was a war president (Desert Storm).

The canary of caution in this political coal mine is the poll rating for Harry Truman, who left office with a 32% approval rating — and a 56% disapproval rating, according to Gallup. That represented, by the way, a substantial improvement from his ratings (23% approval, 67% disapproval) a year earlier, just before Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee upset Truman in the New Hampshire primary and prompted the president's withdrawal from the 1952 race.

But the country, which was, as the phrase went, mild about Harry and had concluded, as another aphorism of the time put it, that to err was Truman, changed its mind, albeit slowly.



One of the signposts along that journey was Merle Miller's "Plain Speaking," an oral biography of the 33rd president that emphasized his down-home attitudes and attributes, a marked contrast at the time of its publication (1974) with Nixon, who resigned that year. Indeed, it is instructive to realize that "Plain Speaking" reached booksellers' shelves just a year after Arthur M. Schlesinger published his "The Imperial Presidency," aimed in large measure at Nixon.

Truman's revival was sealed less than two decades later when the historian David McCullough published his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the man whose hometown of Independence seemed to be a description of his character. Suddenly, Truman, regarded as an accidental president who was also accident-prone, took on a heroic aura, one that persists to this day.

In the Quinnipiac survey, 0% of Americans singled out Truman as the worst of the last dozen presidents. That figure applies to Republicans as well as Democrats.

Now have a look at George H.W. Bush, who was soundly defeated for re-election only 22 years ago, dismissed as a fusty symbol of the past and considered out of touch with the public, a hopeless elitist with an awkward bedside manner. This summer, Bush, at age 90 a beloved figure and an unassailable symbol of American prudence, wisdom and grace, was considered the worst president by only 2%.

The same phenomenon applies to the man who defeated him in 1992, Bill Clinton, who left office with unusually high ratings for a president who had been impeached. Eight years ago, 16% of those surveyed considered him the worst president. This summer, only 3% do.

One final example: Dwight Eisenhower, regarded as a duffer at his departure from the White House, so much so that John F. Kennedy, who tried to make vigor a qualification for leadership, used Eisenhower as a foil. Today, only 1% of Americans surveyed consider Eisenhower the worst president. The revival of his reputation was begun by Fred I. Greenstein's "The Hidden-Hand Presidency" — and by the realization that, aside from wrapping up the Korean War, which he inherited, he sent few Americans into combat during his two terms in office.

The message here is not that Obama isn't troubled as he rounds the clubhouse curve and heads toward his seventh year in office. It is that Americans' judgments aren't final.

"I knew from the bitter experience of all public men from Washington on down, that democracies are fickle and heartless, for democracy is a harsh employer," said the 31st president after he was defeated for re-election. Herbert Hoover, who lost the 1932 presidential race to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is still waiting for redemption. But most of his successors have won it. So, too, might George W. Bush and Barack Obama — both hired twice by the country's harshest employers.



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

© 2014, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

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