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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 Aug 6, 2012 /18 Menachem-Av, 5772

The real Romney remains hidden behind other people's opinions

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | He has run for the Senate, for governor and, twice, for president. He has given more campaign speeches in high-visibility circumstances than almost anyone in the country. And still, after 18 years on public rostrums and in the public eye, he remains the most elusive figure on the American scene.

On the surface he may seem the least likely politician of the age to be regarded as elusive at all-- but the plain talking, seldom excitable and rarely exciting Mitt Romney, who has been speaking four or five times a day for more than a year, has revealed almost nothing about himself and his views.

Indeed, Mr. Romney is, as Franz Liszt said of Frederic Chopin, "prepared to give anything, but never gave himself."

America has had political figures with a mania for privacy before; Calvin Coolidge gave up little about himself and the two President Bushes were so reluctant to share their personal thoughts they disparaged even the idea of introspection, saying they didn't want to sit on a psychiatrist's chair.

Not all privacy-preserving politicians are Republicans; both former Vice President Walter F. Mondale and former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts failed to win the White House in part because they didn't share the warm, engaging sides most voters still don't believe they possess.

But seldom has a major American political figure so hidden both himself and his own ideas as Mr. Romney, who, like most politicians, prides himself as a man of the future rather than the past and, like almost all successful leaders, argues he is not a prisoner of the past -- or is not, as John Maynard Keynes might say, the slave of "some long-dead economist," not that Mr. Romney himself would be caught dead quoting Keynes.

Political polls have shown remarkably little movement in recent months, with President Barack Obama holding a steady but slim lead over Mr. Romney. While it is impossible to isolate a single reason why a business-oriented Republican has failed to overtake a regulation-oriented Democrat at a time of stubborn economic distress, it remains remarkable that Mr. Romney has proffered so few new ideas of his own.

This is not to say that Mr. Romney is running an empty, media-oriented campaign. He has plenty to say, about economics, gay marriage and, after his overseas trip, about national security and diplomatic matters.

Except perhaps for his China policy, his proposals, dutiful and detailed, are more derivative than innovative. They are a quilt of notions about the size of government that can be traced to Ronald Reagan; views about social issues with strong roots in religious conservatism; assertions of American exceptionalism growing out of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party; and expressions of impatience with the status quo ripped from the labels of the tea bags on the muscular right of the conservative movement.

Not all American politicians are American originals, of course. Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt had very few ideas when he ran for president in 1932, and even from this distance it is difficult to distill a consistent ethic from the New Deal except for the determination to do something, and then to do something else, until something worked or until the Supreme Court struck it down.

Only in the White House did Lyndon B. Johnson, a conventional New Dealer but mostly a wheeler-dealer, make the full transformation from Senate institutionalist to presidential idealist.

But some candidates, like Sen. Gary Hart (1984 and 1988) and Rep. Jack F. Kemp (1988), are founts of new ideas. Sen. John F. Kennedy (1960) and former Gov. Reagan (1976, 1980 and 1984) ran on very big ideas, with oversized rhetoric to match -- rhetoric that, in both cases, stirs Americans still.

For his part, Mr. Romney is running as an exceptionally gifted, almost wizardly manager armed with conventional conservative ideas, though voters rarely elect managers, who in folklore if not in reality often have the political sex appeal of accountants. The only exception may be Herbert Hoover, one of the great business figures of his age and perhaps the leading manager in political history.

What is significant here isn't that Hoover presided over the Great Depression -- his role in that is still debated-- but that Hoover's business experience and acumen, and the air of management competence that he cultivated and personified, gave him 444 electoral votes in his battle against a breakthrough candidate much like Mr. Obama, Gov. Al Smith of New York, the first Catholic to win the presidential nomination of a major American political party.

Other presidential candidates who have run as managers have failed, making little impact in electoral politics. These include Donald Rumsfeld, who as the recent former chief of G.D. Searle and Co., ran for president briefly in 1988, and Lee Iacocca, who held top positions at both Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Corp., and also toyed with running for president. They would have emphasized bringing business values to government, which sounds better in the executive suite than on the campaign hustings.

(A business approach was not part of the appeal of Gov. George W. Bush, who became the first president with an M.B.A. He ran on his record of partisan conciliation in Texas, his concept of "compassionate conservatism" and his own brand of Western-style politics.)

In his 1988 acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Dukakis made a memorable remark:

"This election isn't about ideology; it's about competence. It's not about meaningless labels; it's about American values -- old-fashioned values like accountability and responsibility and respect for the truth."

Mr. Romney could say almost all of that except for the ideology part, for he has drawn an ideological contrast with Mr. Obama even without original ideas.

It is, however, relatively early in the campaign. Mr. Romney's formal nomination is weeks away. His acceptance speech has not yet been written. Both the phrases "New Deal" (from FDR) and "New Frontier" (from Kennedy) appeared in their convention acceptance speeches.

When Robert Frost went to visit the White House in 1958, he presented President Dwight D. Eisenhower a volume of his poems, and on the flyleaf he wrote: "The strong are saying nothing until they see." Perhaps that applies to Mr. Romney, and perhaps for the former Massachusetts governor the road not taken lies ahead.

Comment by clicking here.

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


Previously:



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





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