The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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
Oct. 7, 2013/ 3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774
The key players in this latest Washington spectacle knew exactly what they were doing
Of all the questions prompted by last week's governmental shutdown, this may be the most persistent, the one that the most Americans, alternately bewildered and horrified by the spectacle in the capital, found utterly confounding: What were they thinking?
For the truth is that none of the principals marched unthinkingly into the shutdown showdown. They knew what they were doing, and they had examined the tactics and consequences. This confrontation may have seemed thoughtless but it was just the opposite. This is what they were thinking:
Pilloried for being weak and indecisive on Syria, hectored by the conservative wing of the Republican Party, clinging to Obamacare as his only substantial legacy, the president had little choice but to project strength and refuse to compromise with his rivals.
Ordinarily, a government shutdown reflects badly on the head of state, but in this case Mr. Obama knew that the Showdown at Shutdown Gulch redounded to his benefit, at least in the short term, and he proceeded with the sure knowledge that the public would blame the inconvenience and interruptions on the Republicans.
Unlike almost every other episode in the Obama years, the plate tectonics of this confrontation worked to the president's advantage. To be sure, to conservatives he looked like an uncompromising zealot, but it wasn't the conservatives' approval that he sought or needed. To the rest of the American public, he looked, perhaps for the first time in years, like the calm steward of the nation, a sharp contrast to the insurgents in the House Republican conference.
From the start the speaker knew the risks involved when a Republican House pushes the government into paralysis. He remembers the last such incidents. He knew, too, that his own leadership position was at risk in two dimensions -- first in the view of Republican regulars, in his own chamber as well as in the Senate, who worried that the party was jeopardizing its future in a futile jeremiad against the president; and then in the view of the GOP rebels who doubted his commitment to conservative values and who were skeptical of his impulse to make a deal rather than to make a point.
There was another danger for Mr. Boehner as this crisis unfolded. In the 1995-1996 government shutdown, House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the leader of the rebellion and a willing conscript in the shutdown militia. In this case, Mr. Boehner was not the leader but, rather, knew he was being led by the rebels. Moreover, he knew, in the classic phrase, that he had to get ahead of the people who, in public at least, were behind him. That unusual political physics led him to volunteer, reluctantly, to be the front man for this rebellion.
On the surface this increasingly important faction of the Republican coalition mobilized to repeal, or at least to put off, Obamacare. But the revolt was never only about that. It was about creating a united front against the Obama ethos in its entirety: spending, taxes, gun rights and regulation of business, banking, energy and the environment.
This dispute was also about the get-along, go-along ethos of Congress that these rebels have effectively repealed without ever having taken a vote on it.
Having chosen Obamacare as the fight this time -- next time, when the issue is the debt ceiling, the fight will be on spending -- they would not and could not retreat. Many in the middle of both parties and in the mainstream press criticized the rebels unmercifully; they used the term "uncompromising" as a pejorative. But the rebels were fired by the zeal that led the maquisards to mount an underground effort against the Nazis in World War II France: They saw virtue in resistance even against hopeless odds. It is not a coincidence that those 1940s rebels were called partisans.
This group is far smaller than its House analogue and its face is Sen. Ted Cruz, Princeton '92, who inspires the sort of resentment among liberals that Mr. Obama, Columbia '83, does among conservatives. They are Ivy Leaguers (and Harvard Law graduates) against the stereotype.
In his quasi-filibuster against Obamacare and then in his efforts to keep conservative discipline among House members, Mr. Cruz won the opprobrium of mainstream Republicans but the approbation of conservatives who could become an important bloc of support if he seeks the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
The impact of the Tea Party might be on the decline -- a Marist Poll released last week showed that support for the movement, now at 23 percent, is down by 11 percentage points in three years, a precipitous drop. But that might not matter in a Republican primary, where the Tea Partiers are likely to be more committed and more likely to vote than other Republicans -- the 21st-century equivalents of religious conservatives in the 1980s. At the same time, credit Mr. Cruz with ingenuity along with steely intelligence. He has had more impact in nine months in the Senate than Mr. Obama did in 46 months.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi abandoned their restraint and poured on the invective, with gusto. They thought the Republicans so odious that they could ignore the principle expressed a century ago by a fellow Democrat, Woodrow Wilson (there's no reason to murder a man in the process of committing suicide).
Now, what none of them thought of: The risk that the Obama rationale on Syria -- that if the president doesn't get his way on foreign policy his domestic agenda will be wrecked -- really does apply, only its impact could be the other way around. The risk that this shutdown is only the overture to a shutdown sonata, with the next movement coming soon, featuring the debt ceiling. The risk both sides took in following this path without an exit strategy.
And this: The risk that this sorry episode will result in an anti-incumbency movement as in 1994, only this time, with party control on Capitol Hill split, endangering both GOP rule in the House and Democratic rule in the Senate.
Maybe these guys aren't such geniuses after all. Maybe they didn't think this all the way through before putting the country through an upheaval the voters will rain back on them.
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.
09/23/13 President Obama faces a hostile House, a resurgent Russia and a sense of ... dare we call it malaise?
09/09/13 President Obama puts Syria to a vote in Congress, but must he respect the result?
08/19/13 Pragmatic vs. ideological: What does the GOP want in a president?
08/12/13 A touch of greatness
08/05/13 Captured by the North Koreans, the Pueblo's crew members suffered terribly, and some are suffering still
07/29/13 Politicians, heal thyselves: The president's latest campaign for change has little hope of succeeding
07/22/13 Latest example of a one-term president whose reputation has flourished after leaving office
07/08/13 Watergate's lone unmastered lesson
07/01/13 Before and after Gettysburg
06/24/13 Your life in the age of Big Data
06/17/13 America slips its bonds: Project Mercury lifted off in a more innocent time, but inspires us still
06/13/13 As the World War II veterans depart
06/03/13 Capitol culture shock: The Old Guard of the Senate valued honor most of all, and see little of it today
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.