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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 Oct. 8, 2012/ 22 Tishrei, 5773

If you look at the election a certain way, things don't seem so terrible

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | Had enough? Not of the candidates, the Congress or election coverage, though who could blame you if you have. Instead: Had enough of the negativism?

Voters on the left have spent the last month moaning about the negative ads underwritten by Super PACs created by the Citizens United ruling. Voters on the right have spent weeks complaining about the negative portrayal of former Gov. Mitt Romney by what they say is a liberal-leaning news media. But the real disgraces are the negative fusillades being fired by the candidates themselves.

So with just a month of campaigning and two presidential debates remaining, let's abandon all that and put on rose-colored glasses. Let's forget the negative images and our darkest forebodings and look for once at best-case scenarios. They might tell us something important. They might even, in a political year with few undecided voters, change some minds.

The case for Obama

A re-elected Barack Obama would surge with confidence, not the faux self-assurance in which a deeply inexperienced man bathed in 2009 but confidence in the knowledge that his election wasn't a fluke or a national act of cleansing that voters hoped would wash away centuries of racial oppression and prejudice.

A re-elected President Obama also would feel pressure unusual for a second-term chief executive, most of whom immediately begin to worry about their place in history. Mr. Obama's place in history was assured on Election Day 2008 -- as a pioneer. Now he has to win a place in history -- as a successful president. Big difference.

This is no easy task in any political atmosphere, daunting in today's poisonous one.

For our purposes, let's assume Mr. Obama's re-election keeps the Democrats in power in the Senate and the Republicans in the House. So the capital on Jan. 20, 2013, is riven in two ways -- the usual tensions between a president and the Congress and the additional tensions between congressional chambers controlled by rival parties.

A sense of crisis beckons, not only because the country approaches the fabled "fiscal cliff" but also because Mr. Obama's party seems blind to the coming entitlements crisis -- Social Security and Medicare are in deep trouble and unsustainable in current form, despite what the Democrats say -- while Republicans have embraced a proposal that the public finds scary and that deals only with Medicare, not Social Security.

Here is where crisis meets opportunity. A re-elected President Obama uses his State of the Union Address to offer a grand bargain far more sweeping than the one that fell apart during 44 days of fevered but fruitless negotiations last summer. He tells Republicans he'll put everything on the table, including substantial changes in entitlements, if they'll put everything on the table, including tax increases.

He promises to be fair-minded and says he knows that House Speaker John Boehner will be fair-minded as well. He tells Mr. Boehner privately that he'll quell the catcalls from the left of his party if the speaker quells the demands from the right of his.

To prove his seriousness, he quotes a man who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under two Republican presidents (Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford), who was a voice favored by the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal and who held an endowed university chair named for the father of the Rev. Pat Robertson. He gets Washington's attention by employing Herb Stein's law, which says that if something cannot go on forever, it won't.

The case for Romney

The election of Mr. Romney represents perhaps the most dramatic shift in power in decades -- greater than the transition between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan 32 years ago because Mr. Carter basically governed as Reagan for the last several months of his administration. And, like Reagan, Mr. Romney approaches his challenge with determination but also with an upbeat, conciliatory attitude. He is a gentleman and he vows to treat his opponents in the capital with chivalry.

This goes a long way in Washington, as former President George H.W. Bush could tell him. But Mr. Romney enters the White House with a burden different from the one that weighed down Mr. Obama four years ago.

Consider the words of Augustine Birrell, the British chief secretary for Ireland in the early 20th century. "I was never able to find any fault with Asquith as a human being," he once said of his prime minister, H.H. Asquith, "except that he was always very much the same."

That is not Mr. Romney's problem. The man who ran for governor of Massachusetts as a moderate and governed from the center-right is vastly different from the man who won his party's nomination with feet firmly planted on the right, far from the precincts where his father, former Gov. George V. Romney of Michigan, stood.

But Mr. Romney is more manager than politician -- that was evident in his awkward mien and his uncanny inability in recent months to master fundamental political arts, such as the artful dodge and the tactful feint -- and it is as a manager rather than as a politician that he proceeds, and perhaps succeeds, in the White House.

America's political problem today is at base a management challenge -- how to adjudicate between polarized parties and among passionate politicians who see compromise as an indication of powerlessness rather than an act of patriotism. The new president trims some of his jagged political edges -- all presidents do so, even Reagan -- but holds fast to his core principle, which is that the United States government is poorly managed and that its current condition is insupportable and irresponsible. From that assessment, all things are visible and, perhaps, possible.

Analysis

The choice from behind rose-colored glasses remains one between two men of good faith and honor, one with a gift for the inspiring speech, another with a gift for the detailed spreadsheet. Both abjure compromise, but both will have to compromise; the logic of Stein's Law is too great and the political landscape too complicated to avoid compromise. Both have plausible ways forward but narrow openings to succeed. In the end, the choice is between two dramatically different conceptions of government -- and two dramatically different ways of moving forward.

Comment by clicking here.

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


Previously:



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





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