Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

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

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 December 3, 2012/ 19 Kislev, 5773

Defining the Obama presidency: Our re-elected chief executive has the whip hand now, but how will he use

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | We learned almost nothing about Barack Obama's second term during his re-election campaign. We will learn almost everything about that second term in the next four weeks.

We already know that the president intends to be more deeply involved in foreign affairs beyond Iraq and Afghanistan; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's mercy mission to the Middle East as Hamas rockets were being launched from Gaza and as Israeli troops were massing on the frontier signaled a more aggressive approach. Similar initiatives may be forthcoming, especially as Iran moves closer to possessing nuclear-weapons capability.

As fraught with danger as foreign affairs are, the domestic situation may be even more challenging. This is not the time to determine which of the two American parties is most like Hamas or Hezbollah, or Netanyahu or Ahmadinejad -- such comparisons conceal more than they reveal. But it is useful at this juncture merely to observe that the principals in Washington are intransigent by nature and their positions irreconcilable by definition.

But taking on the difficult is what the presidency is for. "No easy matters will ever come to you," Dwight Eisenhower told his successor on the eve of John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961, and Mr. Obama has been fond of saying in 2012 that if a decision makes its way to his desk it is because no one below him was able to resolve it. After the election, House Speaker John Boehner and even some of those tannin-eyed members of the Tea Party recognize this, and its corollary: At certain times in history, the presidency is pre-eminent.

This is one of those times, which is why most attention is on the White House and not the Capitol as the thorny economic issues facing Washington are rolled out, and, if this is a truly lucky nation, worked out.

Second terms are notoriously vexing, and this one could be more so than most. Mr. Obama begins his in a position weaker than that of any modern second-term president, especially Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who lost only two states in 1936) and Richard M. Nixon (who lost only one in 1972). Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both increased their margins of victory in their second campaigns.

Indeed, Mr. Obama is a member of a rare political species, a re-elected president with less of a mandate the second time around than the first. Of presidents elected since the nationalist period in the early 19th century, when the number of electoral votes fluctuated as the nation grew, Mr. Obama and Woodrow Wilson are the only presidents to be in that position.

Mr. Obama is pushing against history (and, more important, his own inclinations) in another vital area. The story of America since the election of Franklin Roosevelt is the expansion of the role of the federal government, especially in the economy and in establishing entitlements. Mr. Obama almost certainly will have to stand athwart history and halt the expansion of one or more legs of the entitlement stool -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. (A fourth leg is his own health care plan.)

This will please almost no one -- not his own party, where a large faction wants entitlements to be excluded from any debt- and deficit-reduction formula, and not his rivals in the Republican Party, many of whom want to overhaul the programs and place them more on a free-market basis.

This time the middle ground -- fiddling with eligibility ages and moving the balance of the burden more to providers than beneficiaries -- may not be enough. Those sorts of things, which seem palatable to us in December 2012, might have worked had Washington summoned the courage to impose them in 2010. We may look at those two years the way Churchill looked at the prewar period after the 1933 ascension of Hitler: the years the locusts ate.

The locusts ate a lot of the cabbage Washington could have recovered on the revenue side as well. The usual calculus (closing loopholes and tax breaks, which the left supports, in exchange for lowering rates, which the right supports) is imbedded in the capital climate, but like the weather it is a matter that everyone talks about and nobody does anything about.

The jarring news for the political class: Climate change is real, and Washington is under water.

It seems like years ago, but it was only yesterday (really, only a month ago) that everyone -- the candidates, the commentariat, common folks full of common sense -- was saying that the 2012 election was one of the most important in our lifetimes. We say that sort of rubbish every four years, when in fact we should recognize what the great student of the presidency Richard Neustadt taught us but what we never learned: Presidents don't have all that much power. Mostly they have the power, or really the potential, to persuade. That is Mr. Obama's task now.

In truth, the 2012 election settled little. This is not what conservatives, who feel that all the buoys of national life have moved, nor what liberals, who feel America's new natural state of governance is fundamentally progressive, believe, but it may be true. We are back where we were during the torrid 44 days of budget negotiations in summer 2011, only the situation is ever more dire, in part because those six weeks produced nothing. Washington didn't kick the problem down the road, it kicked it into a ditch.

Conservatives hope Mr. Obama is merely a transitional figure. They may be right, but the transition may be as much in the president himself as in the body politic. He's not running for re-election again, and the House Republicans are. He has the whip hand, and the House Republicans don't.

But in horse racing, as in politics, it isn't the possession of the whip but the use of it that matters. We know who has it. In a month's time we should know how he uses it.

Comment by clicking here.

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


Previously:



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.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles