Home
In this issue

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 Nov. 20, 2008 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Sunrise isn't so uncommon

By Jonathan Gurwitz


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | They appear with the regularity of 17-year cicadas, the 11-year sunspot cycle and newborns nine months following a major power outage. After every presidential election, otherwise discerning individuals make the dubious claim that a candidate's victory establishes a historic mandate. Even more outlandishly, they'll argue that an election marks a permanent realignment in American politics.


Call them the 4-year fantasizers. And they're popping up all over in the fall of 2008.


Let's stipulate that Barack Obama's election was historic and the Democratic rout of Republicans was significant. Do the results give Obama a unique claim on executive authority, and has the United States entered a new progressive era of Democratic majorities?


The first answer is an easy one. Obama defeated John McCain in the popular vote by a margin of 52-46 percent. That's an incremental improvement on George W. Bush's 51-48 percent defeat of John Kerry in 2004.


Put another way, Obama is the third Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to win an outright majority in a presidential election, after Lyndon Johnson did so in a landslide in 1964 and Jimmy Carter by a hair in 1976. Whatever mandates Obama's predecessors believed that distinction conferred, both left office deeply unpopular after only four years.


Here is Bush speaking to reporters two days after the 2004 election: "I've earned capital in this election, and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is — you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror."


Reading those words today, especially in light of Bush's record-low approval rating, is a reminder that electoral mandates are only as good as a president's most recent accomplishment — or failure.


Some pundits mused four years ago that the Bush victory, along with modest Republican gains in the House and Senate, signaled the achievement of Karl Rove's goal of a permanent Republican majority. Rove was more modest.


"There are no permanent majorities in American politics," Bush's political architect told Tim Russert on Meet the Press. "They last for about 20 or 30 or 40, or, in the case of the Roosevelt coalition, 50 or 60 years, and then they disappear."


Only two years later, in 2006, Democrats retook congressional majorities by gaining 31 seats in the House and five in the Senate. Now, after Democrats have padded their majorities with 20 House seats and — at minimum — 7 Senate seats, there's talk about an anti-Rovian permanent Democratic majority.


Does 2008 or 2006 mark the beginning of a new realignment in American politics? That's a little tougher to answer. It's like determining whether a basketball team has established a winning dynasty after only one or two victories.


The best comparison may be with the post-Watergate era. In the 1974 midterm election, voters disgusted with the Vietnam War and the scandal-plagued Nixon White House gave Democrats a 49-seat boost in the House, a 3-seat improvement in the Senate and overwhelming majorities in Congress. In 1976, they put Carter in the White House.


To a lot of political prognosticators, that looked like a political realignment. Four years later, however, Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory and Republicans took control of the Senate.


Of those who look for political eras and turning points, whether in 1976 or 2008, author Ron Suskind wrote recently in the New York Times Magazine: "They start with a roar, the declaration that a particular dawn is different from all its predecessors — a case made, day by day, over years of sunrises."


No doubt, the sun shines brightly on Obama and the Democrats today. But tomorrow brings a new sunrise, and political forecasts — like weather forecasts — are rarely accurate beyond a short time frame. The only thing certain is that in four years, the victors in 2012 will fantasize about mandates and realignments — and pay little attention to the historical evidence.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.

Jonathan Gurwitz Archives


© 2007, Jonathan Gurwitz

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles