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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 April 20, 2007 / 2 Iyar, 5767

Fred Thompson: A great communicator

By Jonathan V. Last


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The first time I met Fred Thompson was in 2005. We were both on an early flight from Washington to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; in the process of boarding the plane a mutual friend introduced us and we exchanged brief pleasantries. After we landed, I bumped into him by that great social equalizer, the baggage carousel.


His wife was standing a few yards off, tending to their baby. Thompson slouched alone by the conveyor belt, with circles under his eyes and an enormous diaper bag slung over his shoulder. He waited in patient suffering for his suitcases, for the better part of an hour. No one could have guessed that two years later this man would be sitting in third place for the Republican presidential nomination in every national poll - without even having declared his candidacy. Politics is a funny thing.


The success of Thompson's noncandidacy says something about the dynamics of the race. The chief lamentation of Republicans has been that there are no real conservatives in the running, which is true, to a point. Rudy Giuliani is something of a Rockefeller, or perhaps a Schwarzenegger, Republican - albeit with an appealing mean streak. John McCain has followed his own star on a number of issues, including immigration and campaign-finance reform. Mitt Romney's conservatism is magisterial indeed, but newly minted. Even Sam Brownback is more of a "compassionate conservative" than a Reaganite: his platform seems to be something approximating Bush Lite.


To conservatives seeking a champion, only the glint of Newt Gingrich on the horizon offers hope, and even these voters must realize that Gingrich, who is both a conservative and an intellectual, can win neither the nomination nor the presidency. (Although let us pause a minute to appreciate the ironies a Clinton-Gingrich race would offer.)


Not that this is the end of the world; conservatives have made ideological compromises before. Remember that in 2000, George W. Bush ran as a political unifier and a "reformer with results." The orthodox conservative in the race was Gary Bauer. In 1996, Bob Dole won the nomination, but Steve Forbes, Phil Gramm and Pat Buchanan were the more staunch conservatives. In 1988, Dole, Jack Kemp, and Pat Robertson were more conservative than Vice President George Bush - who finished third in Iowa before capturing the nomination.


Certainly Thompson is more traditionally conservative than everyone else in, or likely to get in, the race (save Gingrich). But even he has a few wrinkles. Some conservatives will find fault with his support of McCain-Feingold. As John Fund notes, Thompson also failed to back tort reform while in Congress, although he says he did so out of concern for federalism.


While Thompson's conservatism is certainly part of his appeal, there may be more to it than that. Some portion of his support must surely be a testament to Dick Wolf and the manner in which Law & Order permeates the culture. Last week, for instance, 28 hours of the show were broadcast on cable - along with 14 hours of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and 22 hours of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, on which Thompson appears only rarely. As California Republicans recently proved, star power matters.


But a good deal of Thompson's appeal is wrapped up in his ability to communicate. Like most competent politicians, Thompson gives a good speech and knows how to mingle. However, where he truly excels is in more informal settings - answering questions on Meet the Press or doing radio commentary for Paul Harvey. Thompson has a gift for being at once both penetrating and plainspoken. His clarity and directness of speech are an enormous virtue.


The complaint about President Bush I hear most from Republicans is that he is a poor and disinterested communicator. He has had a handful of inspiring moments - his November 2001 speech to the United Nations, his second Inaugural - but on the whole, his rhetorical use of the presidency has been weak. What's more, he often seems indifferent, perhaps even hostile, to the need to make the case for his policies to the public. A nation at war needs leaders who can clarify, persuade and rally the citizenry.


And by now, Republicans may have rekindled their appreciation for the skills of a great communicator.

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

Jonathan V. Last is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

03/09/07 Why the British outclass us in acting
01/23/07 Romney: Seriously great, but with baggage
12/23/06 When truth is transpicuous
12/05/06 A realistic plan: Split the country in two
11/08/06 We could easily pull out of Korea and let China have regional hegemony. But would it be the right thing?
10/24/06 The decline of revolution
10/18/06 Why the free market is king
08/07/06 Democracy, of itself, not solution to all problems
08/01/06 We get the movies we deserve
07/27/06 How long will U.S. empire last?


© 2006, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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