Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Feb. 13, 2006 / 15 Shevat, 5766

The politics of negation

By Michael Barone


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | American politics today is not just about winning elections or prevailing on issues. It's about delegitimizing, or preventing the delegitimization of, our presidents. This thought sprang into my head as I was reading the angry and sometimes obscene Democratic Web logs and noted the preoccupation of some bloggers with the impeachment of Bill Clinton, now seven years in the past. For them this was a completely illegitimate exercise, because Clinton was being attacked for his sex life. I think this is wrong, since reasonable people could either (a) say Clinton deserved impeachment because he lied under oath in a federal court proceeding or (b) say that impeachment was inappropriate, because the offense was not central to his service in office. Naturally, most Republicans agreed with (a), and most Democrats with (b): We all tend to break ties in favor of the home team. The Democratic bloggers note correctly that impeachment didn't help the Republicans politically. But they still seem incensed, and I think that's because they believe that impeachment, in their view unfairly, tended to delegitimize the Clinton presidency.


It has been a habit of presidents to try to write their own history, to establish themselves as a legitimate embodiment of America's past and shaper of America's future. Franklin Roosevelt did it better than any other 20th-century president, relating his actions to those of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln, his cousin Theodore Roosevelt, and his onetime boss, Woodrow Wilson. FDR encouraged the idea that history is a story of progress toward an ever larger and more generous government. That version of American history was propagated by a brace of gifted historians and in most mainstream media.


Vision. For decades afterward, presidents were judged by the FDR standard. Harry Truman was crude and ineloquent, but he made tough decisions and got them mostly right (a view that stands up well). Dwight Eisenhower smiled and played golf but was an inarticulate bumbler (a version that doesn't stand up at all). John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were stalwart and compassionate liberals (which ignores the facts that they embarked on the Vietnam War and wiretapped Martin Luther King Jr.). Richard Nixon was a villain who left in disgrace (even though he extricated us from Vietnam and greatly expanded government).


Ronald Reagan wrote a different version of history. Like FDR, he showed that a strong and assertive America could advance freedom in the world. But unlike Roosevelt, he saw government at home as the problem, not the solution, and he utterly refuted the liberal elites who said that low-inflation economic growth was no longer possible and that America was on the defensive in the world. Not so. We've had low-inflation growth for most of the past 25 years, and the Soviet Union has disappeared. History doesn't always move left; sometimes it moves right.


Democrats unsurprisingly don't like this version of history, and in Bill Clinton they had a president with the articulateness and political instincts to offer his own. He could claim that his policies, like Reagan's, produced prodigious economic growth and that his limited military interventions promoted freedom and democracy. But impeachment cast a pall on his record, and so did September 11: Clinton (like George W. Bush in his first eight months) failed to address what turned out to be a deadly threat.


Bush's version of history is mostly in line with Reagan's. Since September 11 he has led an aggressive policy against foreign enemies, while lowering taxes and pursuing, with considerable success despite narrow Republican majorities, mostly conservative policies at home. Democratic politicians and the mainstream media, who bridle at the Reagan version and are disappointed that it has not been displaced by Clinton's, regarded Bush's victory in the Florida controversy as illegitimate and have been trying furiously to delegitimize him ever since. So far, this has proved at least as ineffective politically as impeachment was for the Republicans, but the impulse to persist seems irresistible.


How long will this continue? Democrats were used to writing our history in most of the past century. But without a competing vision of their own, they seem no more likely to succeed than Roosevelt's or Reagan's furious opponents.

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.

BARONE'S LATEST
Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future  

America is divided into two camps, according to U.S. News and World Reports writer and Fox commentator Michael Barone. No, not Red and Blue, though one suspects Barone may taint the two groups in the hues of the 2000 presidential election. Barone's divided America is one part Hard, one part Soft. Hard America is steeled by the competition and accountability of the free market, while Soft America is the product of public school and government largesse. Inspired by the notion that America produces incompetent 18 year olds and remarkably competent 30 year olds, Barone embarks on a breezy 162-page commentary that will spark mostly huzzahs from the right and jeers from the left. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.




Michael Barone Archives

© 2005, US News & World Report

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles