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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 April 14, 2011 / 10 Nissan, 5771

When Politicians ‘Bicker,’ They're Really Negotiating

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank attracted some attention when he promised not to mention Sarah Palin for a month. He kept his promise. The republic and the Post survived.

I've got a similar proposal for political columnists and reporters. Let's ban the verbs "bicker" and "squabble" — not for a month, but forever.

You've seen those verbs often if you've been reading about the budget struggles between the Republican-controlled House, the Democratic-majority Senate and the strangely detached Obama White House.

The implication is negative. Children bicker. Small-minded people squabble. When you use those verbs to describe the actions or words of John Boehner, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, you are implying that they are arguing about trifles.

But they're not. They were arguing about big things, vast flows of money, public policies with real consequences.

Yes, there is a certain amount of posturing and tactical advocacy. In every politician there is some mixture of calculation and conviction, in varying proportions.

But it's pretty clear that in the negotiations over the budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, John Boehner and Harry Reid were arguing about big things. That will be the case, if not more so, in upcoming negotiations over raising the debt limit and establishing a budget for fiscal year 2012.

The fact is that the Obama Democrats increased the size and scope of government beyond anything ever seen except in World War II. The Republicans are trying to reverse this trend. Far from arguing about trivia, both Democrats and Republicans are arguing about the most fundamental issues of domestic public policy.

Reporters who use the verbs "bicker" and "squabble" seem to believe that it is silly for opposing parties to waste their time negotiating — they should just split the difference at the beginning. You can see something like this feeling in the polls showing majorities of voters "disgusted" with politicians.

Why don't they quit arguing and get it over with?

The reason, as anyone who has ever negotiated anything knows, is that negotiations do tend to go on almost to deadline.

This makes sense when you think about it. Concede one issue long before the deadline, and the other side will usually pocket the concession and ask for more. So you wait for the other side to make their concessions first, and that wait usually takes you up close to the deadline.

Consumers of news stories should be able to understand this. Most of us are used to working to deadline. We usually don't get things done until we have to. The dry cleaners doesn't have your stuff ready a day before the promised date.

Moreover, negotiating tends to prod each side to indicate which demands it really cares about. In the fiscal year 2011 negotiations, for example, it became clear Democrats cared more about funding Planned Parenthood than Republican did in defunding it. So Democrats had to agree to additional cuts in order to keep money flowing to the nation's leading abortion provider.

Some labor-management contracts have provisions to avoid such showdowns. One approach is to require both sides to submit an offer and let the arbitrator choose one or the other — but not something in the middle. The idea is to give an incentive to both sides to make modest and reasonable demands rather than set out a maximalist position and hope the arbitrator splits the difference.

This works in some situations. But it's hard to set up a procedure that can bind officials separately and independently elected by the people.

The ultimate arbitrators are American voters. The Constitution enables them to choose the political players in a variety of ways.

So in 2006 and 2008 they chose Democrats, and thanks to the Constitution's four- and six-year terms, Democrats have a firm hold on the White House and a tenuous majority in the Senate.

In 2010 they chose Republicans, and thanks to the Constitution's two-year terms, they have a solid hold on the House of Representatives.

The Constitution establishes not a single united government but an arena for conflict. The Founders expected the House, the Senate, the president and the courts to disagree, and they hoped the net result of those conflicts would be good governance.

What we're watching is not children bickering but adults with sharply different ideas trying to shape public policy as much as they can. It's not squabbling, it's democracy.

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.

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JWR contributor Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner.




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