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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 Sept. 8, 2008 / 8 Elul 5768

The battle of the party themes

By Michael Barone


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The national conventions are political shows staged to influence voters.


Soon, we can measure the bounce that the two tickets have received from their gatherings. But the more important question is whether the conventions establish arguments that are sustainable — over the course of the campaign and, for the winning ticket, over four years of governance. Four years ago, John Kerry's convention produced a narrative that proved unsustainable.


George W. Bush's convention produced one that was sustainable until Katrina and the 2005-06 meltdown in Iraq — yet that may be redeemed in history by the success of the surge and the rapid response to Gustav.


One of the themes hammered home at Barack Obama's convention was McCain equals Bush. That never struck me as sustainable and was pretty well demolished on the first full day of McCain's convention. Neither Obama nor McCain is a generic candidate — they are distinctive individuals, to whose specific characteristics voters respond, positively or negatively.


The Republican convention's premise is that McCain is the maverick reformer — an American version of Nicolas Sarkozy, who replaced an unpopular president of his own party. There is plenty in McCain's record to back that up. Not least is his selection of Sarah Palin for vice president. Palin's record of successfully battling establishment Republicans and oil companies in Alaska clearly appealed to McCain.


And that was amplified by the mainstream media attacks on her. Now the media, which were not alarmed by Obama's thin record, is worried about Palin being a heartbeat away from the presidency. Other women who were stay-at-home moms for years and then emerged into public life have outperformed their resumes — namely, Katharine Graham, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Madeleine Albright, Nancy Pelosi and Geraldine Ferraro. Palin, who has negotiated a natural gas pipeline with the oil companies and Canadian federal, provincial and Inuit authorities, may do so, too. We'll see if that argument is sustainable.


Voters express great dissatisfaction with the economy, even though it grew 3.3 percent in the last quarter. The Obama convention contended that the Democratic nominees understood people's woes from personal experience and that their programs would provide economic security. But the substance of those programs — refundable tax credits (i.e., payments to those who pay no income tax) and a national health insurance option — are unfamiliar to voters, and their details can be hard to explain.


The McCain convention's thesis is that higher taxes on high earners in a time of slow growth will squelch the economy (this was Herbert Hoover's policy, after all).


These assertions, too, are unfamiliar to voters. And, up to this point in the campaign, neither party has set out its programs clearly (or characterized the other side's fairly).


During the course of the year, two issues have unexpectedly turned in favor of the Republicans. One is Iraq: It is becoming plain that the surge has succeeded, and victory is in sight. McCain can argue he was right; Obama can argue it is safe to leave, as he has long urged. But the issue has lost much of its salience.


The other issue is energy. Four-dollar-a-gallon gas has produced majorities for offshore drilling, which McCain now favors and Palin always has, and which Obama and Joe Biden still dismiss as insignificant. Despite the recent drop in gas prices, the Republican position looks more sustainable to me, likely to trump the Democrats' quasi-religious fervor for renewable energy sources. Al Gore's speech was well received in Denver, but voters are not prepared to accept the sharp economic sacrifices he demands.


This election cycle has been full of surprises and unpredicted turns. Both candidates' vice presidential choices tended to undercut, at least marginally, their basic themes of change and experience. The political fundamentals — an unpopular president, a sluggish economy, an unpopular war — still favor the Democrats. But my sense is that the Democratic meme is less sustainable than the Republican' appeal. Which leaves things roughly tied.

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




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