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 May 30, 2005 / 21 Iyar, 5765

Right Down the Middle?

By Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | ‘ Honor, trust, and respect for the Senate and the Constitution.’ These were the exalted words that enabled a bipartisan group of senators to avoid a destructive confrontation over judicial appointments. They overcame the threat to impose what Republicans themselves branded as the "nuclear option," which would have changed the long-standing rules that permitted the use of the filibuster to delay votes on judicial nominees. Many conservatives feel the Supreme Court is at the heart of the culture war in American life because of its rulings on issues like school prayer, obscenity and, above all, abortion.

In truth, this was really just another battle in the nation's culture war, and it reflects the growing significance of values—how people live their lives—versus economic class that has played such a critical role in the struggle between the Republican and Democratic parties and conservatives and liberals. At this point, the momentum is with the Republicans. Their popular majority may be small, but it is part of a significant trend, one that they believe they can convert into a durable political supremacy that could determine the nation's destiny for decades, similar to what FDR created in 1932 for the Democrats, which lasted until 1968.

The Republicans have had the Democrats on the defensive. They have won seven presidential victories in the last 10 elections since 1968; control of the House since 1994; and, recently, control of the Senate, both with increasing majorities. The Democrats have not broken 50 percent in any presidential election since 1976 or 48.5 percent in the six congressional elections since 1994. They have not won a majority of the white votes since 1964, and their geographic base has come to be concentrated on both coasts. You can fly over virtually the entire country without flying over states that voted Democratic.

This Republican resurgence has upended the traditional rule in politics that incomes, jobs, and economic outlook are decisive: "It's the economy, stupid." If it were, the Democrats should have coasted to victory in the 2000 election on the back of the boom of the Clinton years, and in 2004 on the developing squeeze on the middle and working classes from slow income growth and fast costs for healthcare, energy, and education that have led many families to feel they are falling behind, no matter how hard they work. The average two-income family earns far more than did most single-income families a generation ago, yet they have less discretionary income and savings than the latter because virtually all of their higher earnings go to keeping their families in the middle class, especially in homes near good and safe schools.

The "have nots". The ease of entry to the middle class that once buoyed the working lives of Americans and lies at the heart of the American dream has eroded. Higher education is now the ladder for moving up. But for many children the rungs are beyond reach, intensifying the growing gap between those with college and graduate degrees and those with only a high school diploma or who are high school dropouts, not to mention the bottom end where self-defined "have nots" have increased sharply, going since 1988 from 17 to 28 percent among whites and from 24 to 48 percent among blacks.

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The Democratic Party has long cast itself as the party of the little guy fighting against the party of big business, privilege, and wealth. So why has it been unable to capitalize on these anxieties and connect its version of progressivism with American life? The roots of disenchantment lie in the 1960s and 1970s when Democrats began to focus less on economics than on liberal social programs to promote the interests of blacks, women, gays, and other groups. This pushed a lot of traditional Democrats into the Republican column—blue-collar workers, construction workers, homemakers, military veterans, cops, evangelicals, rural residents, and ethnics. They saw the efforts of the New Left to weaken oppressive authority as corroding all authority. Woodstock and Hollywood came to epitomize what was seen as a narcissistic assault on conventional values played out daily in the coarsening of our culture in gangsta rap, cable ranters, and pornographic websites, accompanied by the delegitimization of the sanctity of marriage, drug abuse, and recasting wrongdoers as victims of society instead of the reverse. There was a sense that the Democrats had become dominated by elitist, highly educated, progressive classes who believed they knew better than average folks.

The Republicans are not stupid. They tagged the liberals as "latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, school-busing, fetus-killing, tree-hugging, gun-fearing, morally relativist and secularly humanist so-called liberal elitists," as commentator Jason Epstein described it, soft on communism, soft on crime, opposed to capital punishment, and soft on the new war on terrorism. At the same time, they tried to shed the country club-boardroom image and portray themselves as the party of the hardworking, plain-speaking people who like country music and NASCAR, attend church regularly (as 120 million Americans do), and live in those parts of the country that fill the ranks of the military, defend the flag and patriotism, and are tough on national security issues. George Bush was an effective politician in exploiting the cultural alienation of the Democratic Party from its working- and middle-class roots, while a windsurfing John Kerry was the ideal candidate to aggravate it. Bush won culturally driven voters by over 70 percent and became the first president since FDR to preside over a steady gain in his party's seats, despite the fact that many social indicators that fomented the cultural divide had begun to improve, among them crime, abortion, teenage birth, illegitimacy, divorce rates, and teenage drinking.

Apart from an epiphany in the Democratic Party, what could threaten the Republicans' ascendancy? Quite simply, overreach. As the Democrats discovered before them, Americans do not long attach themselves to ideology or extremes. The Republican Party moved to the right under pressure from its southern base and by a congressional membership fearful of an attack from the right during a primary, so much so that it now risks alienating mainstream America across a range of issues. Over 60 percent oppose the privatization of Social Security; roughly 70 percent of moderates disagree with the president's opposition to the financing of stem-cell research; 82 percent objected to Republican intrusion in the sad case of Terri Schiavo; and there is uneasiness about the creeping abandonment of federal rules governing safety at home and in the workplace and the erosion of environmental controls.

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JWR contributor Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


© 2005, Mortimer Zuckerman