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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 March 14, 2006 / 14 Adar, 5766

Lame ducks can still bite back

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Teaching the history of revolutions has been easy at Harvard this semester. As if to illustrate exactly how these strange historical upheavals work, the university has obligingly staged a revolution of its own.


The outside world is under the impression that one of two things has happened at Harvard: Either a reactionary despot has been deposed by faculty freedom fighters, or a bold reformer has been thwarted by vested interests. Most revolutions get written up in these contrary ways.


In reality, revolutions usually begin with rather obscure disputes, like how to pay for a standing army in the colonies. They burst out of political channels only when the grievances against the monarch reach a critical mass and the monarch alienates one too many of his own supporters.


Thus it was at Harvard. The question I found myself pondering last week was whether the same thing is happening in Washington. Could the next president to fall victim to an unruly representative body be George W. Bush?


Like Harvard's Larry Summers, Bush is a president with a bold vision. Summers wanted to move Harvard science to Allston; Bush wanted to bring freedom to the Middle East. But, also like Summers, Bush has a style problem. Not the abrasive contrariness that alienated professors but a reserve verging on introversion that has cut him off from his own party in Congress.


Ten days ago, I paid a visit to the imposing Russell Building on Capitol Hill, where senators have their offices. What I saw there was a timely reminder of just how much power the Constitution vests in the legislative branch. The senators I spoke with made it abundantly clear that Bush's political capital — about which he boasted after securing reelection — is all used up. The phrase I kept hearing was lame duck.


It's not hard to see why. With his approval ratings down to 37%, Bush is now as unpopular as his father was in the year before his defeat by Bill Clinton. As midterm elections approach, the political hunting season has begun. Republicans and Democrats alike are taking potshots at the president as if merely having a lame duck is not enough. They want this duck dead.


Last week they got him with both barrels. The House Appropriations Committee voted 62 to 2 to block the acquisition by Dubai Ports World of the U.S. subsidiary of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., a deal that the president had unequivocally backed. Before Bush could even reach for the presidential veto — a weapon he has never had to use thanks to his own party's dominance in Congress — Dubai World folded, announcing that it would "transfer fully" P&O Ports North America to "a U.S. entity." This is the biggest humiliation Bush has suffered since entering the White House. It is unlikely to be the last.


Grievances in an assembly have a way of multiplying. There was already unease among GOP lawmakers on a number of issues, notably the administration's insistence that torture, detention without charge and phone-tapping without warrants are all legitimate weapons in the war on terrorism. The idea of Arabs running American ports was the last straw.


But there is a difference between Harvard and Washington. Last year, I listened aghast as Summers abased himself before the faculty with the most abject apology (for his remarks about women scientists) I think I have ever heard. He had forgotten British Adm. Jackie Fisher's words: "Never apologize, never explain." Saying sorry was like dripping blood into a pool full of sharks; it only made them hungrier.


This is not a mistake I expect Bush to make; he is likely to be more cussed than contrite. After all, it makes no sense to cast aspersions on the reliability of a Middle Eastern ally like the United Arab Emirates — especially at a time when the U.S. needs all the foreign investment it can get to finance its yawning budget and trade deficits.


Members of Congress should beware of underestimating this president, as others have done in the past. They should remember that a second-term president is not necessarily a lame duck — he is also a man with nothing to lose.


So my guess is that Bush is going to bite back. And the obvious way for him to do this is over Iran. Last Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney declared: "We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon." Remind you of anything? It was Cheney who set the pace four years ago as the administration prepared to confront Iraq, insisting that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. And the same sequence of events now looks set to replay itself. The U.S. is going to ask the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions if Iran does not halt its program of uranium enrichment. The other permanent members won't agree. And then….


Well, when those missiles slam into the Iranian nuclear facilities, don't say I didn't warn you. In academic politics, the stakes are relatively low. But where the stakes are high — and they don't get any higher than American national security — the presidents are harder to roll over. The next time you hear the word "duck" in Washington, my advice would be to do just that.

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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.

03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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