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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 March 23, 2011 17 Adar II, 5771

Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling

By Dana Milbank




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | After two years of being called a tyrant and a dictator, President Obama returns to Washington from a five-day overseas trip to find that he has become a weakling.

Would-be opponents such as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin had been trying out this somewhat contradictory line of attack for more than a month, as Obama gave mixed signals about events in Egypt and Libya. But the "weak leader" charge gained traction over the weekend, as Obama chose to launch the attack on Gaddafi's forces while on an excellent adventure in South America with his family.

At about the moment the Tomahawk missiles began to rain down on Libya, Obama was joking with Brazilians about Carnival, the World Cup and the Olympics. Rather than hearing an Oval Office address announcing the new war, Americans got word from the president in a scratchy audio recording. As thousand-pound warheads pounded Libyan forces, Obama was kicking a soccer ball, seeing the sights and watching cowboys in sequins.

It was perilously close to George W. Bush's My-Pet-Goat moment, when then-President Bush continued reading a storybook with children on Sept. 11, 2001, after he was told that the second World Trade Center tower had been hit. Bush later said he was trying to maintain calm; likewise, White House officials tell me the decision to proceed with the South America trip was made in part to convey that the Libya bombardment was not a major military action.

Obama administration officials calculated that he would take a hit for proceeding with the voyage. But they appear to have been surprised by the force of the weakling complaint, coming not just from usual suspects such as Karl Rove but from liberals such as my Post colleague Richard Cohen, who saw Obama "quite literally distancing himself from the consequences of his own policy."

My own sense, based on years of Obamology and confirmed by discussions with current and former Obama advisers, is that Obama's decision to proceed with Spring Break in Rio comes less from weakness than from stubbornness. Since his earliest days on the campaign trail in Iowa, he has made clear his aversion to the flavor-of-the-day news cycle, instead measuring his progress toward a few broad-brush goals, such as American competitiveness and America's standing in the world. If something — like, say, the uprisings in the Middle East — doesn't fit unambiguously within his big goals, his instinct is to brush it off.

"I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle," he told reporters once. "I'm not. Okay?"

This worked to his benefit during the campaign, when he kept his focus on electoral mechanics rather than the vagaries of his opponents' attacks. But as president, his broad brushes have not always served him well, as when his laser focus on health care left voters with the sense that he didn't care about unemployment; he lost the House, and with it the rest of his agenda.

The attack on Libya presented the toughest test yet of Obama's defiance of the news cycle. In a USA Today op-ed before his departure, Obama wrote that while the Middle East is important, he was going to Latin America because "our top priority has to be creating and sustaining new jobs and new opportunities." Not only did the president proceed with his tour, but Vice President Biden went ahead with a reception for Democratic donors.

The administration officials I spoke with argued that this, itself, was a sign of strong leadership. "To abandon course at every moment of pundit criticism is not strength," said one of the president's top advisers. They pointed to polls showing most Americans continue to regard Obama as a strong leader, and they argued that, beyond Washington, headlines from Obama's trip justified his strategy. ("Obama's trip to Brazil key to N.J. businesses," reported the Bergen Record.)

But the White House is also discovering the perils of broad-brush leadership. The latest Post/ABC News poll found that when Americans were asked who is taking "a stronger leadership role," Republicans had a seven-point advantage over Obama; three months ago, Obama had a narrow lead.

The White House justifiably complains that the criticism of Obama's Libya policy is inconsistent: First he was too slow to take action, and now he's rushing to attack without congressional approval — even though Congress is on its own 10-day spring break.

But it doesn't matter if the criticism is fair. Obama left a vacuum, and his opponents filled it. For a president suddenly called "weak," such is the tyranny of the news cycle.

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Previously:



03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation


© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group