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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 June 10, 2004 / 21 Sivan, 5764

Whatever happened to respect for the presidency?

By James Lileks


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http://www.jewishworldreview.com | When did we start hating presidents? Openly, that is.


In the '50s, the urban liberals patronized Ike. Tolerated him. That dopey smile, those golf clubs. Suburban banality personified. Was he paternal or avuncular? As if he'd know the difference, poor man.


Nixon always had his rabid detractors, but the famous Silent Majority wasn't eager to embrace the rhetoric of shaggy collegians who danced around blazing flags and rooted for Uncle Ho.


Carter wasn't constantly eviscerated by the mainstream media — teased for his bout with a killer rabbit, yes, and regarded by the wags as an extra from "Hee Haw" who wandered off the set. But he was the president, and that counted for something.


Then came Reagan. In the '80s, open contempt for a sitting president was no longer sole property of the intelligentsia. From MTV videos to fiction to "Saturday Night Live" to editorials, the culture pronounced a unanimous verdict: This guy is nuts, and he is going to KILL US ALL.


He was stupid, for starters. Only simpletons were that happy. Deep, smart people wore black and frowned and sat in the corner chain-smoking over the latest issue of the Nation. And he was an actor! (Years later these same critics would secretly regard Martin Sheen as the finest president of their lifetimes.)


Reagan was an economic illiterate in the grip of voodoo theories! His policies starved the treasury, brought on a recession and led to higher interest rates. Granted, the recession he inherited turned into a long boom and interest rates declined — but those are details.


Troublesome facts aside, we all recall the Great Depression of the '80s, don't we? Donald Trump amusing himself by throwing homeless people off the roof of his building. Breadlines that laced through three states. Security camera footage of Reagan himself sneaking into savings and loans to cook the books.

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He was heartless! He didn't talk about AIDS at first — as if the people at risk would have taken sex tips from a 72-year-old they didn't like. As if a presidential order clearing Needle Park and shutting down the bathhouses would have met huzzahs.


He was religious! OK, all presidents have to say God-type stuff, but people feared Reagan would calmly order a nuclear strike, believing that Jesus would appear to bat incoming Soviet missiles from the sky.


Anything else? Oh, right: He was a warmonger.


But please don't suggest all that mongering accomplished anything. No, the Soviet Union was a house of cards. With termite riddled walls. And a foundation of sand. In a typhoon. During an earthquake. It would have gone any day, and if Reagan did anything he just exhaled a small gust of breath that brought the whole rotten thing down.


Even if that were true, and it's not, at least it gives him credit for giving the USSR a nudge. There are always those who see tyrannies and wonder how they might be persuaded to play nice. It's as if there were a bear prowling around, and the villagers decided to stake out a few infants for supper in hopes the beast would go away.


Reagan preferred to shoot the bear. One hopes the verdict of history will be simple: nice aim.


Yes, this rhetoric continued during Clinton. Elements of the right became utterly unhinged by Clinton's ability to rise above his attackers and connect with the voters, just as Reagan had done. You could say the right was reacting to the incessant Reagan-bashing, but in the end it changed no hearts.


No doubt George W. Bush also waits content for the judgment of history; if he wins a second term and secures the peace, he may think he'll go down in the books like Reagan.


But history isn't written by the victors anymore. History is written by the historians. By the people who write masters' theses with titles like "Janet Jackson and Abu Ghraib: The Inappropriate Breast and Postmodern Paradigms of Oligarchical Media Meta-themes." Such bright minds are more likely to bury Reagan than to praise him, and drape the headstone with garlic just in case.


We can no longer agree to disagree, apparently. The other side isn't just wrong; it's evil.

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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, James Lileks