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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 July 12, 2012/ 22 Tammuz, 5772

Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "We've got two fundamentally different ideas about where we should take the country," said President Obama at a recent campaign stop in Ohio. The statement was false in the sense he meant it, but true in another.

Despite its questionable facticity, Obama will be flogging this theme hard until November. The president hammered away at it some more later the same day, when he told a crowd there are "two fundamentally different visions about how we move the country forward. And the great thing about our democracy is you get to be the tiebreaker."

Mitt Romney says much the same. As he declared after clinching the GOP nomination, he has "a very different vision" for America than the president does.

In politics, this is known as drawing distinctions. The speaker's side - whichever one that happens to be - wants a healthy, prosperous America where happy people lead successful and fulfilling lives. This is why it must defeat the other side, which wants only to smash America behind the ear with a tire iron, drag her into a dark alley, rob her blind, stab her with a rusty knife, and leave her for dead. You just can't entrust a great country like this to people like that.

Yet for all the distinction-drawing, the candidates' visions often sound strikingly similar. Not long ago one of them said he wants "an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living, [with] children even more successful than their parents. — This America is fundamentally fair. — In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded." And "poverty will be defeated," and yadda yadda yadda. Can you tell which candidate said that? Of course not.

Granted, stump speeches are Nytol in gas form, focus-grouped until every last wisp of originality and daring has been thoroughly expunged. But what about the issues?

There, too the differences are more marginal than fundamental. Take foreign policy: Both Obama and Romney espouse the centrist approach of the diplomatic, academic and think-tank establishment. They might differ in tone, but neither of them is going to embrace either the neo-isolationism of the Pat Buchanan right or the disarmament pacifism of the radical left.

In fact, Obama's approach to the war on terror sounds like something Dick Cheney would admire. As The New York Times noted in May, "Obama [has] preserved three major policies - rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention - that have been targets of human rights groups since the 2001 terrorist attacks." He is using drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists from above - and counting any military-age male in the vicinity as a combatant, even if that male is merely herding sheep.

On the budget and taxes, Romney and Obama are - again - different mostly at the margins. And while those marginal differences can add up over time, neither candidate has proposed a sharp deviation from the current fiscal trajectory. On the few issues where they show genuine disagreement, such as abortion, they are largely constrained by constitutional limits.

As for health care, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson put it best: "There are only two people in world history who have signed individual mandates into law. One is the president, [and] the other's the guy running against him." True, the next president might nominate one or more Supreme Court justices. If Romney does so, he could nominate a right-winger like Chief Justice John Roberts, who could overturn the individual mandate on — oops, never mind.

This is why, for all the talk of "fundamentally different ideas," Republicans obsess about Obama's personal life. It's why the Obama camp has spent so much time and effort on personal attacks: Romney won't release all his tax records, Romney keeps money in offshore accounts, etc. It's hard to crystallize policy distinctions when the positional differences are so blurry. (Those attacks have given rise to what should be the quote of the year: "Apparently I'm supposed to be more outraged by what Mitt Romney does with his money than what Barack Obama does with mine.")

No, the real split is to be found not so much between the two big-government candidates themselves as in the electorate. And, as is so often the case, de Tocqueville explained it presciently. "Our contemporaries," he wrote, "are incessantly tormented by two hostile passions: they feel the need to be led and the desire to remain free. Unable to destroy either the one or the other of these opposite instincts, they work hard to satisfy both at the same time. They imagine a unique, tutelary, omnipotent power, but elected by the citizens. — They console themselves about being in tutelage by thinking that they have chosen their tutors themselves. — In this system, the citizens emerge for a moment from dependency in order to indicate their master, and return to it."

Or, as Woody Allen put it in "My Speech to the Graduates": "More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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