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 Sept. 23, 2008 / 23 Elul 5768

In debates, may the best actor win

By Roger Simon

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Contrary to popular belief," historian Daniel J. Boorstin once wrote, "Barnum's great discovery was not how easy it was to deceive the public, but rather how much the public enjoyed being deceived. Especially if they could see how it was being done. They were flattered that anyone would use such ingenuity to entertain them."

When it comes to presidential debates, the candidates are certainly ingenious when it comes to entertaining us.

The candidates know that debates are not about demonstrating how they would actually behave as president.

They know debates are about showmanship, stagecraft and acting. Which is why Barack Obama and John McCain are spending much of this week rehearsing for their first debate on Friday.

If you were a Martian, you might find it odd that presidential candidates have to rehearse for presidential debates. After all, both Obama and McCain have spent nearly all their adult lives studying serious issues and have spent the past 19 months talking about them on an almost daily basis. But this week, they will stand on mock sets and debate against mock opponents.

All possible questions and all possible answers (they hope) have been compiled in massive briefing books by their staffs, and the only trick is for the candidates to regurgitate those answers while looking spontaneous and sincere. May the best actor win.

The press buys into this. When the debate is over, reporters will write their stories evaluating how well the candidates performed. The stories will be little different than theater reviews. And why should they be different, considering debates are all about theater?

Even the props are important.

Back on Nov. 19 of last year, the Commission on Presidential Debates sent out a press release announcing the dates of the debates and stating: "In each debate except the town meeting format (i.e., the second presidential debate), the candidates will be seated at a table with the moderator."

But that is not going to happen. On Friday, the candidates will stand behind lecterns, reportedly at the insistence of John McCain. One reason for this might be to show that McCain can stand up and perform for 90 minutes just as vigorously as Obama can.

Another reason, however, might be height: When Mike Dukakis debated the much taller George H.W. Bush in 1988, Dukakis had a little ramp that led to a platform hidden behind his lectern, so that when he stood on the platform he looked taller. (His campaign wanted the ramp so the TV cameras couldn't capture Dukakis stepping up onto the platform.) McCain is about a half-foot shorter than Obama, and McCain might want to use the same device.

Sound silly? In debates, there is no such thing as silly. There is only stagecraft.

Take stand-ins. Those are the people who play the role of the opponent during the debate rehearsals. They have briefing books, too, and they are supposed to behave like real opponents.

So real, the campaigns now believe, that the stand-ins also have to look like real opponents.

Thus, the McCain campaign felt the need to consider finding a black stand-in to play the role of Barack Obama. According to The Wall Street Journal, McCain was going to use Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland.

For his vice presidential debate, Joe Biden will use Jennifer Granholm, governor of Michigan, as his stand-in to play the role of Sarah Palin.

Of course, candidates are going to use people from their own party to play their opponents, but there is nothing in the background of Steele to suggest he is much like Obama on the issues and nothing in the background of Granholm to suggest she is much like Palin on the issues.

But one is black and one is a woman, and the campaigns want as realistic a dress rehearsal as possible. (After the Wall Street Journal story ran, the McCain campaign said Steele was no longer being considered. But the campaign would not say who it was considering. Maybe Alan Keyes or J.C. Watts should expect a call.)

Debates are some of the few moments in politicking when the campaigns pull back the curtain and invite people to take a look. "See?" the campaigns say. "This is how we stage the show. All for your entertainment!"

And, apparently, nobody finds any of it odd. Though I think you might have a hard time finding a Martian who would believe it.

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