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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 Sept. 29, 2010 21 Tishrei, 5771

Obama Without the Magic Wand

By Roger Simon




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We perceive — dare we say it? — a sense of malaise.

When it comes to the midterm elections, just five weeks away, we sense on the part of some, including some working in the White House, a sense of weariness.

They work horrifically long hours, barely seeing their families if they see them at all, pushing the boulder up the mountain each and every day. But this is a different kind of weariness.

It is the weariness the comes from fearing that their hard work will not matter, will not change things, and that every day the mountaintop is just as far away.

And while this has been a draining and fatiguing two years for Barack Obama, this fatigue may be nothing compared to what ordinary voters are feeling.

Velma Hart has become a national symbol of this. She is the African-American woman who stood up at a CNBC town hall last week conducted by John Harwood and in calm, measured, yet emotional tones lowered the boom on Obama.

"I'm one of your middle-class Americans," she told him, "and quite frankly, I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for ... .

Obama straightened up on his stool, slapping a huge, but defensive grin on his face. He said "right" as Hart continued, "... and deeply disappointed with where we are right now."

She went on, and it didn't get any better.

"I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class," she said. "I'm one of those people, and I'm waiting, sir. I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet. And I thought, while it wouldn't be in great measure, I would feel it in some small measure."

Obama gave her a smooth and sincere answer. "Times are tough for everybody right now, so I understand your frustration," he said and then talked about the billions of dollars he had provided in college aid and how credit card companies could not change their rates without notifying people and how health care companies could no longer drop people.

Watching the exchange was like listening to people talk in completely different languages.

A "whole host" of things were better, Obama assured Hart, even if a bad economy had made her feel like she was "treading water."

Interviewed later by Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post, Hart said: "I was operating off expectations he set during the campaign trail. I thought there was something special and secret he knew that would make things operate differently."

Hart admitted her expectations were unrealistic and Obama has been in office for only two years.

"But I guess I started to believe, on some small level, that he had a magic wand," she said.

And that is what millions of people of all races wanted to believe of Obama without really admitting it: He had "special and secret" solutions "that would make things operate differently." He had "a magic wand."

By now, we know there are no wands; he has no magic. He is not a wizard, not a superhero. He is not able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

He is just a very smart guy with a very smart team faced by very tough problems and very tough opponents willing to undercut him at every opportunity.

Even the newly popular Bill Clinton has no real fix for him.

"He's being criticized for being too disengaged, for not caring," Clinton told Politico's John F. Harris and James Hohmann last week. "So he needs to turn into it. I may be one of the few people that think it's not bad that that lady said she was getting tired of defending him. He needs to hear it."

And he did hear it. So what is Clinton's advice?

"So I just tell him to sort of try to get the country up again without being — looking — naive or la-la, but be optimistic about our future," Clinton said. "Embrace people's anger, including their disappointment at you. And just ask 'em to not let the anger cloud their judgment. Let it concentrate their judgment. And then make your case."

Which Obama has been doing for months. He recognizes people's disappointment and anger but blames it almost exclusively on a bad economy. Then he says that as bad as things are now, they would be worse under the Republicans.

Obama might be right about that, and as the economy improves — as it probably will — his poll numbers may rise again.

But it may be something more than the economy.

It may be that people are realizing that without a magic wand, Obama is just doing everything he can to cut through the malaise.

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