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 Nov. 27, 2007 / 17 Kislev 5768

Obama closing in on Clinton

By Clarence Page

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Perceptions are nine-tenths of reality in politics. If the voters think you're a winner, they are more likely to jump on your bandwagon. If they think you're sitting dead in the water, you're a bum, no matter how appealing your ideas might be.

That's been U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's problem. After his rock-star presidential campaign launch, the Illinois Democrat has been languishing in second place, running 20 points or more behind U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

Recently, though, as the clock ticks toward the casting of actual votes, Obama appears to have risen out of bum-hood and onto a roll.

What's changed? He's gone on the attack.

Or, as he puts it, he is drawing sharp contrasts and distinctions between his own positions and those of his leading opponent. The perception of decorum is important in politics, even as you quietly put on your brass knuckles.

The turning point was evident in the Oct. 30 Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia. Clinton was questioned sharply, especially by Obama, the journalists' panel and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

After exhibiting supreme confidence in the earlier debates, Clinton sounded evasive and even self-contradictory on key issues in Philadelphia. Afterward, even she admitted that she had fallen off her game.

A good example was her awkward wavering on whether she supported granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. She seemed to be trying to support the idea in principle, but not necessarily in practice. Obama has since made a theme of criticizing Clinton as lacking honesty, candor and consistency. Clinton countercharges pointedly that Obama lacks experience.

A revealing exchange began in Iowa when Obama said that his relatives in Kenya and his international upbringing allow him to view the world with more understanding than most of his challengers.

In a later Iowa appearance, Clinton responded like a seasoned veteran putting a young upstart in his place. "Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face," she said. "I think we need a president with more experience than that." Bop! Ka-bam!

Donate to JWR

But Obama should be delighted. Attacks from your political rivals can be the sincerest form of flattery. Front-runners usually don't make pointed jabs at rivals unless they think they have a real fight on their hands. Besides, knowledgeable observers noted that Clinton was stepping on shaky ground in boasting foreign policy expertise. She was a first lady, after all, not a secretary of state.

Adding to Obama's perception of momentum is a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released last week. The poll is the first in which Obama has scored a higher percentage than Clinton in Iowa, where the Jan. 3 precinct caucuses will formally launch the 2008 presidential race.

Obama's lead in the ABC/Post poll is within the survey's margin of error, pollsters caution, which means he and Clinton remain in the statistical dead heat in Iowa that they have been in since at least mid-summer. More ominous for Clinton is the apparent shift in what Iowa Democrats say they are seeking in a candidate. A majority in the new poll favor "new direction and new ideas" over "strength and experience" by 55 percent to 33 percent. A July ABC/Post poll found the ratio was 49 percent to 39 percent. Suddenly the lock that Clinton seemed to have on the nomination appears to have come unlocked.

The new battle of perceptions between Obama and Clinton is one of "honesty" versus "experience," in the Iowa poll. Even among Iowa's women, who have been more supportive of Clinton than Iowa's men, 30 percent believe Obama is more "honest and trustworthy," while just 18 percent say that for Clinton. For Obama, Iowa has turned from lackluster into a love fest.

Yet, it's a cautious fest. Even an emphasis on honest, candid "hard truths" can backfire. Sometimes candidates have been a little too honest. Walter Mondale comes to mind with his famous declaration in his 1984 Democratic convention speech: "Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did." Mondale lost in November because some people, to quote an old movie line, "can't handle the truth."

Obama appears to know better than to hand damaging sound bites to his rivals that easily.

At least, that's my perception.

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

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.


© 2007, TMS