Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

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. 12, 2008 / 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Forget fringe, Obama taking the center road

By Dick Polman

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If we are to believe the cartoon about Barack Obama that was sketched by the Republicans during their autumn death spiral, the president-elect will surely hang Lenin's portrait in the White House and conspire with his new Treasury secretary, unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, to confiscate private property and transfer all personal wealth to the dregs of society.

That was the GOP's charming way of warning that Obama as president would hew to a partisan liberal agenda; indeed, the defeated party would be thrilled if Obama lurched sharply leftward, since that would lift Republican spirits and provide its members with a rallying cry during their time of woe.

In their dreams. He will not prove to be such an easy target.

By temperament and instinct, Obama is far more likely to govern from the center, to situate himself, politically speaking, at ground zero. On Tuesday night, he captured the middle - self-described "moderate" voters (the largest segment of the electorate) supported Obama over John McCain by 21 percentage points - and, in terms of political viability, the middle is ultimately where a president needs to be.

Folks in the middle are fed up with ideological partisanship, the ongoing Washington strife between left and right - and Obama addressed their disgust on election night, when he urged that we all "resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long." He wants to reach out and find common ground, if only to dampen the potential ire of his opponents (thus hewing to Michael Corleone's advice in "The Godfather - Part II" that it is wise to "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer").

Indeed, Obama's top strategist has already signaled Obama's likely approach; two months ago, in The Atlantic, David Axelrod said Obama would feel "a special responsibility to try and forge coalitions ... because, ultimately, effective governance requires it in the long term. I think he would be a mediating force against those who suggest that we should simply overrun the other side on issue after issue."

Well, that isn't necessarily what liberal Democratic lawmakers, activists, and blogosphere rooters want to hear. They all feel newly empowered after eight years on the outs, and many believe that monumental policy strides - on health-care insurance, on energy independence - can be made by maximizing Democratic unity and stiffing the outgunned minority.

In fact, there is already some grousing that Obama might be too conciliatory. True to the spirit of Democrats, they didn't even wait until he was elected.

On Tuesday afternoon, after an Obama emissary told Fox News that Obama as president-elect would seek "to reach out to the millions of people who are voting for John McCain," liberal author/activist David Sirota blogged on salon.com: "Ummm, what about the millions of people who, ya know, voted for Obama? Don't we count for something? ... The uprising that this election season has stoked will need to become all the more intense starting tomorrow, if we are to make sure (that Obama) doesn't spend the first days after the election constructing another conservative presidency."

Here's the "uprising" in action: In the wake of reports that Obama might name Lawrence Summers as Treasury secretary, liberals (who view Summers as a financial-establishment toady) struck back. An embarrassing memo, written by Summers in 1991, surfaced last Thursday on the liberal Huffington Post Web site. It turns out Summers, as a World Bank economist, encouraged the dumping of toxic waste in Africa - this prompting the Web site to warn that if Obama taps Summers, "he will send a dispiriting message to governments of developing countries ... just as they have begun to look at the United States as a beacon of hope."

Some liberal commentators are also upset that Obama might name some Republicans to his Cabinet, and they find Obama's bipartisan tone to be a tad ironic, given the fact that the president-elect, during his Senate career, has rarely worked with the Republicans on anything controversial.

It's always possible that Obama's conciliatory talk will cease once he is exposed to the cross pressures of governing in an ideologically polarized climate. Candidate George W. Bush vowed in 2000 to "change the tone" in Washington, and we know how that turned out. Candidate Bill Clinton vowed in 1992 to minimize the left-right strife - he called it "brain-dead politics" - yet he would soon shelve or postpone many of his centrist ideas (welfare reform, middle-class tax cuts, campaign-finance reform) to appease his liberal wing.

The big argument for centrist governance is that nothing significant can be achieved in Washington without bipartisan support, without members in both parties owning a stake. Obama, a student of the last two administrations, surely knows this. The problem is that, unlike in the nation itself (where a 44 percent plurality of voters call themselves moderates), there are relatively few moderates in the town where the legislative sausage is processed.

The interest groups on the left and right are not going away. The netroots voices will be louder than ever (with liberal commentators poised to scream betrayal if Obama tacks too much to the middle), and the Rush Limbaugh constituency will resurrect that Obama cartoon if the president doesn't tack enough. It's hard to see how Obama can navigate these treacherous waters.

On the other hand, if vivid memory serves, he has been underestimated before.

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.

Dick Polman is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Comment by clicking here.


PREVIOUSLY

08/15/08: What leaders can and cannot do
06/12/08: Obama and McCain would do well to follow a few tips
05/14/08: Obama-Clinton? Stranger things have happened
02/20/08: Clinton faces two unpleasant alternatives at this critical moment in her campaign
01/24/08: If Hillary takes down black guy who embodies the black American dream, she will break the Democratic coalition
01/17/08: Sobs, gulps and a few long sighs: Dems articulate their views
11/08/07: Thompson's federalism draws no ‘amens’ from religious right
11/02/07: Getting white men to jump
10/08/07: Clinton talks reform, but takes cash
07/03/07: Tapping Hillary fashion flap to raise funds
07/27/07: Hillary owes Elizabeth big time
03/09/07: For liberals, Clinton fatigue rooted in policy
03/01/07: Fading memories of Newt: Former speaker could benefit if conservatives forget some of his actions




© 2007, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles