May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on
April 22, 2013
US man departing country arrested on terror charges
An unorthodox but growing treatment in a 9-year-old's battle against cancer
April 19, 2013
Caroline B. Glick:
Why Obama's visit to Israel had no impact on public opinion or government policy
Gold collapse: The start of something big?
Livable super-Earths? Two candidates among Kepler's latest finds
April 17, 2013
Too much of a good thing? 'Palestinians' realize downside of foreign aid boom
BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!
April 15, 2013
Egyptian Christians respond with harsh words to attack -- rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire -- against main cathedral
Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar:
High Court to decide if you should own your DNA
US bracing for more Russian blowback after taking action against 18 more human rights violators
April 12, 2013
New cybersecurity bill: Privacy threat or crucial band-aid?
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom:
The Kosher Gourmet by Susan Russo:
Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
April 10, 2013
North Korean missiles: Could US shoot them down?
Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets
Donald Hensrud, M.D.:
Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Take vitamin supplements with caution --- even approved, they may actually do damage
74 DNA discoveries move cure closer for three cancers
April 8, 2013
Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
Is Putin finally trading his own party for a new power base?
Jewish World Review
Nov. 10, 2006
/ 19 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767
The interpretation battle
There are two battles every election year. The first is for votes; the second almost as crucial is over the interpretation of those votes. Many a past election has been misinterpreted in the days following recall the "angry white male" election and the "swift boat" election. Today, we are invited to conclude that the 2006 election was a referendum on the Iraq War and the Bush presidency. Maybe. But for the sake of argument, let's consider the possibility that Iraq did not determine this election at all.
The war in Iraq was cited as an "extremely," "very" or "somewhat" important factor in the votes of 89 percent of the electorate according to exit polls. But the war on terror was cited by 92 percent of voters as important to their votes. These nearly cancel each other out, as those who cited Iraq as crucial tended to vote Democrat and those who cited terror tended to vote Republican.
Fifty-seven percent of voters said they either "strongly" or "somewhat" disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president, but more (61 percent) said they disapproved of Congress. Why Congress? Other polling, conducted before Election Day, found that 75 percent of voters were concerned about political corruption.
In days before the Foley scandal erupted, support for Republican candidates was inching up. On Sept. 15, a USA Today/Gallup poll showed support for Republican and Democratic House candidates tied at 48/48. Foley resigned on Sept. 29. By Oct. 8, 59 percent of voters were leaning Democrat. Republican numbers never recovered after that.
Foley was merely the proverbial straw breaking the camel's back, of course. Corruption has been oozing and suppurating from Capitol Hill for several years. Recall that Republicans had changed their rules to permit a member of the leadership to continue to serve following an indictment. They changed it back later, but too late to undo the damage it had done to their reputations.
Rep. Tom DeLay was forced to resign when he was indicted (justly or not) and then left office under a cloud. Rep. Duke Cunningham was indicted and convicted not for borderline campaign finance finagling, but for out-and-out graft. Jack Abramoff and his buddies (which included some members of Congress like former Rep. Bob Ney and Sen. Conrad Burns, along with many movers and shakers in Republican circles) were found guilty of bilking Indian tribes and other low deceits. Abramoff's black trench coat and black hat became the symbol of Republican control.
There was one prominent Democrat caught with his fist in the till, William Jefferson (of frozen bucks fame), but instead of offering him up as evidence that corruption is bipartisan, the Republican leadership threw a protective arm over Jefferson's shoulder, indignantly denouncing the FBI for searching his office. In so doing, they made his scandal their own.
When Foley, a champion of protecting kids from Internet porn, was revealed as an instant-messaging degenerate, and it was bruited that members of the leadership had known of his proclivities and remained silent, the corruption needle headed into red territory. Days later, we learned that Rep. Curt Weldon was under investigation by the FBI, and the snowball picked up speed.
Many reasons have been adduced for the "Republican revolution" of 1994 and the tectonic shift that year may have had several antecedents. But without doubt among the most potent issues was corruption. Certainly Newt Gingrich, who had successfully upended House Speaker Jim Wright on those grounds, was aware of its power.
Gingrich offered a Contract with America, but he also harped on Congress's failure to abide by the laws it passed for others (including employment and Civil Rights laws), its elaborate perks and the House banking scandal. Thanks to a cozy system designed by the lawmakers for the lawmakers, members of Congress were engaged in massive check kiting. No fewer than 77 members either resigned or failed to seek re-election due to the banking scandal, and five were convicted of crimes. At the same time, voters learned of the House post office scandal, which resulted in the resignation and criminal conviction of Rep. Dan Rostenkowski. In 1994, the voters threw the Democrats out.
This year, Republicans had many reasons to be lukewarm about their representatives. Spending has been obscene. Earmarks are a disgrace. The reforming zeal the class of '94 arrived with has long since melted into complacency. Some conservative voters may have chosen to sit this one out. But the overriding reason for the Democrats' sweep just as it was for the Republicans 12 years ago was corruption.
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.
Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.
Mona Charen Archives
© 2006, Creators Syndicate
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K