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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 Feb. 12, 2007 / 24 Shevat, 5767

Some pundits and pols think the 2008 election is a sure thing. They've been wrong before

By John H. Fund


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The first 2008 presidential primary is nearly a year away, and the general election won't be for another 631 days. But to hear some pundits and politicians talk, you'd think the outcome was already settled.

Columnist Robert Novak reports that leading Washington Democrats, buoyed by Hillary Clinton's successful debut in Iowa, are now saying their party can't lose. Bill Daley, a former Clinton commerce secretary who was Al Gore's 2000 campaign manager, is emphatic: "I don't care who the Democratic nominee is. He will become president in '08." (Mr. Daley backs Barack Obama, which may explain that politically incorrect "he.") Rep. Artur Davis, an Alabama Democrat, describes the Hillary juggernaut: "A lot of my colleagues in the Congress say privately on the floor, 'Well, I like Obama, but Hillary is going to win. We are going to have to deal with her.' "

Some Republicans go halfway to agreeing that their party isn't likely to hold the White House. Former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber, who now serves as policy chairman for Mitt Romney, told Roger Simon of Politico.com that "I don't want to contribute to my own party's demoralization, and it doesn't necessarily mean there will be a Democratic landslide, but I think there is a thumb on their side of the scale that's not going to come off until after the next election."



History should teach us to take such claims with more than a grain of salt. While pundits will constantly remind us when they were right, they fall strangely silent when it comes to recalling their missed calls. Let's look at how the presidential field looked some 21 months before the general election, the equivalent point where we are in this cycle, in three previous campaigns.

In February 1991, Democrats were distraught at then-President Bush's 91% approval numbers in the wake of the Gulf War. Leading Democrats such as Sam Nunn and Mario Cuomo decided not to run. The Los Angeles Times noted that Democrats were so discouraged about their chances in 1992 "that they are talking quietly of drafting an uncharismatic but respected legislative leader to serve as a sort of caretaker nominee." Then-House Speaker Tom Foley was mentioned.

In the event, Mr. Bush's popularity soon tanked in a bad economy. Bill Clinton, who didn't even announce for the 1992 Democratic nomination until October 1991, became the surprise nominee. Even after he won all the key primaries, Democrats were skeptical of his chances; polls showed him trailing not only Mr. Bush but independent Ross Perot. Mr. Clinton won anyway, outpolling the incumbent by better than 5.5%.

But two years later, Mr. Clinton was in deep trouble. After Republicans swept Congress in 1994, he was reduced to insisting at a news conference that "the president is relevant here." Congressional Democrats seemed to disagree. "Everyone's clinging to their own life jacket," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland in early 1995. Polls showed Mr. Clinton losing badly to either Bob Dole or Colin Powell.

But the White House fought back. Touting popular Dick Morris-inspired micro-issues such as school uniforms and television controls for parents they built back political capital until the impasse between Congress and Mr. Clinton led to a government shutdown in December 1995. Former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos (now with ABC News) says that Democrats, until then holding out against the Republicans' budget-limiting efforts, were very close to blinking and were thrilled when GOP congressional leaders Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich blinked first. "Whether the cause was hubris, naiveté, or a failure of nerve," Mr. Stephanopoulos wrote in his memoir, "the Republicans had blown their best chance to splinter our party; from that point on, everything started breaking our way." Mr. Clinton went on to beat Mr. Dole by 8.5%.

The 2004 election had its share of dramatic surprises. In January 2003, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed Sen. Joe Lieberman as the clear favorite for the nomination. He had 27% of likely primary votes, followed by Dick Gephardt with 14%, John Edwards with 11% and John Kerry with 10%. Howard Dean had 3%, less than half of Al Sharpton's support.

Mr. Lieberman continued to lead or tie for first place in 35 national polls of Democrats over the next eight months. Then anti-war sentiment and the power of the Internet to raise small donations propelled Howard Dean into front-runner status. In January 2004, just days before the Iowa caucuses, a poll of 50 Democratic insiders by the National Journal found 43 of them believed Mr. Dean would be the nominee. Not one predicted that John Kerry would be their party's candidate in 2004.



In light of this history, a degree of humility is in order for anyone making predictions about 2008. Smart Democrats know that their 2006 election victory represent an opportunity, not a sure thing. They are listening to New York's Chuck Schumer, the architect of the party's Senate takeover. He writes in a new book that those who believe the party has gained the trust of the American people are "forgetting a critical truth about the election. . . . The overwhelming reason for our victory was that Bush had screwed up." Mr. Schumer warns Democrats that "unless we build on our values to generate better ideas, sharper policies and a clearer vision, we will be in trouble" in 2008.

Democrats who want to take back the White House in 2008 would do better to listen to realists like Chuck Schumer than to triumphalists like Bill Daley.

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.

JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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