Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Dec. 18, 2006 / 27 Kislev, 5767

Not So Fast: Why Barack Obama may not run

By John H. Fund


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Just about everybody seems convinced that Sen. Barack Obama is going to run for president. The Chicago Sun-Times, his hometown paper, is writing as if his candidacy is an established fact. Newsweek magazine cites sources close to him who claim that he's "about 80 percent" certain to run. Obamamania will continue to build until the Illinois senator announces next month . . .

Time out. Let's look at the 1 in 5 chance that even his own advisers say he won't run. I think it's greater than that. We've been here before with the Big Media clamoring for an attractive black candidate to make history. In 1995 there was a similar push to get Colin Powell to run, but he wisely demurred, citing family concerns about his security and the belief that he couldn't win the GOP nomination. Mr. Obama may similarly surprise everyone by not running this time. That may be wind up being best both for the country and for Mr. Obama.

On one level, the palpable enthusiasm for his fresh face is welcome. "He's a walking, talking hope machine," Mark McKinnon, a former Bush media strategist now advising Sen. John McCain, tells National Journal. Who better to help the country get over its racial hang-ups than a 45-year-old man who was born in multiethnic Hawaii to a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya and who grew up partly in Indonesia? He's the political equivalent of Tiger Woods.

Many voters want to get beyond the stale culture-war issues fought over by rival camps of baby boomers. Mr. Obama's uplifting rhetoric about "looking for something different" is appealing. For too long, black presidential candidates who focus on racial divisions candidates — Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton — have been showered with media attention and given a free pass on demagoguery. Mr. Obama doesn't see every issue through a racial prism, and many voters would buy the argument that his scant national record is an asset if it helps break up the status quo.


But Mr. Obama is also smart enough to know that he has become too popular too quickly. His supporters are doing him a disservice with their indifference to his lack of experience. "I don't particularly want to wait until he is ready," novelist Nora Ephron told PBS. "I'm ready for Barack Obama."

Left unspoken is the big reason why so many Democrats are swooning over the newcomer. It's the nagging belief that the country isn't ready to elect Hillary Clinton. "If she is the nominee, voters will be asked to select another Clinton, after having had a Bush in the White House, preceded by a Clinton, preceded by the first President Bush," one Democratic consultant observes. "Against her, most Republicans would look like a fresh face and with less baggage."

Mr. Obama knows that Hillary Clinton is a vulnerable front-runner. But he also knows that her side will haul out the brass knuckles to stop him. "Just a little while ago, he was in Springfield worrying about license-tag fees," is how one Hillary advisor told Newsweek magazine described one of the attack lines that would be used against him. "There's a fine line between an empty suit and an empty vessel into which people want to pour their hopes," says one national political journalist.

There's also the fact that for all his winning ways and natural appeal to the camera, Mr. Obama hasn't really been tested in a major campaign. In 2000, then-state Sen. Obama challenged Rep. Bobby Rush, who was vulnerable after having been crushed in a bid for Chicago mayor. Mr. Rush ran circles around Mr. Obama, aided by an endorsement from President Clinton, and beat him 2 to 1.

In 2004, when Mr. Obama ran for the U.S. Senate, he had the good luck of seeing both Blair Hull, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, and Jack Ryan, the GOP nominee, self-destruct in sex scandals. Mr. Obama's eventual Republican opponent, Alan Keyes, was an unserious candidate who won the votes of only 56% of Republican voters. A local Chicago political columnist notes that Mr. Obama is the closest thing to a rookie candidate on the national stage since Dwight Eisenhower and nicknames him "Obambi." Candidates as green as Mr. Obama make rookie mistakes under the searing scrutiny of a national campaign,

Only for so long will Mr. Obama's sparkling personality help him avoid troubling questions out his ideological record. The fact that he originally opposed the war in Iraq would help him with primary voters, but it's unclear how many Democrats want to plump for someone who, according to National Journal, has a more liberal voting record than Hillary Clinton. Last year Mr. Obama had a perfect 100% voting record from both the Americans for Democratic Action and the AFL-CIO.

His record as a state legislator is even more liberal. In 1996, he spoke out against the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Senate approved 85-14 and Mr. Clinton signed into law. He twice voted "present" on a bill to ban partial-birth abortions came up. In 1999 he was the only state senator to oppose a law that prohibited early prison release for sex offenders. Is anyone naive enough to believe Mrs. Clinton wouldn't use those positions as evidence that he couldn't win?

Donate to JWR


If Mr. Obama chooses to sit 2008 out, he won't be the first person to play the media like a fiddle, being coy about his intentions in order to boost his profile. Al Gore has followed his wife's advice to leave the door open for a 2008 presidential bid in part to fuel interest in his global-warming documentary and book. Similarly, Mr. Obama knew what he was doing in October when he announced his interest in a presidential candidacy at the very moment his new book reached the stores. Since then, "Audacity of Hope" has reached the top of the best-seller lists, selling more than 400,000 copies.

In addition to all the consultants who are urging him to run, Mr. Obama has other advisers who are telling him that at age 45 he can afford to wait. He also could easily find himself on the top of her list of potential running mates. "A Clintion-Obama ticket would be the most powerful turnout machine you can imagine for the Democratic base in 2008," one Democratic congressman who knows both of them told me. "He might be better positioned to be president if he first ran for vice president. If Hillary won, he would be the heir apparent. If she lost, no one would blame him for that."

For all the disappointment the national media might express at an Obama noncandidacy, he could marshal his rhetorical skills and deliver a superb speech that would deepen his long-term appeal to the electorate.

Imagine how refreshing it would be if he bowed out of the race for now, saying: "For every thing there is a season. I believe I am qualified to be president. But I think the country would be better served if I break with normal political ambition and for now devote myself to listening, learning and becoming the most effective senator for Illinois I can be. In other words, I have decided not to succumb to the hype that others are busy creating around me. That's for Hollywood, not for the serous business of running a country in troubled and dangerous times. I appreciate all the attention, but I would like to have more of a conversation with the American people before asking them to entrust me with that grave responsibility. That conversation is better conducted for now outside the media glare of a presidential campaign. Let the dialogue begin."

That kind of approach — practicing statesmanship in the face of enormous temptation — might elevate Mr. Obama's appeal in the long run and be of more benefit to him than the instant gratification of the campaign trail. Don't be surprised if an unconventional man like Mr. Obama makes that unconventional career choice.

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.)

Comment on this column by clicking here.

ARCHIVES

© 2006, John H. Fund

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles