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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 Sept. 14, 2009 / 25 Elul 5769

Obama's Easier Path

By David Broder



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A great speech is a combination of words and music, of content and color, of substance and emotion. When the speech is as important as the health-care address that President Obama delivered to Congress on Wednesday night, it is worthwhile to go back and analyze the parts.

So after watching it live on TV, I replayed it twice, the first time shutting out the argumentation and focusing on the tone and body language, the elements that communicate most directly with the audience. Then I listened again, weighing the assertions and evidence.

On the first run-through, I was struck again, as so often during the election campaign, by Obama's ability to move an audience through his actor's skills. At times he conveyed deep-felt concern, anger, determination, reasonableness and firmness. The overall goal was to reenergize a slumping initiative, to summon and convey the determination to act — and act now.

The keynote was simple and almost substance-free: "The time for bickering is over." The reaction among his fellow Democrats was all that he could have hoped. They came off the mat, full of fight.

When I listened again, this time trying to tune out the rhetoric and trace the argument, the impression was strikingly different. For the first time I realized how far Obama has shifted from the proposition that marked his successful race for the White House.

Then, his great theme was "change we can believe in." Now, the message is "change we need not fear." It is certainly understandable why he has shifted. This summer has been brutal to his hopes. A variety of doubts — some artificially fed by his opponents, others reflecting genuine questions about the costs and consequences of his reforms — have put the president on the defensive.

The classic response is to offer reassurance, to promise that nothing important to you, the voter, will be lost if Obama gets his way. The problem is that by emphasizing what will not change, the president inevitably reinforces the status quo.

Consider the two main promises Obama made. First, he said, to the millions covered by their employer plans, "Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have." That sounds reassuring. But the reality is that the health-care system is headed for crisis precisely because those employer-based plans are foundering. More and more are being canceled, and more of their costs are shifting to workers. They are a drag on the economy and a major factor in our loss of international competitiveness.

Obama knows that we cannot keep what we have. This is why he is pushing to create insurance exchanges where families can buy their health coverage in competitive marketplaces that will help drive down costs.

But Obama does not tell people: "I want you to get used to the idea that eventually you may not get your coverage from your employer, and you will have to be a smart shopper, looking for the best deal you can get from competing insurance firms."

The second big audience that Obama addressed was Medicare retirees. Again, his message to this crucial constituency was: Nothing will change for you. The reality is even more at odds with the rhetoric.

Medicare is going broke. Health-care costs are rising faster than the rate of inflation, and within years Medicare will add billions to the budget deficits. What is worse, Medicare is the main engine for subsidizing the most wasteful, inefficient system of health-care payments in any advanced industrial country. It rewards practitioners and hospitals on the basis of the volume of procedures, not on the outcomes for patients. And because its reimbursement rates are below actual costs, they drive hospitals and doctors to do more and more just to try to keep up with the bills.

Again, Obama knows better. He knows that unless he can fundamentally reform Medicare, he cannot achieve his goals. He knows he has to move it toward the models of the Mayo and Cleveland clinics and the few communities around the country where networks of doctors and hospitals have committed themselves to high-quality, low-cost medicine.

But he is not telling people that Medicare must change, so members of Congress will be reluctant to take the first steps in that direction.

I realize that what I am asking Obama to do is really hard. He has justifications for taking the easier path of reassurance. But his promise as president was to do the hard things, the big things. I wish he would try.

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