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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 July 28, 2014 / 1 Menachem-Av, 5774

Nixon: Painfully shy, but craving great purpose

By Jeff Jacoby




JewishWorldReview.com | Perfect candor wasn’t Richard Nixon’s strong suit. But he spoke the gospel truth when he described himself as “an introvert in an extrovert’s profession.” He was one of the most successful political campaigners of the 20th century: winning election to both houses of Congress, serving two terms as Dwight Eisenhower’s vice president, and twice winning the White House in his own right — the second time by a 49-state landslide.

Nixon spent decades in the public eye, and was indefatigable in pursuit of votes. Yet rarely has a politician seemed less suited for the political life. When he resigned the presidency, 40 years ago next week, everyone knew why he was ending his career in politics. But why did someone so solitary, so ill at ease with people, embark on that career in the first place?

For that matter, why does any introvert go into politics, a profession dominated by extroverts? Nixon’s personality has been dissected by countless armchair psychoanalysts; much is made of the insecurities and resentments that drove him to win. But those inner demons could have propelled him in some other arena — law or academia or business. The lure of politics is the lure of power.

Nixon’s desire for power ultimately led to the scandal that brought down his presidency. But it began with a more idealistic quest for historical significance. In his high school and college years, he hung above his bed a picture of Abraham Lincoln on which his grandmother, quoting Longfellow, had written: “Lives of great men oft remind us/ We can make our lives sublime.” It was through politics that he would seek to leave his own mark on history. However his impact may ultimately be judged, there was something touching, even inspiring, about the young Nixon’s willingness to endure the privation and distress inherent in seeking public office.

For John F. Kennedy, the pursuit of the presidency meant years of hiding the physical agonies of his numerous ailments — Addison’s disease, colitis, ulcers, allergies, and the near-crippling pain of degenerative back problems. For Nixon it meant living with a different kind of misery — the forced bonhomie and small talk that he hated, the endless campaign stops and meetings with new people, the demand for ever more self-exposure.



“I’m fundamentally relatively shy,” then-Vice President Nixon told the journalist Stewart Alsop in 1959. “It doesn’t come natural to me to be a buddy-buddy boy. . . . I can’t really let down my hair with anyone.” Most politicians relish the company of others and thrive on the schmoozing and flesh-pressing of an election campaign — think of Bill Clinton, never more alive and energized than when in the midst of the fray, working a rope line, charming voters. As for Nixon, the harder he worked at appearing outgoing and convivial, the more he came across as . . . someone trying hard to appear outgoing and convivial.

Nixon was at his best when analyzing national and international affairs, and his stiffness and maladroitness in social situations must have been an unending ordeal for him. “No matter what he did, he seemed to come across as flat, unattractive, unappealing,” wrote H. R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, in his post-White House memoir. “He couldn’t relax with people other than his family.” Even in personal settings he “was stiff, artificial, sometimes even embarrassing with individuals.” Henry Kissinger, meeting Nixon for the first time after the 1968 election, was struck by the president-elect’s painful shyness. “Meeting new people,” Kissinger later observed, “filled him with vague dread.” Had Nixon not gone into politics, Elliot Richardson mused, he might well have made his mark as an intellectual.

But Nixon did go into politics, with all its indignities and discomforts. And however excruciating and unnatural he may have found the process of campaigning, he succeeded brilliantly: from freshman congressman to a winning national ticket in just six years. When his political obituary was written after he lost his run for California governor in 1962, he staged an astonishing comeback. When Watergate destroyed his presidency and he resigned in disgrace, he undertook still another comeback, this time to rehabilitate his reputation.

Nixon craved a life of great purpose; he hungered to shape history. That meant going into politics, however great the cost. Years after leaving the White House, Nixon wrote in a memoir: “You should not enter politics unless you are prepared to pay the price. The paradox is that you cannot imagine how high it may be until you are already in the maelstrom.” It had been rough on him, he conceded, but it had been worth it.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist.

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