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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 August 4, 2011 / 4 Menachem-Av, 5771

Smearing the Tea Party

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Did Vice President Joe Biden slander Tea Party Republicans by saying they "acted like terrorists" in the protracted debate over raising the federal debt ceiling? To use such language would be contemptible, especially in the wake of Anders Breivik's twin massacres in Norway and just weeks before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities. Biden claims he never said it, and out of respect for his office I'd like to say I believe him.

But I'm skeptical.

Politico reported Monday afternoon that at a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic caucus the vice president joined in the "hot rhetoric" against GOP conservatives, specifically agreeing with one Democrat who described them as a "group of terrorists [who] have made it impossible to spend any money." Biden's office initially refused to confirm or deny the comment, but after it became public, he went on TV to disavow it: "I did not use the 'terrorism' word," he told CBS.

What makes Biden's denial so implausible is that liberals and Democrats have been flinging the "terrorist" slur across the aisle for weeks. Do you remember President Obama's call, after the deadly shooting in Tucson last January, for "more civility in our public discourse?" Remember how he deplored the urge "to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do?" Many on the left have apparently forgotten, to judge by their zeal for linking the Tea Party's views on the debt ceiling to the extremism that leads fanatics to kill.

Listen, for example, to former Obama administration official Steven Rattner, speaking on MSNBC last week: "These Tea Party guys are, like, strapped with dynamite, standing in the middle of Times Square at rush hour and saying, 'Either you do it my way, or we're going to blow you up, ourselves up, and the whole country up with us.'"

Or to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, warning that "if sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the GOP on a suicide mission."

Or to Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House Minority Whip, talking about "Russian roulette" with loaded chambers, and how House Republicans "want to shoot every bullet they have at the president."

Or to former Ted Kennedy aide William Yeomans, now an American University law professor, who says labeling Tea Party Republicans "hostage-takers" doesn't go far enough, since "they have now become full-blown terrorists."

I am no prig when it comes to robust political commentary. I have always believed that the marketplace of ideas has room for rhetoric that is passionate, combative, or angry. And I respect the power of an apt metaphor to enliven a critique or sharpen an argument. But there is language that goes beyond the limits of decency. Smearing people as "terrorists" -- as the equivalent of hate-filled zealots who blow up embassies and gun down children and detonate bombs in crowded subways -- adds nothing but poison to a debate over fiscal policy. There is nothing clever or illuminating about such invective. It is illiberal and grotesque and it pollutes our public discourse.

Twenty years ago, Mike Godwin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation observed that in any online debate, it is only a matter of time before someone invokes Adolf Hitler or the Nazis to discredit an opponent's position. Sadly, "Godwin's Law" seems more entrenched than ever, and it isn't limited to the internet or to Nazi analogies.

In the course of the debt-ceiling showdown, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that GOP resistance would force the government into "a Sophie's choice. Who do you save?" -- a Godwinian reference to the movie in which Meryl Streep plays a mother able to rescue only one of her children from death in a Nazi concentration camp. Republicans and Tea Party members also found themselves compared to pro-apartheid Afrikaaners, to the Ku Klux Klan, to arsonists. And, over and over again, to terrorists.

I know that American politics, to coin a phrase, ain't beanbag. Political passions have always run high, and I wouldn't want to live in a country where public issues and values weren't vigorously contested. But there is a difference -- a sharp difference -- between disputing a view you reject and demonizing someone who holds that view as a murderous enemy. Liberals who loathe the Tea Party have every right to challenge it. But when, in an apoplectic frenzy, they defame its members as "terrorists," they go way too far, and debase only themselves.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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