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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 Dec 27, 2007 / 18 Teves 5768

No ordinary candidate

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When he ran for president eight years ago, John McCain was asked by an interviewer what he thought of the Confederate flag — a touchy topic in South Carolina, where at the time a debate was raging over whether the banner should continue to fly above the state capitol.

McCain answered from the heart: "As we all know, it's a symbol of racism and slavery." But his reply infuriated many South Carolina voters, and after the interview McCain's aides pushed him to undo the damage. So he let them draft a statement "clarifying" his position, and when reporters asked him about the flag in the days that followed, he made a show of pulling the paper from his pocket and reading his revised remarks. "As to how I view the flag," it began, "I understand both sides." It went on to acknowledge that some people may deem the flag "a symbol of slavery" — McCain's original, authentic opinion — but that "personally, I see the battle flag as a symbol of heritage."

By the fourth or fifth time the question came up, McCain later wrote in his 2002 memoir, Worth the Fighting For (coauthored with Mark Salter), he could have delivered the new response from memory.

"But I persisted with the theatrics of unfolding the paper and reading it as if I were making a hostage statement. I wanted to telegraph reporters that I really didn't mean to suggest I supported flying the flag, but political imperatives required a little evasiveness on my part. I wanted them to think me still an honest man, who simply had to cut a corner a little here and there so that I could go on to be an honest president. I think that made the offense worse. Acknowledging my dishonesty with a wink didn't make it less a lie. It compounded the offense by revealing how willful it had been. You either have the guts to tell the truth or you don't. . . .

"I had not just been dishonest. I had been a coward, and I had severed my own interests from my country's. That was what made the lie unforgivable. All my heroes, fictional and real, would have been ashamed of me."

Try, if you can, to imagine Hillary Clinton writing those words. Or Mitt Romney. Or Mike Huckabee. Is it conceivable that John Edwards, who fiercely indicts the moral shortcomings of others, would ever speak so bluntly and harshly about his own? Would Ron Paul? Would Barack Obama? Among America's leading politicians, I cannot think of any who is so forthright about his own failings, or so willing to let the world see him struggle with his conscience.

I didn't vote for McCain in the 2000 primary. I didn't vote for George W. Bush either. As I wrote at the time, I skipped the GOP primary altogether because I was repelled by the candidates' cheap shots and mudslinging. (McCain would later characterize it pretty much the same way. "George and I exchanged so many insults and charges," he wrote in his memoir. "[T]he primary became a foul brew of resentment, hatred, and sleaze.")

Today McCain's second presidential campaign is in the midst of a remarkable revival. A few months ago, he was down and nearly out, his poll numbers plummeting and his bank account depleted. Today he is closing in on the New Hampshire lead, just 3 percentage points behind front-runner Mitt Romney, according to the latest Boston Globe poll.

An impressive collection of odd journalistic bedfellows — the liberal Globe and the Des Moines Register, the conservative Boston Herald and the Manchester Union-Leader, even the University of Iowa's Daily Iowan — have all endorsed the Arizona senator. So have four quite dissimilar former secretaries of state — Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Lawrence Eagleburger, and George Shultz. McCain even has the blessing of Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee in 2000. Highly opinionated and controversial politicians do not normally win support from such disparate regions of the philosophical map. If the slogan weren't so tarnished, McCain could rightly claim to be running for the White House as a uniter, not a divider.

In the Globe's new poll, one finding caught my eye. When asked which candidate they thought "most trustworthy," 30 percent of likely Republican voters chose McCain — the highest tally of any candidate, Republican or Democrat. Obama, with 29 percent, is almost as highly trusted. Among Republicans, Romney's 23 percent puts him in second place, not too far behind McCain's rating on trustworthiness. But the two men's numbers have been moving in opposite directions. The more voters get to know the candidates, the less they trust Romney — and the more they trust McCain.

I'm not surprised. Not because I imagine that McCain walks on water. He is plainly a flawed human being with a skeleton or two in his closet. But he strives to heed the better angels of his nature — and he lets us see the striving. Ironically, a politician who can publicly berate himself for being "dishonest" and "a coward" is a politician voters have more reason to trust. A once and future presidential hopeful who can own up to his own moral lapses and write, with sincerity, "All my heroes . . . would have been ashamed of me," is no ordinary candidate.

And if there is one thing American politics badly needs these days, it is no ordinary candidate.

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

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