In this issue
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. 6, 2005 / 5 Kislev, 5766

Predicted winner in 2006 midterm elections: The status quo

By Jonathan Gurwitz

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Democrats are elated about their electoral prospects for the 2006 midterm elections. President Bush's approval ratings are in the dumps. Controversy is swirling around the White House and Republican leaders in Congress. Federal spending is out of control. Tax reform, Social Security reform and immigration reform are languishing. And, oh yes, there's this small matter of an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq.

Blue-state strategists have visions of sugarplum fairies dancing in their heads. Christmas will come early next year — on Nov. 7, when they imagine they can regain control of the House and Senate.

Democrats can be forgiven for harboring such partisan fantasies. It's not likely to happen, however. Not because there's not clear evidence of a change in public sentiment. And not because Democrats can't field decent candidates for competitive races.

The reason control of Congress is unlikely to shift to the Democrats next year is because a bipartisan, national effort has made competitive congressional races an anachronism. Incumbents have such overwhelming advantages — in the ability to raise money or get face time in the media, for instance — that most challengers face implausible odds of winning an election.

Even in the Senate, where redistricting isn't a factor, 25 of 26 incumbents won re-election in 2004. Democrats will need to pull off a net gain of six seats next year to obtain a majority.

Among the 33 Senate seats to be decided in 2006, Republicans currently hold 15. According to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly, incumbents will likely defend 14 of those 15 seats, while incumbents are expected to defend only 15 of the 18 seats currently held by Democrats.

Democrats, therefore, will need to run the tables, holding the three seats vacated by their incumbents along with 15 others, winning the single seat vacated by a Republican — in a red Southern state no less — and knocking off another five Republican incumbents. Not a likely scenario.

It's in the House, however, that computers have turned gerrymandering into a science and rendered the vast majority of general elections meaningless. State legislators used to crudely pack and stack voters into districts based on commonalities of race, ethnicity and income to achieve the desired results. Now, using reams of voting data, they carefully carve out safe seats for their incumbent friends with laser precision.

The systemic protection of incumbents was abundantly evident in last year's general election. Outside of Texas, where time and a GOP-drawn redistricting map finally caught up with four Democrats, only three of 399 congressional incumbents who ran for re-election lost their seats.

Next year, Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats in the House to wrest control from Republicans. Congressional Quarterly rates only 55 of the House's 435 seats as being even remotely competitive.

Among those 55 races, 24 are ranked as highly competitive, with a reasonable chance for partisan change. And among those 24 districts, Republicans hold 15.

In order for Democrats to produce a net gain of 15 seats, Democratic challengers will need to sweep all 15 of those districts while Democratic incumbents in the remaining nine competitive districts will need to stave off their Republican opponents.

The mathematical probability of Democrats running the House tables in this manner is next to nil.

Democrats wistfully view last month's gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia as harbingers of the 2006 general election. A better indicator comes from election results in California and Ohio, where voters rejected ballot measures that would have taken redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators and given it to nonpartisan commissions.

In theory, voters like to talk about voting the bums out. In practice, they mean everyone else should vote their bums out, but not themselves.

Republicans might be inclined to ignore incumbent invulnerability since today it accrues to their partisan advantage.

But the consequence of uncompetitive elections is a lack of accountability among the ruling class of both parties that debases the entire political system.

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 Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.Comment by clicking here.

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