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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 July 23, 2008 /20 Tamuz 5768

With policy shifts, Obama now seen as an ordinary pol

By Jonathan V. Last


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Why isn't Obama further ahead?

Since he clinched the Democratic nomination last month, Barack Obama has consistently led John McCain in the polls. But his lead has been generally modest. He never received a bounce from becoming the nominee, and today his lead is almost paper-thin - generally about four points in most polls.

The electoral environment is still tilted heavily toward Democrats. In generic congressional ballot polls, Democrats maintain a steady double-digit lead over Republicans. Which means that Obama is running behind the Democratic Party in general.

The other important metric is the right-track/wrong-track poll number, where respondents are asked if they believe the country is generally moving in the right, or wrong, direction. Today, only 15 percent say right track; 78 percent say wrong track.

Since Obama began his ascendancy in January, the wrong-track numbers have actually increased. But strangely, Obama, whose entire campaign has been centered on the promise of "change," hasn't been helped by this increasingly pessimistic view of the future.

Even by the measure of money, Obama is underperforming. Perhaps it's unfair to hold him to the amazing standard he set this winter, but before recording a $52-million June, his fund-raising numbers had declined for three straight months.

Clearly, something is going on. Three possibilities come to mind:

First, people forget that Obama won the nomination by gaming the system, not getting the most votes.

This isn't meant to diminish his accomplishment. Obama won fair and square, and his insurgent victory against a heavy favorite was the most impressive upset since Jimmy Carter captured the nomination in 1976. Obama earned the nomination. But it does mean that Obama's electoral base may not be as broad or deep as you might assume.

Second, Obama made a strategic decision to abandon his original, central campaign narrative in favor of repositioning himself closer to the political center.

For the last year, the pitch was that this freshman senator was not a typical politician. He promised to eschew politics-as-usual and be a different, more principled, kind of leader. During the last eight weeks, though, Obama has abandoned a host of earlier, left-ish positions - on FISA, public financing, Iraq and more - in order to position himself closer to the center.

On one level this makes sense; America has never elected a president as liberal as the Obama of the Democratic primaries. So Obama is now much closer to the political mainstream and is more ideologically electable. By changing some of his policy positions, Obama closed off certain avenues of attack.

But the price of this move was his original narrative: It is now difficult for Obama to claim to be anything other than an ordinary, hard-nosed politician. Only time will tell if this retrenchment was smart.

But the most important shift in the dynamic of the race is that Obama has become, for all intents and purposes, the incumbent.

Partly, this is the fault of the media, which, with a few exceptions, have crafted an aura of invincibility about Obama. But the candidate has done his part to appear as though his ascension need only be ratified in November.

Obama has talked about his plans to redecorate the Lincoln bedroom and has proposed that he address the German people from the Brandenburg Gate (a position usually reserved for heads of state). He has referred to his time as a senator in the past tense and even gone so far as to craft his own, personalized version of the presidential seal, which he used at an event in Chicago.

All of which has the effect of making the election not about John McCain or President Bush or even the Republican Party, but about Barack Obama. And as a matter of optics, it ties Obama to the status quo. As the presumptive president, he is no longer the outsider or the challenger, but rather the establishment figure to be approved or rejected.

It's an interesting gamble, and Obama may very well pull it off. But why he would trade his standing as an insurgent candidate running against the incumbents for a position as the assumed commander-in-chief is anyone's guess. The inevitable establishment figures haven't done all that well this cycle.

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.

Jonathan V. Last is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

06/26/08 Bush failed to hold others responsible for their mistakes, and he let his admirable vice president do too much 02/18/08 GOP will unify as Obama and Clinton continue to vie
12/13/07 Fun begins as races tighten and shift
12/05/07 Iran's future: Would lower fertility rates lead to stability?
11/01/07 Nobel Prize in Economics — where Team USA still dominates the game
10/25/07 Handicapping the GOP's presidential horse race
10/11/07 Germany's Turks provide a lesson on immigration
09/13/07 British battle can offer us a perspective on casualties
09/12/07 Alas, GOP seems set to take hit in Senate
08/30/07 Europeans have supplanted backbones with capitulation
08/24/07 Politics holds the key to ensuring a healthy growth in population
08/17/07 Finessing the Democratic center
08/10/07 Woohoo! Satire seeing a revival
07/31/07 Historical model: For Obama, it's Carter
07/26/07 Baseball, apple pie, a 2nd chance
07/24/07 Harry Potter and the alchemy theory
07/06/07 Life is hard — and often short. The perils of professional wrestling
06/21/07 After Bush: Gingrich and others worry that his shortcomings could have a far-reaching effect on the GOP
03/09/07 Why the British outclass us in acting
01/23/07 Romney: Seriously great, but with baggage
12/23/06 When truth is transpicuous
12/05/06 A realistic plan: Split the country in two
11/08/06 We could easily pull out of Korea and let China have regional hegemony. But would it be the right thing?
10/24/06 The decline of revolution
10/18/06 Why the free market is king
08/07/06 Democracy, of itself, not solution to all problems
08/01/06 We get the movies we deserve
07/27/06 How long will U.S. empire last?


© 2006, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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