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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 Nov. 3, 2008 / 5 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Put aside candidates' faults and ponder their qualities

By Jonathan V. Last


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | After three months of negative ads, you might think that both John McCain and Barack Obama were monsters bent on destroying America.

That's probably not true. Certainly, our two nominees are highly imperfect candidates. But they also have much to recommend them.

So it's worth putting aside their faults for a moment and considering the best case for each man, on his own merits.

Let's start with Obama. You can't have an honest discussion about his candidacy without mentioning race, because the simple fact is - in the most abstract sense - it would be a moral good to have an African American president.

That doesn't mean one should vote for Obama primarily, or even partially, because of his race. It means that whenever an African American does ascend to the White House, it will be a proud moment for our country. There are a lot of hucksters and bigots who exaggerate and exacerbate America's racial problems, but that doesn't mean the country doesn't have those problems.

Obama has been criticized for abandoning certain positions in a calculated fashion. For instance, he voted for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act renewal after saying he would filibuster it; he declined public financing for his campaign after promising to take it; and he recently adopted Hillary Clinton's proposed moratorium on foreclosures, which he mocked during the primaries.

In each instance, Obama saw advantage in making a promise and then breaking it. That doesn't bolster confidence in Obama's promises.

But, really, who trusts politicians anyway? Seen in another light, Obama's ruthless repositioning is reassuring. One concern about his candidacy is his limited foreign policy experience. But if he's as calculated in dealing with Kim Jong Il as he has been in the campaign, he'll be a tough, canny head of state.

Obama's biggest selling point is his temperament - not the same as judgment, by the way - which appears to be genuinely first-class. He's a pretty cool customer.

Obama seems to start by giving people the benefit of the doubt. He isn't prone to snap decisions or shooting from the hip. And he thinks about the medium and long term. In short, he's deliberative.

And you could make a case that temperament is the single most important quality of a good president.

Then there's McCain. For starters, McCain's legislative record suggests that not only does he know how to work with Democrats, but he also enjoys doing so. Better still, McCain has made a career of tweaking his own party - always a sign of good character.

McCain's experience in the military and as a longtime member of the Senate Armed Services Committee has helped him understand the limitations and merits of hard power. He also understands that a great power should reward its friends and punish its enemies. In the long run, this realist outlook is likely to net more friends, because there is no greater provocation than perceived weakness.

As for McCain's temperament, it's very different from Obama's. The Democrat's campaign has called McCain "erratic," which isn't quite right, but it does get at something. McCain has a tendency to freelance - for instance, in his meandering proposals on the financial crisis over the last month.

His decision-making is more intuitive than analytical on big-picture items, such as immigration and the Russian invasion of Georgia. (He's actually quite analytical when it comes to policy details, such as budgets and military tactics.) But this tendency could be a substantial deterrent to America's enemies.

Uncertainty creates problems for our adversaries. If the bad guys can't game out how a President McCain would respond to provocation, they're likely to be more tentative in their hostilities. Which is probably why some of America's enemies, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas, have openly rooted against him.

And now back to our regularly scheduled campaign.

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:

10/09/08 Regrettably, neither of the presidential hopefuls has a grasp on economic theory
09/22/08 Anti-abortion Democrats and global-warming Republicans are becoming increasingly important
09/09/08 On both sides, this year's political gatherings marked the start of changed strategies that have transformed the race
07/23/08 With policy shifts, Obama now seen as an ordinary pol
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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