May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on
April 22, 2013
US man departing country arrested on terror charges
An unorthodox but growing treatment in a 9-year-old's battle against cancer
April 19, 2013
Caroline B. Glick:
Why Obama's visit to Israel had no impact on public opinion or government policy
Gold collapse: The start of something big?
Livable super-Earths? Two candidates among Kepler's latest finds
April 17, 2013
Too much of a good thing? 'Palestinians' realize downside of foreign aid boom
BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!
April 15, 2013
Egyptian Christians respond with harsh words to attack -- rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire -- against main cathedral
Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar:
High Court to decide if you should own your DNA
US bracing for more Russian blowback after taking action against 18 more human rights violators
April 12, 2013
New cybersecurity bill: Privacy threat or crucial band-aid?
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom:
The Kosher Gourmet by Susan Russo:
Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
April 10, 2013
North Korean missiles: Could US shoot them down?
Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets
Donald Hensrud, M.D.:
Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Take vitamin supplements with caution --- even approved, they may actually do damage
74 DNA discoveries move cure closer for three cancers
April 8, 2013
Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
Is Putin finally trading his own party for a new power base?
Jewish World Review
May 9, 2006
/ 11 Iyar, 5766
The Ugly Duckling Issue
We have become accustomed in the six years of the George W. Bush presidency to seeing issues split the parties and the nation down the middle, with almost all Republicans on one side and almost all Democrats on the other. There have been exceptions (the 2002 education law), but this has been the pattern on tax cuts, health savings accounts, trade-promotion authority, and free-trade agreements. Immigration is different. This is an issue that splits both parties, the Republicans most visibly, but the Democrats, too. It is an issue on which politicians, being what they are, seek political advantage, but it is also an issue where they're not quite sure where the political advantage lies.
No wonder Congress and the White House didn't bring the issue forward till the fifth year of Bush's presidency, even though he campaigned on it in 2000. And no wonder that members of Congress keep shifting position on the issue. The House passed a border-security bill, with no guest-worker or legalization provisions, last December. Last month the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill touching on all three issues. But Minority Leader Harry Reid kept the bill off the floor. The issue seemed dead on Capitol Hill.
Now it may be coming alive again. Speaker Dennis Hastert seemed obdurate earlier this year in his opposition to any bill with guest-worker and legalization provisions. More recently, House Republican leaders have said they might consider such provisions in conference committee. Reid, having declared the bill dead, now says he might let it come to the floor with some amendments — which is what he did after claiming to have "killed" the Patriot Act last year. Majority Leader Bill Frist, who sponsored a border-security-only bill, says he'll allow a more comprehensive bill on the floor.
You can see political calculation in all this. Hastert and Frist can see the long-term danger for Republicans in seeming hardhearted against Hispanics, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate. Reid and Democrats can see the short-term danger in being viewed as killing a border-security law. Leaders in both parties don't want to be perceived as knuckling under to demonstrators brandishing Mexican flags. But they also don't want to be seen as continuing to ignore the fact that, on their watch, the border has become a sieve.
Republicans face the bigger political split on immigration. A large part of their base feels strongly about the issue and wants border security beefed up and immigration cut. But Democrats are split, too. Part of their base — including many black politicians and voters — sees immigrants as competitors for low-skill jobs. Most Democratic politicians have been willing to support generous guest-worker and legalization provisions. But not all their base is on board.
Conviction politics. A columnist is tempted to say that the politicians should toss aside political concerns and do what they believe is in the public interest. Easy enough to say. But something just like that may be happening. Politicians act out of some combination of calculation and conviction; the proportions vary. On immigration there are some politicians, of both parties and on both sides, who are visibly acting out of conviction. And not just the noisy immigration restrictionists, like Rep. Tom Tancredo, who wants a border fence. These conviction politicians include Edward Kennedy and John McCain, who favor relatively generous guest-worker and legalization provisions, and Sens. Jon Kyl and John Cornyn, who favor a less generous version. Add to this list George W. Bush, who seems poised to take an unusually active role on the issue.
The route to agreement is to give all of these conviction politicians much of what they want. A fence, high-tech border-security and identification devices, some compromise on guest workers and legalization — all could be part of an omnibus measure. As for the calculation politicians, as they try to assess the political landscape and reconcile the seemingly contradictory findings of various polls, they appear to be coming to the conclusion that inaction — or blocking action now that the issue is so visible — poses a higher political risk than taking action. Voters understandably believe we should have better border security and should do something about the 12 million illegal immigrants in our midst. Neither Congress nor President Bush has acted in five years. Maybe, just maybe, they're on the brink of doing so now.
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Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future
America is divided into two camps, according to U.S. News and World Reports writer and Fox commentator Michael Barone. No, not Red and Blue, though one suspects Barone may taint the two groups in the hues of the 2000 presidential election. Barone's divided America is one part Hard, one part Soft. Hard America is steeled by the competition and accountability of the free market, while Soft America is the product of public school and government largesse. Inspired by the notion that America produces incompetent 18 year olds and remarkably competent 30 year olds, Barone embarks on a breezy 162-page commentary that will spark mostly huzzahs from the right and jeers from the left. Sales help fund JWR.
JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.
Michael Barone Archives
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