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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 Jan. 13, 2011 / 9 Shevat, 5771

Obama's staff changes give him a second chance

By Michael Gerson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Members of the White House staff are extensions of a president's will, and they also shape that will over time. They can either amplify or repress his enthusiasms; feed his better nature or his resentments. They are both instrument and influence.

President Obama's staff changes in the past few months are not cosmetic. His chief of staff's office and his economic team are nearly new; only his defense and foreign policy lineups are substantially intact. Staff shake-ups allow for a fresh start. They are also an implicit concession that the previous system didn't function as intended.

That system was top-heavy with presidential advisers who had a personal history with Obama, direct access and a strong, political bent - Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, while possessing a vivid personality, was not definitively in charge. It was as though Obama employed four Karl Roves. One is valuable - and enough.

The main contrast between the previous order and the tenure of William Daley will be institutional, not ideological. Daley's gravitas and experience will clarify the organizational chart. He should command respect among the Cabinet and staff. At the same time, since he is neither an ideologue nor a self-promoter, the Cabinet and staff won't view him as a competitor. He is well positioned to promote timely decision making and enforce discipline on a chaotic White House process - the main measures of the success of a White House chief of staff.

Daley has a deserved reputation as a reasonable adult and an effective political operator. His main deputy, David Lane (who, until last week, was a colleague of mine at the ONE Campaign), is skilled at political coalition-building. The new director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jack Lew, is broadly praised for his seriousness. During its first two years, the Obama White House believed it was smarter and more righteous than anyone else in Washington - an attitude that made followership difficult. The new team has a chance to alter this perception with a quieter professionalism.

But precisely because Daley is not an ideologue, his appointment carries some ideological consequences. He is not that pinstriped corporate conservative some progressive critics have depicted. Daley was involved, in one way or another, in nearly every Democratic presidential campaign since Jimmy Carter's. But he clearly doesn't view Republicans as another species. When appointed by President Bill Clinton as commerce secretary, none other than Donald Rumsfeld spoke favorably at Daley's confirmation hearing. Daley was mildly but publicly critical of Obama's health-care reform strategy. He argued last year: "We've really got to listen carefully to the public. Voters are not re-embracing conservative ideology. But we must acknowledge that the left's agenda has not won the support of a majority of Americans - and, based on that recognition, we must steer a more moderate course."

Obama has put into place a staff structure that would allow for a shift toward the center-left. The hard left thinks this happened years ago - but it is only true when measured against its own uncompromising ideals. Daley's political analysis is more reliable. Obama's political objectives leading up to the 2012 election are the same as most presidents. He needs to do things that please his political base without alienating independents. And he needs to do things that regain the support of independents without dispiriting his political base. This is always a walk on a greased tightrope. But the strategy was effectively previewed during the lame-duck session of Congress. The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" spoke to Obama's base without alienating the middle (a symbol of how mainstream the gay rights movement has become). The pro-growth tax deal with Republicans, aimed at independents, caused liberal growling but little open revolt. It is the model for a political comeback.

That comeback is difficult, but not close to impossible. The president's personal standing has remained high even during large political setbacks. And he can probably count on some Republican help. Each of the past three presidents has benefited from the nasty overreach of his opponents.

Pursuing a successful comeback strategy ultimately depends on the president and his policy decisions, not on the composition of his staff. But Obama's staff changes are gaining the administration a second look - which is deserved.


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Previously:



01/11/11 Is Arizona shooting an empty search for meaning?
01/07/11 WikiLeaks gives dangerous ammunition to a tyrant
01/04/11 Michael Vick: Symbol of the second chance
12/28/10 Social Security reform is the answer to Obama's problems --- and the nation's
12/21/10 When foreign policy realism isn't realistic
12/17/10 When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way
11/26/10 Libs resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems
11/19/10 With Holder at the helm, detainee policy is a disaster
11/12/10 Blue-state budget crises spell even more trouble for Dems
10/19/10 Obama the snob
10/12/10 Seeds of victory in Afghanistan
10/05/10 Believers' remorse
10/04/10 Pound-foolish on national security
09/28/10 Babylon on the Potomac
09/27/10 Our reluctant commander in chief
09/21/10 Blue strongholds are becoming Democratic graveyards
09/17/10 For the GOP, a bittersweet brew from the Tea Party
09/15/10: Insanity's great enablers
09/13/10: The lost communicator
09/08/10: Will 2010 midterms be 1994 all over again?
09/01/10: Obama's economic wandering
08/27/10: Miracles from abroad
08/25/10: Address these issues in order to strengthen the Tea Party
08/20/10: The lost promise of Barack Obama
07/23/10: Obama's greatest nightmare
02/04/09: The Reality of Innocence
01/07/09: The Risks in Obama's Ambitions
12/31/08: Support Obama Will Need
06/13/08: Prince Charles, Organic Conservatism Icon
06/11/08: No longer a bankrupt political joke but still overshadowed
04/23/08: McCain's anger management
04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


© 2008, WPWG

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