In this issue

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 15, 2008 12 Tamuz 5768

Will the real Obama please stand up?

By Michael Goodwin

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The headline in The Washington Post was intriguing: "Obama's Ideology Proving Difficult to Pinpoint." The article turned out to be a charitable discussion of whether the Democratic nominee is moving away from leftist positions he took during the primaries and toward the political center for the general election.

Of course he is. Enough to produce, as someone put it, whiplash. So let's give the topic a headline that directly addresses the doubts: Just who is Barack Obama?

Is he the inspirational juggernaut of the early primaries, the man who promised "change we can believe in" and a new era in American politics? Or is he one more politician whose actions often contradict his words?

Put another way, what does he believe in?

Damned if I know.

Once upon a time, I thought I did. Obama was the graceful rookie from Illinois who came out of nowhere to become the rock star of '08. His biracial heritage, Harvard Law School education and vast ambition created the perfect image of a post-racial, post-ideological agent of change. He would not be tied to the old ideas or the old ways of doing things.

It was a promise, exquisitely delivered, that allowed him to grab an early delegate lead and hold on to narrowly defeat Hillary (The Invincible) Clinton.

But there were hints Obama was not what he claimed.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright was a big one. By the end of the primaries, Obama was stumbling and on the defensive. And now he has become yet another candidate altogether in the post-primary period.

On defining issues - security wiretapping, gun control, campaign finance, Iran and Iraq - he has done partial or full about-faces. Hardly a day goes by that he doesn't attack John McCain in typical partisan fashion.

And when he denies with a straight face that he's changing anything, Obama gives new meaning to chutzpah.

The changes have been so dramatic that many liberal activists are expressing buyers' remorse. Some are demanding their contributions back and vow not to support Obama until he adopts his old positions.

For me, a centrist Democrat and a hawk on security, most of his new positions are better than those he abandoned. But they're not believable. They create doubts about whether he has core beliefs.

Someone who can shift positions so quickly on so many important issues that will face the next President comes off as a man who doesn't have fixed convictions. Pragmatism has to be guided by principles. A man who believes in everything believes in nothing, and that's a formula for chaos in the White House.

Yes, I know, McCain has gone back and forth on tax cuts, immigration and some other issues. But McCain is a known quality. His POW heroics and his long career in Washington are universal fixed points of reference.

Like him or not, we think we know who John McCain is. It's a belief that doesn't depend exclusively on specific positions. As long as his policy shifts are few and explainable, the sense of who he is remains intact. It's something to trust.

Obama, without points of reference and a long career, doesn't have much room to maneuver. He is also limited by his promises of sweeping change in both results and process.

As William Galston of the Brookings Institution told The Post: "Successful campaigns tell stories that provide the framework of meaning and significance for particular policy proposals."

In other words, policies are expressions of the narrative and must be consistent with it. They are the meat on the bones.

That's where Obama has failed. In his rush to appeal to moderate voters, Obama has demolished his narrative. Political expediency is ordinary, and by embracing it, he has proven himself an eloquent but ordinary politician.

That's who Barack Obama is.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and the media consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Michael Goodwin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.


© 2007 NY Daily News