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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 August 12, 2008 11 Menachem-Av 5768

The charisma gap

By Michael Goodwin


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Forget the issues of race, all the money and maybe even the economy and Iraq. The 2008 campaign might well come down to a single question: Can Barack Obama take a punch?


We're about to find out, because John McCain's team seems to have concluded that the GOP nominee can win only by beating up on Obama. To judge from the last two weeks, McCain is following Leo Durocher's warning that "nice guys finish last."


Not that he has much choice.


Although almost all the national horse-race polls show a virtual tie, underlying voter sentiment still tilts heavily toward Obama in key measures of appeal. His advantages add up to a charisma gap that McCain, the "wrinkly, white-haired guy" in Paris Hilton's memorable words, can never hope to close.


The gap is captured in a recent Time magazine poll. Asked which man they found more likable, voters picked Obama in a landslide, 65% to 20%. That doesn't mean they will vote for him, but it does mean McCain has a tough sell if he wants to be the man Americans invite into their living rooms every day for the next four years.


Savvy GOP strategist Ed Rollins, who says he has never seen results of the "likability" question so lopsided, believes the issue can determine victory because it usually predicts which way the 10% or so of voters who aren't locked into partisan choices will break. From JFK over Nixon to George Bush over John Kerry, Rollins cites a history of winners who scored better than their opponents in what television execs call the "q factor."


Less hard science than "American Idol," the "q factor" seeks to quantify how well someone on camera connects to the audience.


Ultimately, it measures an emotional connection that, in recent times, has usually worked to Republican advantage, especially among swing voters who decide close contests. But Obama has so captured the cultural and political moment that, combined with the tarnished GOP brand, he enjoys an enormous electoral potential.


Most Americans like him, in part because of the sharp contrasts with McCain, who is a wooden speaker at best and a dour-looking scold much of the time. Other measures of appeal in the Time survey also favor Obama. He is seen as the real change candidate by 61% to 17%, and he scores 48% to McCain's 35% on who better understands voters' concerns.


The result is that the kitchen-sink strategy is McCain's only real option. Or, as Rollins puts it, Obama is like the new car that almost everybody wants. "McCain's challenge is to put a few dents and scratches in it, maybe spill a little coffee on the seats while reminding voters the reliable old jalopy is sitting in the garage," Rollins says.


It's the point McCain keeps hammering home in his stump speeches and ads, framing the race as a referendum on Obama with the tag line, "Is Obama ready to lead?"


Already there have been dividends, with the Democrat stalling in most polls and McCain inching up. Most important, Obama didn't get a lasting bounce after he clinched the nomination in June and has actually slipped a few points.


A similar approach worked for Hillary Clinton at the end of her primary battle with Obama. Her ad featuring a red phone ringing at 3 a.m. in the White House was a harsher way of making the point McCain has been making with a mocking tone: Obama is a lightweight who can't be trusted. Clinton had her own problems of likability, but still might have won if she hadn't run out of time because Obama never found an effective comeback.


The approach is not risk-free, of course, and could backfire on McCain if he comes off as too negative and thus, even less likable. In that case, voters will buy that new car and leave the jalopy in the garage.

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.


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