Recent Articles

How To Handle Hillary Haters

This article was originaly published in The Daily Beast.

Hillary Clinton has to make the case that her presidency will accomplish something, despite the hate that goes back to the 1980s.

If, in the 1960s, paranoids yelled, “The Russians are coming,” today’s more credible cry should be, “the Hillary haters are coming.” As the most famous Hillary convert David Brock squabbles with former Barack Obama supporters over control of Hillary Clinton’s shadow presidential campaign, the Hillary haters are crawling out from under their rocks. Since she became a national figure in 1992, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been one of the most famous, yet polarizing, Americans.

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Wanted: “Third way” New Ideas Countering Israel’s Stale Politics

This article was originaly published in The Jerusalem Post.

Bibi Netanyahu’s “Bibi-sitter” ads got one thing right. This election feels juvenile. Apparently, I missed the memo, but it seems that politicians and reporters have agreed to make Israeli politics an idea-free zone. Focusing on the timbre of the opposition leader’s voice, the gap between the settlers’ leader’s front teeth, and the deposits redeeming the prime minister’s bottles, prevents important discussions about the tone of the political debate, the gaps between rich and poor, as well as the intellectual, ideological, political and financial investments needed to redeem the Zionist dream.

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A Short History Of The Politically Correct Movement

This article was originaly published in The Daily Beast.

The toxic resurgence of political correctness goes back beyond the American campus to Trotsky, Mao and Che.

Jonathan Chait’s thought-provoking New York magazine article, “Not A Very P.C. Thing to Say,” challenges “the language police” for “perverting liberalism.” Sadly, predictably, critics have proved Chait’s point, continuing to reduce intellectual debate to an essentialism based on an essayist’s biology rather than an essay’s validity. One critic dismissed him as a “sad white man” and a “petulant man-baby.” The history of Political Correctness Chait sketches is too telescoped, however. The impulse’s roots run deeper, while its presence on campus has been more constant—and toxic.

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Evidence America Isn’t Inherently Racist

This article was originaly published in The Daily Beast.

Henry Clay, Lincoln, Mandela and King all show how far America has come—but also has to go—on race.

One hundred fifty years ago, on Jan. 31, 1865, Congress passed the 13thAmendment to the Constitution banning slavery. This week also marks 165 years since Henry Clay introduced the 1850 Compromise trying to heal his divided country, 25 years since Nelson Mandela was freed from prison, and six years (and a week) since Barack Obama became the first African-American to deliver the State of the Union Address. And despite all the issues that still exist, these four points on history’s graph plot out a near-miraculous trajectory of racial progress. America’s race problem has been solved!

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Islamist Terrorism Is Obama’s No-Go Zone

This article was originaly published in The Daily Beast.

Can America’s ‘I’m-Ok-You’re-OK’ overly-psychological culture handle Islamism’s ‘I’m-Ok-Die-Infidel!’ death cult.

Barack Obama seems ready to fight. In his State of the Union address he boasted about “assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism.” To demonstrate his determination, he will host a conference on the subject on Feb. 18. The White House announcement emphasized that this summit will study strategies for involving “education administrators, mental health professionals, and religious leaders.”

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How Can Obama Get His Mojo Back In the State of the Union? Study Bill Clinton

This article was originaly published in The Daily Beast.

No other recent president combined substance, empathy and a zest for the job like Bill Clinton did when he gave his State of the Union address. Obama should study up.

This weekend, President Barack Obama is perfecting his State of the Union address, to be delivered on Tuesday. Just as basketball players watch clips of old stars like Dr. J. or Julius Erving—Obama’s boyhood hero—the president might want to download President Bill Clinton’s addresses. I would particularly recommend Clinton’s 1998 and 1999 speeches. Perhaps by watching this political virtuoso, Obama can get his speechmaking mojo back.

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Acknowledged: Appreciating and Repudiating in an age of Terrorism

This article was originaly published in The Jerusalem Post.

Last week, as I finished the first draft of a book on Bill Clinton and the 1990s, as I contemplated the many relatives, friends, and colleagues who helped me in researching, writing, and editing, I had a rollercoaster week – along with so many others.  It was a week for gratitude and anger. The modern world blunts both emotions, even though appreciating and repudiating, proportionately and appropriately, are essential acts of free, discerning, happy, balanced people.

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How Buji Beats Bibi

This article was originaly published in The Jerusalem Post.

Like senior years in high school, election campaigns normally trigger mixed feelings of dread and excitement. Fear of the unknown and abject failure compete with dreams of glory.  Two days into Israel’s unsought, unnecessary, undesirable campaign, few Israelis’ feelings are mixed. It’s just dread. Few want Bibi back; most fear he will return. Nevertheless, those hoping for ABB, Anybody But Bibi can take heart: the latest polls estimate a Isaac “Buji” Herzog-Tsipi Livni ticket could get 23 mandates to 21 mandates for the Benjamin Netanyahu-led Likud.  Here’s how Buji could replace Bibi. Continue reading

Celebrating Torah in a World that’s Gone Bonkers

This article was originaly published in Uncategorized.

As the 5775 Jewish High Holiday season winds downs, as those of us with delayed work projects gear up to catch up, this period feels like it is sputtering to a close rather than building to a spiritual climax. It often seems that both Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah should be entered in the Silly Holiday Derby. The pointlessness of Shmini Atzeret, an eighth day tagged onto Sukkot, after the lulav-crashing intensity of Hoshanna Rabba, has launched a thousand sermons, and, it seems, a thousand different rationales.  I remain unconvinced. Do we really need another day off with more burdensome prayers, heavy meals and leaden sermons? And, after the kind of year we had, who is really having a Simchat Torah, any kind of rejoicing with the Torah?

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