Here are today’s editorial and opinion columns.
FRIDAY APRIL 22
Unified Field Theory of 2012, Axiom One: The more the Republicans can make the 2012 election like 2010, the better their chances of winning…Of course, presidential elections are not arguments in the abstract but arguments with a face. Hence, Axiom Two: The less attention the Republican candidate draws to him/herself, the better the chances of winning…Which suggests Axiom Three: No baggage and no need for flash. Having tried charisma in 2008, the electorate is not looking for a thrill up the leg in 2012. It’s looking for solid, stable, sober and, above all, not scary.
CREED OR CHAOS BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES
“The Book of Mormon” is not anti-religious. It just endorses a no-sharp-edges view of religion that is all creative metaphors and no harsh judgments. The Africans in the play embrace this kind of religion. And in the context of a hilarious musical, that’s fine. But it’s worth remembering that the religions that thrive in real-life Africa are not as nice and naïve as the religion in the play. The religions thriving in real-life Africa are often so doctrinaire and so socially conservative that they would make Pat Robertson’s hair stand on end.
PATIENTS ARE NOT CONSUMERS BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
Now politicians and supposed reformers talk about the act of receiving care as if it were no different from a commercial transaction, like buying a car — and their only complaint is that it isn’t commercial enough…The idea that all this can be reduced to money — that doctors are just “providers” selling services to health care “consumers” — is, well, sickening. And the prevalence of this kind of language is a sign that something has gone very wrong not just with this discussion, but with our society’s values.
Seriously, as the Libya operation is now being conducted, what’s the point? The intervention surely saved many lives by halting Khaddafy’s forces just hours before they would have swept into the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. But now the conflict has devolved into a bloody stalemate in which Khaddafy clearly has the upper hand. … The United States and its allies are not willing to seize control of events in Libya and the region. Unless this changes, it is cruelty, not kindness, to pretend otherwise.
ANDREW BREITBART AND RIFTS ON THE RIGHT BY DANA MILBANK
Breitbart’s criticism of fellow conservatives is part of a new wave of infighting on the right. Three months after gaining control of the House, cracks have begun to appear in the conservative coalition…This loss of discipline in the conservative movement is the natural byproduct of its rise to power. It is easier to be in opposition than to make all the messy compromises needed to govern. When relegated to the minority in both houses of Congress, Republicans were unified by antipathy toward Obama. But in gaining a slice of power they lost the luxury of being full-time naysayers…Breitbart’s war ended in November 2010. He had virtually nothing to say about the last few months of shared power.
AYN RAND’S ADULT-ONSET ADOLESCENCE BY MICHAEL GERSON
WHAT THE WORLD SEES IN AMERICA BY PEGGY NOONAN
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Remember during the riots of the 1960s when they said “the whole world is watching”? Well, now the whole world really is. Everyone is traveling everywhere. We’re all on the move. Cultures can’t keep their secrets. The whole world is in the Hilton, channel-surfing. The whole world is on the train, in the airport, judging what it sees, and likely, in some serious ways, finding us wanting. And, being human, they may be judging us with a small, extra edge of harshness for judging them and looking down on them. We have work to do at home, on our culture and in our country. A beautiful Easter to St. Mary’s Church of Charleston, and happy Passover to Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim.
WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL
Most obvious is the huge bulge in spending in the past few years. In 2000 spending was 18.2% of GDP. In 2007 it was 19.6%. But in the three years since 2009 it’s jumped to an average of 24.4%. … The House budget plan, with spending in the same range, approximately balances the budget with no increase in taxes. This is good news for economic growth. In contrast, balancing the first or even the second Obama budget requires substantial tax increases—more than the administration has yet to propose.