Must Read Op-Eds For August 11, 2011

Updated
 

THE SMARTPHONE RIOTS?  BY ANNE APPLEBAUM
WASHINGTON POST

The rioters themselves do not wave signs… They have not sought publicity for their views, if they have any… And thus have they become the inkblot in a kind of national Rorschach test: Everyone sees in them the political issue they care about most, whether it’s welfare dependency, budget cuts, the decline of public education or — my personal favorite — the rise of a vulgar and amoral public culture. And yet it is their lack of politics that most clearly defines them. If the Egyptians in Tahrir Square wanted democracy, and the anarchists in Athens wanted more government spending, the hooded men in British streets want 46-inch flat-screen HD televisions.

CAMERON’S BROKEN WINDOWS  BY RICHARD BENNETT & SASKIA SASSEN
NEW YORK TIMES

In many ways, Mr. Cameron’s austerity program is the Tea Party’s dream come true. But Britain is now grappling with the consequences of those cuts… America is in many ways different from Britain, but the two countries today are alike in their extremes of inequality, and in the desire of many politicians to solve economic and social ills by reducing the power of the state. Britain’s current crisis should cause us to reflect on the fact that a smaller government can actually increase communal fear and diminish our quality of life. Is that a fate America wishes upon itself?

MITT ROMNEY’S VANISHING ACT  BY FRANK BRUNI
NEW YORK TIMES

Couple [Romney’s] low profile with his history of reinvention and you wind up with a candidate who campaigns in disappearing ink. It’s tough to get a read on him, and he leaves no strong impression. He did, in fact, emerge from Mittness Protection and materialize… in Iowa on Wednesday, in advance of the debate, which he will actually attend. But he’ll leave before the straw poll on Saturday. Now you see him. Now you don’t… Can Romney get all the way to the White House like this? There’s still plenty of time for him to step it up, but, for now, he is doing something risky and remarkable: asking people to vote for him while encouraging them to look away.

WHY THE CENTER-LEFT IS FED UP WITH OBAMA  BY MATT MILLER
WASHINGTON POST

[W]hy am I so mad at Barack Obama? I know I’m not alone. In conversations with folks across the center-left in recent days, everyone’s basically had it with the president. I’ve had policy frustrations before… [but] somehow the debt-ceiling fiasco and the downgrade, punctuated by these horrific jobs numbers and stock market gyrations, has made something in me (and, I suspect, millions of others) snap. It’s the sound of confidence in Obama’s leadership breaking.

AMERICA AS LESS THAN NO. 1  BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL

The U.S. is far from finished… But make no mistake… Uncle Sam at the moment is seated in his corner of the global ring, gasping for breath, and no doubt he’ll come off the stool. But the cynical men in other capitals—Beijing, Tehran, Moscow, Paris, elsewhere—will be watching now to see just how much fight the old boy has left in him… What we’re going to learn from this crisis is that American exceptionalism means something more than a vague claim to special status. More substantively, it means the necessity to find peculiarly American solutions to American problems.

OBAMA’S NO GOOD, VERY BAD WEEK  BY KARL ROVE
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Every president faces bad news. Not every one becomes smaller and weaker as he does. Character makes itself known in moments of hardship. Americans respect presidents who are strong leaders, decisive and credible. In recent months, Mr. Obama hasn’t shown strength… These are difficult days for our president. Buffeted by events, he looks weak, dazed and over his head. And in 15 months, unless he finds some way to turn things around, he will be voted out of office.

Must Read Op-Eds For August 11, 2011

Updated