Must-Read Op-Eds for August 16, 2012

Updated
 

ROMNEY’S RESPONSE TO THE VP
JOE SCARBOROUGH
POLITICO

There’s not a lot of time left for the Republican nominee to figure out how to talk straight to those voters who are hungry for leadership. If Governor Romney had the guts to answer Biden’s attacks honestly, he might say this: …”What’s so ‘gutsy’ about kicking the can down the road for another four years on entitlements? What’s so gutsy about letting Medicare go bankrupt because you don’t have the guts to tell Americans the truth about a program that will one day collapse under the weight of its own commitments? …What’s gutsy about stealing $1 trillion dollars from your children and grandchildren every single year since Barack Obama became president? Americans have always sacrificed present ease for future strength. We’ve got bills to pay, jobs to create, priorities to reorder. It won’t be fun, but it’s what we do. Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan both noted that their generations had a rendezvous with destiny. So do we. It’s time we kept the appointment.”

ROMNEY THE UNKNOWABLE
TIMOTHY EGAN
NEW YORK TIMES

This problem of who he is, Romney acknowledged last year, has plagued him ever since he became a public figure. …I doubt you will hear anything of the real Romney because he is afraid of his own past. His life — even with prep school privilege in Bloomfield Hills, the draft-avoiding refuges of mission work in Paris and business school at Harvard, a founding role at Bain Capital from a mentor who guaranteed he would never fail financially or professionally — is not without drama. Yet that Romney story is laden with land mines of his making. Or rather, that of his party, which has turned so quickly against common-sense solutions to the nation’s problems that Romney’s real achievements, and prior principles, are now toxic to most Republicans.

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THE ELECTORAL ART OF WAR
CHARLES M. BLOW
NEW YORK TIMES

Having a debate about fundamentally changing Medicare during an election in which the two biggest swing states, Florida and Pennsylvania, are also among those with the greatest percentage of the elderly? Sounds like a campaign with a death wish. One thing that we learned from the health care debate is that many Americans resist change, on principle, even if might benefit them, because they are afraid of it. And it’s hard for education campaigns to have an impact on an electorate conditioned to 15-second clips and satisfied with sound-bites. Americans can have big discussions about big issues, but math and minor details are a hard combination to hang a campaign on. So by hammering Romney on his strength, the Obama campaign forced him to make a disastrous choice for a running mate.

THE UGLY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

…It’s ugly out there. But is this worse than four years ago, when Obama was accused by the GOP vice presidential nominee of “palling around with terrorists”? Or eight years ago, when Democratic nominee John Kerry was accused of falsifying his Vietnam War record?  What’s different this time is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success. They have ceased their traditional response of assuming the fetal position when attacked, and Obama’s campaign is giving as good as it gets — and then some.

HOW RYANIZATION THREATENS THE GOP
EJ DIONNE JR.
WASHINGTON POST

…Many Republican professionals — particularly those running this fall — are petrified. They freely express private fears that Democrats will succeed in Ryanizing the entire GOP. What’s striking is not just that down-ballot Republican candidates are distancing themselves from Ryan’s proposals, particularly on Medicare, but that Romney won’t take ownership of them either, except in vague terms. Worse, the Romney apparatus is forcing Ryan to distance himself from his own budget. It was sad to watch Ryan dancing around these issues on Fox News Tuesday night and having to say that Romney is the boss. How long before conservatives start producing “Let Ryan Be Ryan” bumper stickers?

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Must-Read Op-Eds for August 16, 2012

Updated