THE GOP’S NON ROMNEY COMPETITION BY KARL ROVE
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Because primaries tend to become binary contests, Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Perry will now likely compete to be the “Not Romney” candidate. They can achieve dominance by attacking each other, attacking Mr. Romney, or attacking Mr. Obama while hyping their own records and values. The smartest course is the last… Twice since Saturday, Mr. Obama’s approval rating in the Gallup daily tracking poll has hit 39%, his lowest mark so far. No president in more than 50 years has been re-elected with approval ratings so low at this point in his term. The odds are that Harry Truman’s improbable come-from-behind victory in 1948 won’t be matched anytime soon.
THINK JOBS, NOT DEBT BY FAREED ZAKARIA
Having despaired that Obama gave in to the Tea Party on the debt deal, they now criticize him as too cautious in his proposals to boost American jobs. They’re right that Obama should present a sharp distinction to the public between his efforts and the Republican Party’s utter passivity in the face of a national employment crisis. But perhaps Obama realizes that the most important factor that will help his reelection — and Democratic prospects more generally — is a rise in employment. And to have any impact on the actual economy, Obama needs proposals that can get through Congress, not ones that sound good on TV.
HEROES, UNTIL THEY’VE ARRIVED BY FRANK BRUNI
NEW YORK TIMES
A little Rick Perry goes a very long way. That was one lesson of the last few days, when this proud cowboy, whose stride into the presidential derby had been as lustrous and neatly styled as his mane, began to show more than a few split ends. And thus did a candidate who appeared so fearsome on the horizon — and who, for now, rides high in polls — come to look somewhat frizzier and patchier in the barnyard upon closer inspection. The hair is always thicker on the other side of the trough… In politics, as in life, we romanticize what we don’t yet have, and once Republicans officially had Perry, the doubting flowered, each day bringing fresh worry about the blemishes on his record.
WRONG ANSWERS IN BRITAIN EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES
Britain’s urban wastelands need constructive attention from the Cameron government, not just punishment. His government’s wrongheaded austerity policies have meant fewer jobs and social services. Even police strength is scheduled to be cut. The poor are generally more dependent on government than the affluent, so they have been hit the hardest… [A]t a minimum, burdens need to be more fairly shared between rich and poor — not as a reward to anyone, but because it is right. Fair play is one traditional British value we have always admired. And one we fear is increasingly at risk.
A LOVELESS GOP AFFAIR BY E.J. DIONNE
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is a cross between the Little Engine That Could and the big chain store fending off attacks from upstart rivals. Romney gets little love from his fellow Republicans. He’s always confronting rumors spread by people who ought to support him that the existence of such a “weak field” will soon encourage new and better candidates to get in. The “weak field” line means they think Romney just doesn’t have it… My guess is that if Perry’s freight train doesn’t flatten Romney’s little engine pretty quickly, Romney will keep chugging on. His faith is that of the good business consultant: a shrewd long-term game plan matters more than either swagger or love.
BRITAIN BOWS OUT OF DEFENSE BY GEORGE WILL
Since the Cold War’s end, the combined gross domestic product of NATO’s European members has grown 55 percent, yet their defense spending has declined almost 20 percent. Twenty years ago, those nations provided 33 percent of the alliance’s defense spending; today, they provide 21 percent. This is why Robert Gates, before resigning as U.S. defense secretary, warned that unless Europe’s disarmament is reversed, future U.S. leaders “may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.” Born to counter the Soviet army on the plains of Northern Europe, NATO may be expiring in North Africa.
AMERICA’S DOG DAYS BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL
[O]ne of the enduring virtues of America’s system of democracy is that when the day comes to choose a president and a Congress, these same people have to decide whether to vote only their beliefs or vote for getting political power. Most still choose the latter. But that could be changing, most likely to the detriment of GOP hopes. Come November 2012, you can bet the ranch that the furious left will vote for Barack Obama. And the Obama campaign has to hope that the Republicans will keep voting as they did in Iowa and produce a nominee that pretty much no one wants to vote for.
PERRY’S PUBLIC SERVICE EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Merely by raising the Fed as a subject, Mr. Perry has sent a political signal to the folks at the Eccles Building to tread carefully as they conduct monetary policy in the coming months. This alone is a public service. Mr. Perry and the other GOP candidates should be more careful in their language, and more precise about the Fed’s mistakes. But they shouldn’t shrink from debating the subject of sound money that is so crucial to restoring American prosperity.