Must Read Op-Eds for August 2, 2011

Updated
 

Here are today’s must read opinion and editorial columns.

IN DEFENSE OF WASHINGTON (SORT OF)  BY JOE SCARBOROUGH
POLITICO

This week, we are once again reading how this current generation of leaders is the worst we’ve ever had. The mainstream media’s narrative goes something like this: Republicans have never been so evil and the president of the United States has never been so weak. I suppose I would buy into that story line if the press had not said the same thing about my freshman class 15 years ago that they now say about today’s Republicans. And I suppose the rough treatment of Obama could be considered the worst in modern history if you don’t count what was written about Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush II.

TEA PARTY’S WAR ON AMERICA  BY JOE NOCERA
NEW YORK TIMES

As has been explained ad nauseam, the threat of defense cuts is supposed to give the Republicans an incentive to play fair with the Democrats in the negotiations. But with our soldiers still fighting in Afghanistan, which side is going to blink if the proposed cuts threaten to damage national security? Just as they did with the much-loathed bank bailout, which most Republicans spurned even though financial calamity loomed, the Democrats will do the responsible thing. Apparently, that’s their problem. For now, the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests. But rest assured: They’ll have them on again soon enough. After all, they’ve gotten so much encouragement.

ON TO THE SUPER COMMITTEE  EDITORIAL
WASHINGTON POST

The daunting truth is that even if the super-committee produces an agreement, it will not be enough. The total savings, somewhere north of $2 trillion, are only about halfway of where the country needs to go to get the debt under control. Nothing prevents the super-committee from aspiring for more, and it may discover, as previous negotiators have, that a grander bargain is easier to achieve than a smaller one. That would be a welcome outcome, but it’s not one that anyone can count on. The political crisis may be averted for the moment. The fiscal crisis continues.

TWO SIDES, TOO SPENT TO LEAD  BY MICHAEL GERSON
WASHINGTON POST

The problem is that an honest debate on controlling Medicare costs — a prerequisite for meaningful debt reduction — is uncomfortable for both parties… This challenge is at least an order of magnitude larger than anything Congress currently contemplates. So a debt deal is struck. But, after this spectacle, why would a credit rating agency, a foreign investor or an American voter have confidence in the ability of the American political system to confront the coming entitlement emergency?

WHY I ENVY THE TEA PARTY  BY RICHARD COHEN
WASHINGTON POST

The Tea Party has recklessly diminished the power and reach of the United States. It has shrunk the government and will, if it can, further deprive it of revenue. The domestic economy will suffer and the gap between rich and poor, the educated and the indolently schooled, will continue to widen. International relations will lack a dominant power able to enforce the rule of law, and the bad guys will be freer to be as bad as they want. Maybe the deficit will be brought under control, but nothing else will. I worry — and I envy (but will not forgive) those who don’t.

A DEBT DEAL TO HATE  BY EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST

The agreement creates a 12-member bipartisan “super committee” of Congress that is supposed to tackle debt reduction broadly, looking not just at further cuts but at increased tax revenue as well — despite Boehner’s specious claim that taxes are off the table. If it can’t [function], a “trigger” mechanism starts slashing through the budget like Genghis Khan in a bad mood. This is supposed to be so unthinkable that it frightens everyone into sober rectitude. But I’ll go out on a limb and say that nothing is unthinkable anymore. Overall, this is a bad deal that is made considerably less bad by the way its details are engineered. That’s still a long way from good. Progressives lost this battle. They retain the capacity to win the next one, if they are smarter and tougher. If they fight.

 

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Must Read Op-Eds for August 2, 2011

Updated