GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES
Entitlement spending is crowding out spending on investments in our children and on infrastructure. This spending is threatening national bankruptcy. It’s increasing so quickly that there is no tax increase imaginable that could conceivably cover it. And, these days, the real entitlement problem is Medicare. So when you think about the election this way, the crucial question is: Which candidate can slow the explosion of entitlement spending so we can devote more resources toward our future?
NEW FRONTIERS OF EXTREMISM
NEW YORK TIMES
Republicans are frantically trying to get Representative Todd Akin to drop out of the United States Senate race in Missouri after his remark about abortion and rape, but not because it was offensive and ignorant. They’re afraid he might lose and cost them a chance at a Senate majority next year. He would surely be replaced by a Republican who sounds more reasonable but holds similarly extreme views on abortion, immigration, gay rights and the role of government because those are the kinds of candidates the party nominates these days in state after state. … The Republicans pressuring Mr. Akin to leave the race didn’t seem to care when he said he doubted that Medicare was constitutional or warned that same-sex marriage would destroy civilization. If the party wanted to end these kinds of embarrassing moments, it could return to the days when it nominated mainstream candidates.
Romney is hardly the first presidential candidate to avoid specific commitments and promises. His opponent, President Obama, was caught on a hot mike telling Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev to wait until after the election for a new Russia policy. The difference with Obama, though, is he has already established a track record in office. By declining to put meat on the bones of his policy proposals, Romney wouldn’t have any mandate from the voters if he does defeat Obama. In policy speeches, he’s somewhat more specific than he is at typical campaign stops, but even then there’s nothing resembling a comprehensive plan for budget balancing, job creation or tax reform.
SELF-PRESERVATION, MEET CYNICISM
When an ally comes under assault, the first impulse of politicians of both parties is to circle the political wagons, to concede only as much as politically necessary and not a millimeter more. The second impulse is to throw the offending person under the bus. As the outrage over Akin’s remarks mounted, so did the tone of the Romney campaign’s rhetoric. By Monday morning, Romney was telling National Review’s Robert Costa that Akin’s comments were “insulting, inexcusable and, frankly, wrong,” adding, “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.” After we thought about it for a while.
SKINNY-DIPPING COULD COST GOP SEATS
The House class of 2010 has often been compared to the historic class of 1994. Both were large GOP classes which won the Republicans majority control of the House. But the current GOP freshmen don’t seem to have learned the lessons of their predecessors. In 1996, when the class of 1994 ran for re-election - many of the dozen members who were defeated or didn’t return to Washington were those who had acted irresponsibly or been an embarrassment to their constituents. Maybe skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee isn’t illegal or even unethical. But it makes a congressional trip look ridiculous and the members look like they were just in the Holy Land to party.