OBAMA, TIGER, GOLF AND POLITICS BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
It’s all nonsense. Obama is smart, decent and tough, with exactly the right instincts about where the country needs to go. He has accomplished a lot more than he’s gotten credit for — with an opposition dedicated to making him fail. But lately he is seriously off his game. He’s not Jimmy Carter. He’s Tiger Woods — a natural who’s lost his swing. He has so many different swing thoughts in his head, so many people whispering in his ear about what the polls say and how he needs to position himself to get re-elected, that he has lost all his natural instincts for the game. He needs to get back to basics.
It’s crazy what’s happening in America today: We’re having an economic crisis and the politicians are having an election — and there is almost no overlap between the two. The president needs to bring them together. But that can only happen if he stops playing not to lose and goes for broke himself… We need a Grand Bargain… Run on that, Mr. President: At best you’ll generate enough public pressure (now totally missing) to shame sane Republicans into joining you, and we’ll get a deal, and at worst you can run in 2012 on a platform, which, if you win, will actually give you a mandate for the change the country needs.
LIBYA’S BLOODY ROAD TO FREEDOM BY AZZA KAMEL MAGHUR
NEW YORK TIMES
[A]ll along Al Sarim Street, martyrs fell victim to the bullets of cowardly snipers hiding on the roofs of buildings, fighting for their freedom tooth and nail as they broke their city’s humiliating blockade. They fell on the street right in front of their mothers and fathers, who stood on balconies and doorsteps, bidding them farewell with cries and prayers. The corpses mounted on the hot pavement, a testament to the birth of Tripoli’s freedom. The light in their still open eyes will not be extinguished, and their blood, which has spilled on the streets, will not cool until all of Tripoli is free, the scent of flowers and henna returns, and its people [sing}…
LET LIBYA TAKE CHARGE OF ITS REVOLUTION BY ANNE APPLEBAUM
Fortunately for us, leading from behind in Libya is not merely the only option, it’s also the best option. This was their revolution, not ours. Now it is poised to become their transition, not ours. We can help and advise. We can point to the experience of others — in Iraq, Chile, Poland — who have also attempted the transition from dictatorship to democracy and who can offer lessons in what to do and what to avoid. We can keep expectations low and promises minimal. After all, we have a lot to learn about the Libyan rebels, their tribal divisions, their politics and their economics. And we have a lot of ammunition to replace back home.
AL-QAEDA DOWN, NOT OUT BY DAVID IGNATIUS
The al-Qaeda that emerges from the [bin Laden] documents is a badly battered and disoriented group… When top U.S. officials summarize their view of al-Qaeda now, in the run-up to the 9/11 anniversary, they describe an organization that is down but certainly not out. They don’t know of any specific plots targeting the United States, 10 years on. But they’re looking, pulsing every channel they know. They recognize that it’s what we still don’t know about al-Qaeda that’s most dangerous.
THE GOP’S TAX INCREASE BY HAROLD MEYERSON
Republicans like to complain that Democrats practice “class warfare” and “the politics of division,” as House GOP leader Eric Cantor argued on this page Monday. What the Republicans’ position [of allowing the} payroll tax [to increase] makes high-definitionally clear is their own class warfare on working- and middle-class Americans. Their double standard couldn’t be more obvious: Tax cuts for the wealthy are sacrosanct; tax cuts for everyone else don’t really matter. Norquist, Cantor, Ryan, Camp, the Journal editorialists and the whole Republican crew give hypocrisy a bad name.
GOVERNOR FOR SALE BY KATRINA VAN HEUVEL
Throughout his campaigns for governor, Perry raised $102 million, half of which came from just 204 sources. According to the Los Angeles Times, nearly half of those donors have received tax breaks, appointments or large business contracts. Half have received payments from two funds, sponsored by Perry, to funnel tax dollars to private business… Now that Perry has set his sights on the White House, there’s no question that he will bring the same pay-for-play ethos that served him so well in Texas to Washington… We cannot afford to have a president who has so proudly and brazenly embraced the notion of public service as nothing more than a conduit for the interest of business.