OBAMA’S STUBBORN CRITICS BY E.J. DIONNE
You have to ask: If unemployment were at 6 percent, would President Obama be getting pummeled for not having us back to full employment already? The question comes to mind in the wake of the Libyan rebels’ successes against Moammar Gaddafi. It’s remarkable how reluctant Obama’s opponents are to acknowledge that despite all the predictions that his policy of limited engagement could never work, it actually did… What should Obama take from this? [He] should remember that steady moderation is very different from continually looking around to see if he can accommodate opponents who won’t be happy until he’s back teaching law school.
GOV. PERRY’S CASH MACHINE EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES
The exchange of campaign contributions for government contracts, favors or positions is all too common in Washington and around the country. It has been developed to an especially high art — or more to the point, a low art — by Gov. Rick Perry in Texas. For a presidential contender who insists that big government is the country’s biggest problem, it is particularly cynical… Since 2001, more than a fifth of the $83 million that Mr. Perry has raised for his gubernatorial campaigns has come from people he appointed to state boards and commissions, according to a study by Texans for Public Justice… On a national level, Mr. Perry says he wants to make government “inconsequential.” In Texas, he has made government very consequential — for his political career. The people of Texas have not fared nearly as well.
WHEN LIBYA GREW WINGS BY KHALED DARWISH
NEW YORK TIMES
It was the fall of Libya’s Bastille… I found everyone in a state of anticipatory joy. Rebels had gathered food and blankets to help families who had fled the fighting… The free men of Tripoli cried for joy. Girls ran barefoot into the street, forgetting to put on their shoes, some forgetting to cover their hair, as they raised their hands to their mouths and sounded ululations that pierced the sky — the free sky. My son Mohammad waved our new flag of independence in one hand and held a martyr’s picture in the other as he chanted, “The blood of martyrs is not spilled in vain.”
LIBERALS’ WISCONSIN WATERLOO BY GEORGE WILL
Governor Walker has refuted the left’s sustaining conviction that a leftward-clicking ratchet guarantees that liberalism’s advances are irreversible. Progressives, eager to discern a victory hidden in their recent failures, suggest that a chastened Walker will not risk further conservatism. Actually, however, his agenda includes another clash with teachers unions and combat over tort reform with another cohort parasitic off bad public policies — trial lawyers…[S]idewalk graffiti next to the statehouse-square drinking fountain darkly warns: “Free water . . . for now.” There, succinctly, is liberalism’s credo: If everything isn’t “free,” meaning paid for by someone else, nothing will be safe.
INFLATION IS NOT THE ANSWER BY ROBERT SAMUELSON
It’s a sign of desperation that the latest cure being suggested for the ailing economy is higher inflation. In the 1970s and early 1980s, inflation was a national curse. Now, it’s being advanced as an antidote to high unemployment and meager economic growth… Remember: The economy’s basic problem is poor confidence spawned by pervasive uncertainties. The Fed shouldn’t make the problem worse by embracing policies that, whatever their theoretical attractions, will create more uncertainties in the real world. In his much-awaited Jackson Hole speech Friday, Ben Bernanke should make clear that [he] won’t follow this path.
EXPECT A THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATE IN 2012 BY PATRICK CADDELL AND DOUGLAS SCHOEN
WALL STREET JOURNAL
We have seen in the past where economic distress and political alienation can lead. In both the 1980 and 1992 presidential campaigns, third-party candidates emerged—John Anderson and then Ross Perot—and each garnered high levels of public support… And the conditions in those years were nowhere near as severe as they are today. The political order as we know it is deteriorating and disintegrating, and politics abhors a vacuum. So there is very good reason to believe that a credible third party, or even fourth political party, may be on the ballot in 2012. The American people clearly are looking for alternatives. Now.
OBAMA AND THE ‘COMPETENCY CRISIS’ BY MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN
WALL STREET JOURNAL
We lack a coherent and muscular economic strategy, as Mr. Obama and his staff seem almost completely focused on his re-election. He should be spending most of his time on the nitty-gritty of the job instead of on fund raisers, bus tours and visits to diners, which essentially are in service of his political interests. Increasingly his solutions seem to boil down to Vote for Me. Clearly the president will have to raise his game to win a second term, especially if the Republicans find a real candidate. Will voters be willing to give him another four years? Like many Americans who supported him, I long for a triple-A president to run a triple-A country.