Must Read Op-Eds for August 29, 2011

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DARTH VADER VENTS  BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES

Why is it not a surprise to learn that Dick Cheney’s ancestor, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, was a Civil War soldier who marched with Sherman to the sea? Scorched earth runs in the family. Having lost the power to heedlessly bomb the world, Cheney has turned his attention to heedlessly bombing old colleagues… [He] takes himself so seriously, flogging his cherished self-image as a rugged outdoorsman from Wyoming (even though he shot his Texas hunting partner in the face) and a vice president who was the only thing standing between America and its enemies. He acts like he is America. But America didn’t like Dick Cheney.

 


THE FALL THIS SUMMER  BY FRANK BRUNI
NEW YORK TIMES

[T]his summer crystallized a growing sense that our country’s can-do spirit was being replaced by a make-do resignation, and that our best days might well be behind us. I kept finding myself in the same conversation, over and over, and only occasionally was I the one to initiate it. It concerned whether children in America today were likely to enjoy lives as privileged as their parents’. The usual conclusion — that they weren’t — represented an unsettling erosion of American confidence and a pivot in the nation’s psyche from a swaggering optimism to something more subdued. It wasn’t pessimism, not just yet. But it recognized real parameters around our will and wherewithal.

REPUBLICANS AGAINST SCIENCE  BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

So how has Mr. Romney… responded to Mr. Perry’s challenge? In trademark fashion: By running away. In the past, Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, has strongly endorsed the notion that man-made climate change is a real concern. But, last week, he softened that to a statement that he thinks the world is getting hotter, but “I don’t know that” and “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.” Moral courage! Of course, we know what’s motivating Mr. Romney’s sudden lack of conviction. According to Public Policy Polling, only 21 percent of Republican voters in Iowa believe in global warming (and only 35 percent believe in evolution). Within the G.O.P., willful ignorance has become a litmus test for candidates, one that Mr. Romney is determined to pass at all costs.

A BODY BLOW AGAINST AL-QAEDA  BY DAVID IGNATIUS
WASHINGTON POST

The death of Atiyah Abd al-Rahman in an Aug. 22 drone attack in Pakistan may appear to be just another in the revolving-door fatalities among al-Qaeda’s operations chiefs. But it was a crucial blow to the core group that once surrounded Osama bin Laden. Rahman was bin Laden’s channel to the world. Their correspondence was the most important prize taken from bin Laden’s compound when he was killed May 2. They talked about everything: strategy, personnel, operations, political setbacks. Whatever thread still held al-Qaeda together passed from bin Laden through to Rahman.

‘AN EXTREMIST FOR LOVE’  BY E.J. DIONNE
WASHINGTON POST

That we have failed to live up to [Martin Luther] King’s calls for economic justice — a central commitment of his life’s work… — is one telltale sign of our tendency to hear King’s prophetic voice selectively. But selectively hearing him is better than not listening at all, as long as it doesn’t lead to a distortion of what he believed… We have rendered King safe so we can honor him. But we should honor him because he did not play it safe. He urged us to break loose from “the paralyzing chains of conformity.” Good advice in every generation — and hard advice, too.

ST. AUGUSTINE AT THE FED  EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Ben Bernanke’s annual Jackson Hole policy speech on Friday—more hyped than Hurricane Irene—contained little news about monetary policy. But such is the Federal Reserve Chairman’s influence among the Wall Street-media establishment that his speech is being celebrated as a rebuke of Congress for its fiscal drama. He should have stuck to his day job… We certainly hope Republicans in Congress and on the Presidential trail are paying attention, though not in the way Mr. Bernanke intends. The Chairman’s speech continues his habit of taking the Fed into political territory far beyond its mandate, and Republicans should be thinking carefully about ways to rein it back in.

CAN ROMNEY THE TORTOISE OVERCOME PERRY THE HARE?  BY TOBY HARNDEN
THE TELEGRAPH

With Perry now eclipsing Bachmann, the Texan will be in her sights. In one of the coming debates, Romney’s aides dearly hope, Bachmann will turn to Perry and gouge his eyes out before he’s managed to get the first “ma’am” out of his mouth. Metaphorically, of course. Their other dream is that Perry will turn out to be his own worst enemy… If necessary, at a time of their choosing the Romney campaign will be ready to take Perry down. Romney has recruited some of the toughest Republican operatives available – they’re unlikely to do Gandhi impressions once the race heats up. In essence, Romney’s campaign calculates, everything voters like about Perry they already know – but before the primary race is over, the voters are going to know a lot more about the Texas governor.

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Must Read Op-Eds for August 29, 2011

Updated