Must-Read Op-Eds for August 30, 2012

Updated
 

FOR MITT ROMNEY, THE MOMENT IS NOW
JOE SCARBOROUGH
POLITICO

The past tells us that externalities can put you in the game, but it takes a real leader to cross the goal line. …Now it’s Romney’s turn. It could be a speech or a moment on the trail or, most likely, a cumulative impression left in the debates. Romney’s been given a great gift, something few men in American history have ever had: a real shot at the presidency. To close the deal he’s going to have to convince Americans that he’s not just a manager or a reassuring presence, but that he’s got the wherewithal to make tough fiscal choices before the American Dream sustains irrevocable damage. It’s your moment, Mitt. Make the most of it. We’re here and we’re listening.

THE IDES OF TAMPA
DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

As a rule, politicians aren’t the most loyal lot. It’s often self first, party second and country third. But Romney has a particular problem commanding loyalty, and the Republicans playing Brutus at this week’s convention have been just brutal. Exploiting the tepid enthusiasm for Romney, up-and-comers in the party are using the convention to put down markers for their own presidential bids in 2016. They haven’t gone so far as to disparage Romney — such flagrant disloyalty would be a turnoff — but they are using their moments on stage as auditions. Unfortunately for Romney, the implied assumption is that he’s going to lose.

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RENOVATING MITT ROMNEY
GAIL COLLINS
NEW YORK TIMES

Even before the speeches began…the magnitude of the Romney renovation challenge was clear. …The folks who spoke during the first two days of the three-day convention were supposed to do foundation work, preparing the public to regard the presidential candidate who emerged on Thursday night as a kindly dad or a favored sibling who’s always such great company when you’re feeling down. They failed completely. It was as if, instead of fixing up the targeted house, the renovators decided to do some engine work on a recreational vehicle parked three blocks down the road.

WILL THEY DECIPHER THE CIPHER?
MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES

Mitt Romney doesn’t elicit passion, as Ronald Reagan did in Detroit. Or respect, as Poppy Bush did in New Orleans. Or excitement, as W. did in Philadelphia. Or admiration, as John McCain did in St. Paul. The emotion he evokes is pity. Romney slogged and spent his way to the G.O.P. convention his dad craved for himself only to find that his role is not so much leading man as forgotten man. …This synthetic convention aches with the enormity of the effort involved in trying, and failing, to make Mitt alluring and compelling, the fruitless, endless hunt for the enigma code that will decipher the cipher.

THE VACUUM BEHIND THE SLOGANS
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

“We will not duck the tough issues; we will lead,” said Representative Paul Ryan, in his speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination. “We will not spend four years blaming others; we will take responsibility.” Sounds great, except that the speech ducked the tough issues and blamed others for the problems. … Details are a turn-off, at a boisterous convention or apparently in a full campaign. … The Romney campaign knows this, of course, so it has developed a counterstrategy that was fully on display at the convention for those who might have missed it on the trail: Don’t change the plans, but don’t talk about them, either. Instead, invent a phony attack on President Obama’s policies, which are public in full detail, and hope that voters get so confused that they throw up their hands and cast their vote on some other issue or on emotion.

MR. RYAN’S MISLEADING SPEECH
EDITORIAL
WASHINGTON POST

…[Mr. Ryan] offered a speech that was part introduction of himself and his small-town origins, part testimonial to his running mate and — in largest part — a slashing and, in many elements, misleading indictment of President Obama as both a spent force and a threat to American freedom. Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama have starkly different visions about the role of government, but to caricature the president’s vision as “a government-planned life, where everything is free but us” insults voters who surely know better.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for August 30, 2012

Updated