Must Read Op-Eds for Friday, December 2, 2011

Updated
 

MITT VS. NEWT  BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

WASHINGTON POST

My own view is that Republicans would have been better served by the candidacies of Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan or Chris Christie. Unfortunately, none is running. You play the hand you’re dealt. This is a weak Republican field with two significantly flawed front-runners contesting an immensely important election. … Every conservative has thus to ask himself two questions: Who is more likely to prevent that second term? And who, if elected, is less likely to unpleasantly surprise?

 

ERICKSON ON HUNTSMAN  BY ERICK ERICKSON

RED STATE

Here’s the funny thing about Jon Huntsman. His record as a Governor is more conservative than Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney combined. … What’s so tragic about the Huntsman race is that he has the boldest free market economic recovery plan. He has the most pro-life record of anyone in the race other than Rick Perry. He has the best jobs creation record of anyone in the race with the possible exception of Rick Perry. And he has run away from all of that to be the guy who doesn’t offend the women of The View.

KILLING THE EURO  BY PAUL KRUGMAN

NEW YORK TIMES

Turn on your TV and you’re very likely to find some pundit declaring that if America doesn’t slash spending we’ll end up like Greece. … But the truth is nearly the opposite. Although Europe’s leaders continue to insist that the problem is too much spending in debtor nations, the real problem is too little spending in Europe as a whole. … In America, as in Europe, the economy is being dragged down by troubled debtors — in our case, mainly homeowners. And here, too, we desperately need expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to support the economy… So the next time you hear someone claiming that if we don’t slash spending we’ll turn into Greece, your answer should be that if we do slash spending while the economy is still in a depression, we’ll turn into Europe. In fact, we’re well on our way.

 

THE SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE  BY DAVID BROOKS

NEW YORK TIMES

Why are nations like Germany and the U.S. rich? … It’s because many people in these countries…believe in a simple moral formula: effort should lead to reward as often as possible. … Over the past few decades, several European nations, like Germany and the Netherlands, have played by the rules and practiced good governance. … Now they are being brutally browbeaten for not wanting to bail out nations like Greece, Italy and Spain… Our sympathy should be with the German people. They are not behaving selfishly by insisting on structural reforms in exchange for bailouts. … They are defending the values, habits and social contract upon which the entire prosperity of the West is based.

 

THE FED AND THE EURO  BY EDITORIAL

NEW YORK TIMES

The European leaders’ failure over the past two years to assemble a credible bailout plan to restore financial stability to the weak economies like Greece has pushed the crisis to Italy, the euro zone’s third-biggest economy, which owes $2.5 trillion and must refinance $530 billion of that debt next year. This week, Italy issued new debt at interest of nearly 8 percent, a rate that, if sustained, could force the country to default. The euro could not survive such an event. This is why it is urgent for the E.C.B. — which can print euros at will — to act immediately by promising to purchase as many bonds of stricken countries as is necessary to reduce their interest rates to affordable levels.

 

EUROPE’S DELAYED DEBT RECKONING  BY MICHAEL GERSON

WASHINGTON POST

It is said in Europe that only one politician now stands between President Obama and reelection: Angela Merkel. … For the United States, these developments [in the Eurozone] have the historical feel of the 1910s and the 1930s, transposed to the economic realm. U.S. interests, once again, depend on European events over which we have little control. The world economy is coming to grips with a fact it has long attempted to ignore. The European project, as currently constituted, is unstable. Europe will dramatically strengthen its fiscal and political union or it will break into pieces.

 

THE TWO FACES OF CHINA  BY EUGENE ROBINSON

WASHINGTON POST

The contrast between China’s uninhibited economic life and its repressed political life could not be more stark. … i had dinner one night at the home of Hao Jiang Tian, an acclaimed opera singer… it was fascinating — and harrowing — to hear him and several of his contemporaries describe how they survived the years of the Cultural Revolution. They were of high-school age, but instead of continuing their educations they were sent to menial jobs in construction, forced to join the army or banished to toil in the countryside. They were hungry, exhausted, always fearful. … I heard these stories while we sat around a table groaning with exquisite food. Tian’s large and elegant apartment is in a new high-rise… No, China isn’t free. But yes, it has changed.

 

THE WONK  BY ROBERT COSTA

NATIONAL REVIEW

While Romney is producing videos about President Obama, and doing few retail events, Gingrich is wowing them on seaports… Indeed, for Gingrich, ever the professor, the bookish speeches may be old hat. But as he rises in the polls, they’ll likely be a boon for his campaign, which is drawing a clear contrast with Romney. As the former Bay State governor runs, in many respects, a national campaign, Gingrich is going local, embracing his inner wonk. Seaports, job statistics, border law — you name it, he’s ready.

 

THE NEWTENING IS HERE. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE MITT!  BY JONATHAN CHAIT

NEW YORK MAGAZINE

The national media tagged Romney from the beginning as the party front-runner. Largely, this reflected the old campaign cliché that Republicans always nominate the candidate who is “next in line.” … Romney finished second in 2008, so this must make him the new front-runner. The trouble with this theory is that it takes an overly literal interpretation of what “next” means. Republicans don’t have a numeric fixation with the runner-up. … Gingrich was the leader of the Republican Party for several years. Yes, he flamed out. But party members have far more experience regarding him as their leader than they do Romney. His years of partisan combat also help insulate him from his many, since repudiated deviations from Party orthodoxy. It is not that Republicans won’t vote for Romney. It’s that Romney does not capture their fundamental attitude toward Obama. … Gingrich may lack money and organization, but he has a real opportunity, and Romney surely knows it. 

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Must Read Op-Eds for Friday, December 2, 2011

Updated