Must-Read Op-Eds for Friday, June 1, 2012

Updated

Mark McKinnon at the George W. Bush Portrait Ceremony
By Mark McKinnon
The Daily Beast

For one brief moment in Washington D.C., politics and partisanship was put aside, and presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush shared some compliments and laughs at the White House. George and Laura Bush returned to their former home Wednesday for the unveiling of their official portraits. They were joined by friends, former staffers, and immediate family, including another president, George H. W. Bush, and his wife, Barbara, who proudly snapped photos from her front-row seat.

The Austerity Agenda
By Paul Krugman
New York Times

In general, [Britain’s conservatives] seem less determined than America’s right to aid the rich and punish the poor. Still, the direction of policy is the same — and so is the fundamental insincerity of the calls for austerity. The big question here is whether the evident failure of austerity to produce an economic recovery will lead to a “Plan B.” Maybe. But my guess is that even if such a plan is announced, it won’t amount to much. For economic recovery was never the point; the drive for austerity was about using the crisis, not solving it. And it still is.

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A Ban Too Far
Editorial
New York Times

The city should keep up its tough anti-obesity advertising campaigns — one ad shows that it takes walking from Union Square to Brooklyn to burn off the calories from a 20-ounce soda. The mayor has also started adult exercise programs and expanded the program for more fresh produce vendors around the city. Promoting healthy lifestyles is important. In the case of sugary drinks, a regular reminder that a 64-ounce cola has 780 calories should help. But too much nannying with a ban might well cause people to tune out.

The Rights of Female Soldiers
Editorial
New York Times

Republicans … joining with Democrats on Capitol Hill to protect women’s reproductive rights is a rare and welcome sight. Last week, Senators McCain, Brown, and Collins voted … to lift a cruel and insulting law that requires female service members who are victims of rape or incest to pay for abortion care they receive at military facilities. … If the bill make it to a House-Senate conference committee, Senator McCain’s leadership will be essential. As the ranking Republican on Armed Services, and a veteran who showed enormous personal courage, he can have a large say in the negotiations that decide whether rape victims in the military are finally treated with decency.

Barack Obama: Drone Warrior
By Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post

In crisis after recent crisis, Obama has looked particularly weak: standing helplessly by as thousands are massacred in Syria; being played by Iran in nuclear negotiations, now reeling with the collapse of the latest round in Baghdad … . The Obama camp thought that any political problem with foreign policy would be cured by the Osama bin Laden operation. But the administration’s attempt to politically exploit the raid’s one-year anniversary backfired, earning ridicule and condemnation for its crude appropriation of the heroic acts of others.

Biden’s personal grief lessens isolation, stigma
By Michael Gerson
Washington Post

When the vice president owns to thoughts of suicide at age 30, it means something to the more than 8 million Americans who seriously consider suicide each year and to the more than 1 million who attempt it. Among adults 25 to 34, it is the second-leading cause of death. For the severely depressed, isolation and stigma can be deadly. Joe Biden has diminished both. Empathy in the absence of judgment can be hazardous. But our public life would benefit from more of each.

John Edwards should not be retried
Editorial
Washington Post

Although U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles did not allow it into evidence, Mr. Edwards’s defense lawyer, Abbe Lowell, highlighted a 2009 Justice Department letter stating that, in order for the U.S. government to bring criminal charges, “The application of the law to the facts of a matter must at the very least be clear, and there must be no doubt that the [FEC] considers that the underlying conduct presents [an election law] offense.” That is a sensible standard. Vigorous enforcement of the campaign finance laws, both civil and criminal, is an essential element of a functioning democracy. But in this case the government should have heeded its own advice.

The Long Race Has Begun
By Peggy Noonan
Wall Street Journal

Mr. Romney should face what didn’t work the past 12 years. Republicans took some wrong turns, and they know it. Centrists and independents know it, too. Candor here, delivered in a spirit of honesty, without animus, would seem not like a repudiation but a refreshment. And this would be deeply undercutting of Mr. Obama, who needs this race to be a fight between two parties, not a fight between a past that didn’t work and a future that can. The Bush family will understand. They respect politics, and its practitioners.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Friday, June 1, 2012

Updated