Must-Read Op-Eds for Friday, March 9, 2012

Updated
 
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

You can make the case that the self-interest of America’s elite is best served by making sure that this disconnect continues, which means keeping taxes on high incomes low at all costs, never mind the consequences in terms of poor infrastructure and an undertrained work force. And if underfunding public education leaves many children of the less affluent shut out from upward mobility, well, did you really believe that stuff about creating equality of opportunity? So whenever you hear Republicans say that they are the party of traditional values, bear in mind that they have actually made a radical break with America’s tradition of valuing education. And they have made this break because they believe that what you don’t know can’t hurt them.

OBAMA VS. ISRAEL
BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
WASHINGTON POST

[B]eyond obvious contradictions and walk-backs lies a transcendent logic: As with the Keystone pipeline postponement, as with the debt-ceiling extension, as with the Afghan withdrawal schedule, Obama wants to get past Nov. 6 without any untoward action that might threaten his reelection. For Israel, however, the stakes are somewhat higher: the very existence of a vibrant nation and its 6 million Jews. The asymmetry is stark. A fair-minded observer might judge that Israel’s desire to not go gently into the darkness carries higher moral urgency than the political future of one man, even if he is president of the United States. A FIELD OF HAWKS
BY EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST

An attack is likely to increase the Iranian regime’s resolve, not lessen it. Bombing Iran every few years is not a realistic option and in any event would not be effective in the long run; when the Iranians rebuild their facilities, they will surely do a better job of hiding and bunkering them. The United States and its allies should seek to eliminate the Iranian government’s will to make a bomb, not its capacity. I hope Romney realizes that, while sanctions and diplomacy may not be working as well as we’d like, they’re the best tools we have — and that an attack at this point gets us nowhere. But if he believes his own rhetoric, this election may be about more than the economy. It may be about war and peace.

ROMNEY MUST SOLVE HIS STEREOTYPE PROBLEM
BY MICHAEL GERSON
WASHINGTON POST

Romney is stuck in a stereotype. During occasional gaffes, he sounds not just like your boss but like your boss’s boss. The main problem, however, is the message. In addition to talking about reducing taxes and cutting government, Romney needs to present a vision of social mobility and set out the egalitarian appeal of opportunity. He needs to emphasize policies — on education, job skills and wealth accumulation — that encourage aspiration. But this appeal is postponed as long as the contest for conservatives in the Republican primaries continues. Unlike his other challenges, Romney’s class problem does not fade: It must be fixed. And it is difficult to even begin until the Republican race ends.

THE POLITICAL CENTER CAN SURVIVE
BY SUSAN COLLINS
WASHINGTON POST

The increasing polarization that has prompted centrists in both parties to depart has convinced me that the center will hold only if we put the same effort into unity that partisans put into division. … Yet I remain confident that principled, common-sense solutions will never go out of style. … The rise of the independent voter (40 percent of Americans, according to Gallup) signals a deep dissatisfaction with both parties. The wide electoral swings of recent years suggest that voters have lost patience with candidates who run as pragmatists but then govern as partisans. These trends, and the embryonic signs of bipartisanship in the Senate, give me confidence that the political center will reemerge. That is, after all, where most Americans are.

THE ROMNEY DIVIDE
BY KIMBERLEY STRASSEL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

This Republican primary has proved little, save the existence of one big phenomenon. Call it the Romney Divide. In simple terms, it stands for that significant gulf that continues to exist between the candidate and certain pockets of voters: tea partiers, evangelicals, the white working class. It is the Romney Divide that denied the GOP front-runner his chance to finish the race this week, and it remains his biggest liability. … Mr. Romney is never going to be “one of the guys.” What he can do is remember that working-class America is hugely aspirational and that he is, in fact, an American success story. … The Romney Divide isn’t unbridgeable. But if the governor wants to be welcomed by those distant voting groups, he needs to do the jumping.

Morning Joe Must-Read Op-Eds and Morning Joe Must-Read Op-Eds

Must-Read Op-Eds for Friday, March 9, 2012

Updated