Must Read Op-Eds for July 25, 2011

Updated
 

THE TRAVAILS OF ELIZABETH WARREN  BY JOE NOCERA
NEW YORK TIMES

[T]he person most responsible for the [Consumer Protection] bureau’s very existence — is departing. This coming week will be Elizabeth Warren’s last at the bureau. So accustomed are we to our nation’s poisoned politics that nobody even thinks this is strange. “In a world in which the Republicans would have let me have the job, yeah, I would have been glad to have stayed,” she [said] earlier this week…

A GOP RECKONING  BY E.J. DIONNE
WASHINGTON POST

Will Romney have the courage to insist that the radicalism represented by the Tea Party is not authentic conservatism, not the path to a Republican victory and not a formula for effective government? I’m not holding my breath, but this crisis calls for a period of reckoning inside the GOP… In the meantime, Obama should watch that Romney ad on jobs several times. By letting the congressional Republicans set his agenda, he’s gotten away from the one issue most likely to determine his fate in 2012. He should remember that the day after this debt crisis is settled, the Republicans’ question will be: Where are the jobs?

CONSUMERS VS. THE BANKS  EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

In deciding not to fight for Ms. Warren, the president has forfeited the opportunity to stand up to the banks and to highlight their relentless efforts to undermine reform. It is hard not to think that Mr. Obama was worried that choosing Ms. Warren would have cost him and Democratic senators campaign contributions from the banks… [T]o take on the banks and fully defend consumers, [the Bureau’s head] will need strong support from the White House. President Obama’s decision to jettison Ms. Warren is not a reassuring sign.

MESSING WITH MEDICARE  BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

The G.O.P.’s most potent political weapon last year — the weapon that caused a large swing in the votes of older Americans — was the claim that Mr. Obama was cutting Medicare. Why give Republicans a chance to do it all over again? Of course, it’s possible that the reason the president is offering to undermine Medicare is that he genuinely believes that this would be a good idea. And that possibility, I have to say, is what really scares me.

MUCH ADO ABOUT MICHELE  BY FRANK BRUNI
NEW YORK TIMES

Vividness doesn’t equal significance. And Bachmann’s profile at this point is wildly out of proportion to her probable fate in the election and the long-term impact on it that she’ll have… [T}he migraine-fixated are putting the cart several time zones ahead of the horse. She’s a long way from her Oval Office physical. Besides, the more phlegmatic guys in the pack aren’t being subjected to such examinations. For all we know, Jon Huntsman has a plantar wart that’s wreaking utter havoc with his stride.

REPUBLICANS, ZEALOTS, AND OUR SECURITY  BY NICHOLAS KRISTOF
NEW YORK TIMES

If China or Iran threatened our national credit rating and tried to drive up our interest rates, or if they sought to damage our education system, we would erupt in outrage… We tend to think of national security narrowly as the risk of a military or terrorist attack. But national security is about protecting our people and our national strength — and the blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.

CRISIS OF THE OLD ORDER  BY ROBERT SAMUELSON
WASHINGTON POST

Amid today’s unrelenting political uproar, something similar is happening. Economic weakness in advanced countries stems partly from the residual trauma on consumers and companies following the ferocious 2008-09 financial crisis. But the effect is complicated by a backward-looking mentality. Governments everywhere are striving to protect the old order because they do not understand and fear the new.

THE DEFAULT CAUCUS TAKES HOSTAGES  BY DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

Twenty Republican lawmakers crowded the Senate TV studio last week to issue a threat: Meet their demands, or they will force the United States to default. The only way to prevent the catastrophe, these Tea Party faithful said, was for the Senate to pass, and the president to sign, their plan to permanently cap spending at levels last seen in 1966… This is the language of gangster films: Do as we say — or the girl gets it. Yet listening to the 20 House and Senate Republicans recite their demands, it was clear they were deadly serious. And that’s why, even though a large majority of lawmakers want to avoid default, it could still happen.

WHEN THE MIDDLE GETS MAD  BY DAVID IGNATIUS
WASHINGTON POST

The lesson is that the great slumbering middle still makes the decisive difference in politics, when it pays attention. Partisan voices may seem to dominate the debate. But the changes that matter —as when the British public decides it’s fed up with Rupert Murdoch’s brand of journalism or when the American public demands that politicians stop playing games with the budget — happen because people in the center get angry and demand action.

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Must Read Op-Eds for July 25, 2011

Updated