Here are today’s must read opinion and editorial columns.
A GRAND OLD CULT BY RICHARD COHEN
Someone ought to study the Republican Party. I am not referring to yet another political scientist but to a mental health professional, preferably a specialist in the power of fixations, obsessions and the like. The GOP needs an intervention. It has become a cult. In order to become a Republican, one has to take a pledge. … This intellectual rigidity has produced a GOP presidential field that’s a virtual political Jonestown. The Grand Old Party, so named when it really did evoke America, has so narrowed its base that it has become a political cult. It is a redoubt of certainty over reason.
CORPORATE CASH CON BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
How can anyone imagine that lack of corporate cash is what’s holding back recovery in America right now? After all, it’s widely understood that corporations are already sitting on large amounts of cash that they aren’t investing in their own businesses. In fact, that idle cash has become a major conservative talking point, with right-wingers claiming that businesses are failing to invest because of political uncertainty. That’s almost surely false: the evidence strongly says that the real reason businesses are sitting on cash is lack of consumer demand. In any case, if corporations already have plenty of cash they’re not using, why would giving them a tax break that adds to this pile of cash do anything to accelerate recovery?
LET’S NOT LINGER IN AFGHANISTAN BY JEFF MERKLEY, RAND PAUL & TOM UDALL
NEW YORK TIMES
We’ve accomplished what we set out to accomplish in Afghanistan, and we can no longer afford the lives and money it is taking to pursue an ambitious open-ended nation-building mission. It is not too late to change course in what has become the longest American war in history. In light of our considerable national needs, both security and domestic, we urge the president to bring our troops home at last.
OBAMA CALLS THE GOP’S BLUFF BY EUGENE ROBINSON
The stakes are perilously high, but Obama does have a doomsday option: If all else fails, he can assert that a section of the 14th Amendment — “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law . . . shall not be questioned” — makes the debt limit unconstitutional and instructs him to take any measures necessary to avoid default. Maybe that’s why, in this stare-down, the president doesn’t seem inclined to blink.
A REPUBLIC IF YOU CAN KEEP IT BY JOE SCARBOROUGH
The same prejudices and passions tore at the Republic from its earliest days. Despite my constant complaints about the lack of civility in American politics, it is hard to imagine any modern presidential campaign being uglier than Jefferson and Adam’s political bloodbath in 1800. And one suspects Joe Biden will not find himself in a gunfight with a political opponent anytime soon. But that is exactly what happened when Vice President Aaron Burr shot down Alexander Hamilton in 1804.