Must Read Op-Eds for Monday, January 23, 2012

Updated
 
Mika read from a recent Frank Bruni column on celeb chef Paula Deen’s announcement that she has diabetes and about “the world of food celebrities and food celebrators.”

OF MOUSELIKE BITES AND MARATHONS
BY FRANK BRUNI
NEW YORK TIMES

Last week Paula Deen copped. The woman whose best-known burger recipe  uses glazed doughnuts in place of a bun announced that she has diabetes. It would have been refreshing if the circumstances hadn’t been so self-serving: she was plugging her son Bobby’s new Cooking Channel show, “Not My Mama’s Meals,” which is devoted to lower-calorie recipes. And she had recently signed on as a paid pitchwoman for a diabetes drug. What’s more, she had waited three long, greasy years since her diagnosis to come out. … Deen’s revelation jolted me in part because people in the business of peddling gastronomic bliss rarely draw such a bold connection between indulgence and its possible wages…While Deen has a preponderance of calorie bombs in her playbook and a heavy hand with salt, a given dish of hers can sometimes be lighter than its haute counterpart. …[H]er oven-fried potato wedges, made with mayonnaise, are 328 calories per serving. The chef Thomas Keller’s “tasting of potatoes with black truffles,” made with cream and butter, is 494. That’s the kind of thing that made me consider some past put-downs of Deen elitist. After all, she isn’t alone in exhorting people to pig out. She’s just unusually cornmeal-crusted, saucy and bewigged about it. I hope she’ll have plenty of company now, too, as she tells some valuable truths about food and consequences, belated as they are.

IS OUR ECONOMY HEALING?
BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

How goes the state of the union? Well, the state of the economy remains terrible. Three years after President Obama’s inauguration and two and a half years since the official end of the recession, unemployment remains painfully high. But there are reasons to think that we’re finally on the (slow) road to better times. And we wouldn’t be on that road if Mr. Obama had given in to Republican demands that he slash spending, or the Federal Reserve had given in to Republican demands that it tighten money. … [I]f this year’s election brings the wrong ideology to power, America’s nascent recovery might well be snuffed out.

SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO
BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES

Despite what his rivals say, the president and the first lady do believe in American exceptionalism — their own, and they feel overassaulted and under appreciated. We disappointed them. … The Obamas, especially Michelle, have radiated the sense that Americans do not appreciate what they sacrifice by living in a gilded cage. They’ve forgotten Rule No. 1 of politics: No one sheds tears for anyone lucky enough to live at the White House. … The Obamas truly feel like victims. But Newt Gingrich, who campaigns by attacking the culture of victimization, plays one on stage. … Could 2012, remarkably, be a race between two powerful victims yearning to be lonely at the top?

A GOOD CANDIDATE IS HARD TO FIND
BY ROSS DOUTHAT
NEW YORK TIMES

In 2008, Barack Obama seemed to have almost F.D.R.-like gifts: He out-managed, out-inspired and out-demagogued both Hillary Clinton and John McCain. But the presidency, unexpectedly, has exposed his limits as a communicator… Unlike Reagan and Clinton, the two masters, he seems unable to either bully or inspire. What Obama has left, though, is the same capable, even ruthless organization that helped him over the top last time around. Maybe he’ll rediscover the old 2008 magic as well. But if not, the 2012 election is shaping up to be the most wearying sort of American presidential campaign: a clash of two managers, slogging their way toward a prize that a stronger candidate might have taken in a walk.

NEWT GINGRICH WINS. WHAT IT MEANS.
BY ERICK ERICKSON
RED STATE

South Carolina’s vote is about Republican grassroots giving the Washington Republican establishment the finger. The base is angry, and right now, only Newt is left to fight for them, as imperfect as he is. We may still end up with Romney, but voters aren’t going to let him have it easily. …[T]his most divisive and bitter primary in years is going to wipe out the GOP’s chances to win in November. And while few of the Romney advocates of the past four years will admit it, it is because they have tried to foist onto the base a milquetoast moderate from Massachusetts as energizing to conservatives as a dead battery.

THE GINGRICH CHALLENGE
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

As for the GOP establishment…Mr. Gingrich’s re-emergence is likely to cause a panic attack. They don’t believe he is electable. Our advice would be to relax and let the voters decide. If Mr. Romney can’t marshal the wit and nerve to defeat the speaker, then he isn’t likely to defeat Mr. Obama. If GOP office-holders had a better candidate, they should have rallied behind one to get into the race, and they still could if the primary contest drags on without a clear winner. In any case the record of elected GOP politicians in picking nominees is hardly inspiring. Rank-and-file voters are likely to have a clearer sense of what the country needs. On to Florida.

Must Read Op-Eds for Monday, January 23, 2012

Updated