Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, June 4, 2012

Updated
 
CANDIDATES HAVE COLLEGE, SPICY CHICKEN AND ‘STAR TREK’ IN COMMON
BY MARK LEIBOVICH
NEW YORK TIMES

Points of unity: Mitt Romney and President Obama both like process-driven decisions, iPads, ABC’s “Modern Family” and chicken. Grilled chicken, not fried, in keeping with the shared body-mindedness of the combatants (Mr. Obama does treadmill and hoops, Mr. Romney elliptical and bike). Spicy, too, as Mr. Romney (who often peels the skin off) has demonstrated with his endorsement of the jalapeño chicken sandwich at Carl’s Jr. and Mr. Obama has praised the grilled chicken tacos made by the White House chef.

THIS REPUBLICAN ECONOMY
BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

Over all, the picture for America in 2012 bears a stunning resemblance to the great mistake of 1937, when F.D.R. prematurely slashed spending, sending the U.S. economy… .In President Obama’s case, much though not all of the responsibility for the policy wrong turn lies with a completely obstructionist Republican majority in the House. That same obstructionist House majority effectively blackmailed the president into continuing all the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, so that federal taxes as a share of G.D.P. are near historic lows — much lower, in particular, than at any point during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. …[F]or all practical purposes this is already a Republican economy. EUROPE’S GRIM CHOICES
BY ROBERT J. SAMUELSON
WASHINGTON POST

Europe faces choices, some bad and others worse. Unfortunately, it’s unclear which are which. The best that can be imagined is that Europe lurches from crisis to crisis and that its slumping economy weakens the already fragile global recovery. The worst is a massive flight from the euro and an economic free fall that resurrects the dark days of 2008 and 2009. …The great lesson here is that bad ideas, once embraced, become entrenched. The euro was a monstrously bad idea from which there is no easy escape.

WHO HAS THE SPINE TO FIX THE UNITED STATES’ FINANCES?
BY FRED HIATT
WASHINGTON POST

Who is more likely to fix the nation’s finances, a second-term President Obama or a first-term President Romney? …The reason to doubt Obama can be summed up simply: He’s had his chance. When the Simpson-Bowles commission presented its plan to reduce the federal debt, with bipartisan support, the president ducked. …But good luck finding evidence of spine in Romney’s political career. In moderate Massachusetts, he was a moderate. In conservative national primaries, he was a conservative. From big things (immigration) to less big (flak over his appointment of an openly gay spokesman), Romney’s default position has been to pander and cave.

CAN THIS CAMPAIGN BE CONSTRUCTIVE?
BY E.J. DIONNE, JR.
WASHINGTON POST

We need to get the economy moving faster and bring unemployment down, an all-the-more-urgent imperative after last week’s disappointing jobs report. We want all Americans to share prosperity and to reverse the trend toward widening inequality. We want a sustainable budget where, in good times, revenue more or less matches expenditures. And we want an education system that prepares members of the next generation for productive and rewarding lives. …[I]f we don’t use this campaign at least to define the problems we face, we will end up wasting the $2 billion or so this campaign will cost, and a lot of time.

SINGLE MOMS OBAMA’S X-FACTOR?
BY GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON
POLITICO

[Obama’s] team surely knows that if single mothers like the president’s show up in November, they could make up his margin for victory, even as the most recent ABC News/Washington Post polling shows Romney gaining among women. Unmarried women supported Obama by far more than 2 to 1 in 2008 and now make up fully one quarter of America’s eligible voters. n a year when women’s votes are more critical than ever, turning out this group — many of whom juggle at least one job while raising children — might matter most.

IS THIS YEAR 2004 – OR 1980?
BY FRANK DONATELLI
POLITICO

This year, the supreme irony for President Barack Obama is that his hope for reelection lies in the core of the Bush strategy in 2004. He is already following the script. It’s only May, and Obama is already on the attack against his opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — citing his wealth and background, support for the rich and tenure at Bain Capital as reasons why crucial middle-class voters should not support him. … The public usually sees presidential elections as referendums — a vote between two futures, not just two candidates. If Romney can offer a brighter future compared to Obama’s bleak present, this election is Republicans’ to lose.

Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, June 4, 2012

Updated