Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, March 12, 2012

Updated
 
MITT’S RICH PREDICAMENT
BY FRANK BRUNI
NEW YORK TIMES

[E]very discussion of Romney’s campaign, no matter the angle, winds up referring to riches. It’s uncanny. Wealth is the Go on the Monopoly board of Mitt: you’re either starting there, heading there or circling past it. If only you collected $200 each time. His detractors, citing his personal awkwardness and policy flip-flops, believe that money is the only reason he’s doing as well as he is, which isn’t as well as he’d hoped. His campaign’s fund-raising total of nearly $75 million by the end of February dwarfs those of his Republican rivals, and that’s not counting the coffers of the super PAC supporting him. The two treasuries combined fuel a spending juggernaut. But they also hammer home the image of him as the designated frontman of the moneyed establishment: Mammon’s missionary. At a time of populist rancor and class resentment, that’s no asset, and some of his supporters believe it’s holding him back.

MITT, GRITS AND GRIT
BY CHARLES BLOW
NEW YORK TIMES

Unfortunately for Romney, grits don’t give you grit. Dabbling in dialectic speech won’t quench people’s thirst for straight talk. Being called warm and comfortable doesn’t remove the gut feeling that you are cold and rigid. There is something missing from the core of the man, and people can see straight through him. That makes places like Mississippi a real litmus test — of Romney’s ability to convert his base by connecting with it. Mississippi is a world away from Massachusetts. It’s a ruby-red state and the heart of conservatism. Mississippi is where he has to sell himself. Bless his heart, y’all. WHAT GREECE MEANS
BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

[I]t is time to stop invoking Greece as a cautionary tale about the dangers of deficits; from an American point of view, Greece should instead be seen as a cautionary tale about the dangers of trying to reduce deficits too quickly, while the economy is still deeply depressed. (And yes, despite some better news lately, our economy is still deeply depressed.) The truth is that if you want to know who is really trying to turn America into Greece, it’s not those urging more stimulus for our still-depressed economy; it’s the people demanding that we emulate Greek-style austerity even though we don’t face Greek-style borrowing constraints, and thereby plunge ourselves into a Greek-style depression.

THE NUCLEAR ‘IMPLEMENTATION STUDY’
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

Right now, the United States is on track to spend billions of dollars over the next 20 years to modernize and replace its aging nuclear delivery systems — submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers. Reducing the arsenal will make it easier to rein in that bloated budget and shift resources to more critical needs. … A nuclear “implementation review” may sound arcane, and arms control talks may sound like a cold-war anachronism. They are not. This is President Obama’s opportunity to reshape the post-cold-war world to make it fundamentally safer. He needs to seize it.

OBAMACARE IS NOW OBAMA’S LIABILITY
BY JENNIFER RUBIN
WASHINGTON POST

Romney should make the simple argument: Get Obama out of the way — and with him Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank legislation, a chunk of discretionary spending and the planned tax hikes — and instead put in place his agenda — tax cuts, entitlement reform, reduced regulation, and domestic energy development — and the economy will take off. Obama, in other words, represents the status quo (a health-care plan we don’t like high unemployment, massive debt); Romney offers something better. Now that is a positive, conservative message that the Republican Party, and maybe even the country, can get behind.

CATHOLICISM IS NOT THE TEA PARTY AT PRAYER
BY E.J. DIONNE
WASHINGTON POST

Opposition in the church to extreme rhetoric is growing. Moderate and progressive bishops are alarmed that Catholicism’s deep commitment to social justice is being shunted aside in this single-minded and exceptionally narrow focus on the health-care exemption. … But before the bishops accuse Obama of being an enemy of the faith, they might look for a settlement that’s within reach — one that would give the church the accommodations it needs while offering women the health coverage they need. I don’t see any communist plots in this.

OBAMA’S POLITICIZED ENERGY POLICY
BY BOBBY JINDAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

[The Keystone] pipeline would produce 20,000 construction jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs, and it would provide a much-needed transportation line between oil refineries along our Gulf Coast and production facilities in Canada. Our friends to the north have been reliable and steadfast trading partners, and the president should be making this pipeline decision on policy grounds instead of cheap political appeals to his liberal base. President Obama claims to be focusing this election year on the American economy. To make that pledge true, he must make wholesale changes to his energy policy and put energy prices and energy independence ahead of zealous adherence to left-wing environmental theory.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, March 12, 2012

Updated