THE VIGOROUS VIRTUES BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES
Some problems are exacerbated by government regulations and could be eased if government pulled back. But most of them have nothing to do with government and are related to globalization, an aging society, cultural trends and the nature of technological change. Republicans have done almost nothing to grapple with and address these deeper structural problems. Tackling them means shifting America’s economic model — tilting the playing field … away from entitlement spending and more toward investment … mitigating those forces that concentrate wealth and nurturing instead a broad-based opportunity society.
ERIC AND IRENE BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
There are plenty of bad things to be said about the Democrats, who have their fair share of cynics and careerists. There may even be Democrats in Congress who would be as willing as Mr. Cantor to advance their goals through sabotage and blackmail (although I can’t think of any). But, if they exist, they aren’t in important leadership positions. Mr. Cantor is. And that should worry anyone who cares about our nation’s future.
BAD MEMORIES BY EUGENE ROBINSON
The Bush administration took Reagan’s tax-cutting, government-starving philosophy much too far. Today’s Republican Party takes it well beyond, into a rigid absolutism that would be comical if it were not so consequential… Perhaps they’re just cynically trying to keep the economy in the doldrums through next year to hurt Obama’s chances of reelection. I worry that their fanaticism is sincere — that one of our major parties has gone completely off the rails. If so, things will get worse before they get better. Having Bush and Cheney reappear is a reminder to step back and look at what Obama is up against. You might want to cut him a little slack.
PERRY AND ROMNEY’S FIRST FACE-OFF BY PEGGY NOONAN
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Every one of the Republicans candidates believes American government has grown too big, too ponderous and inhibiting. They see it as an impediment to growth. They want to cut it back. … Mr. Obama’s plan is, what? It’s still, after all this time, unclear. … He would appear to be thinking, not only calculating. He would seem aware of the big picture, of this moment in history. It might lift him beyond the platitudes and out of the smallness. And who knows, it just might spark the debate we often say we are having, but so far are not, about the size, role, purpose and responsibilities of government.
PETRAEUS’ CIA CHALLENGE BY DAVID IGNATIUS
When David Petraeus takes over as CIA director next week, he will confront a tricky problem: CIA analysts who will be working for him concluded in a recent assessment that the war in Afghanistan is heading toward a “stalemate” — a view with which Petraeus disagrees… As with so many aspects of Afghanistan, there are echoes here of Vietnam — where CIA analysts were early and emphatic in their warnings that U.S. strategy wouldn’t succeed, but were countered by generals who insisted the United States could prevail with sufficient military power. In a technical sense, Petraeus crossed the threshold between military and intelligence roles when he took off the uniform this week, but the real transition is ahead.
THE BEST SHOW IN TOWN BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
In that fleeting interval between natural disaster (earthquake, hurricane) and the president’s 57th (or so) major national address next Thursday, I can finally devote a summer column to the finest efflorescence of that season this city has to offer: the Washington Nationals. They are a baseball team. Not yet very good, mind you, but it matters not…[b]ut I remind you that FDR wanted baseball to continue during World War II. I make no claim that elegance and grace on any field will ward off the apocalypse. But if it comes in summer, I’ll be waiting for it at Nats Park, Section 128.