Must Read Op-Eds for September 26, 2011

Updated
 

HELPING WOMEN REACH THEIR ECONOMIC POTENTIAL  BY VALERIE JARRETT & TINA TCHEN
WASHINGTON POST
We understand that these policies are no substitute for congressional action on the economy. But we also know that government can make a difference — through direct action and by working with outside organizations. A broad coalition of groups has joined the Obama administration in addressing workplace flexibility for those in STEM fields. … As the president pursues a short-term recovery and long-term prosperity, he will continue to focus on empowering America’s women and girls, and giving every American a chance to contribute fully to our economy.

 

CLASS WARFARE? IT IS UPON US  BY SALLY KOHN
WASHINGTON POST
The notion that Democrats have abandoned the working class fueled anti-union, pro-tea-party sentiment in the 2010 elections. Yet Republicans have made clear that they would rather cut Social Security and Medicare benefits than raise taxes on the rich or increase spending to help our economy. Initially, Obama conceded to the right and cut taxes. Now, he says he wants to raise them. The president must show us not only that he’s willing to fight, but that he’s willing to fight for middle-class Americans. This may be his last chance to show voters what he’s made of.

 

HELP WANTED: LEADERSHIP  BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
We know what to do — a Grand Bargain: short-term stimulus to ease us through this deleveraging process, debt restructuring in the housing market and long-term budget-cutting to put our fiscal house in order. None of this is easy and the economy will not be fixed overnight; it will take years. But there is every chance it will get healed if our two parties construct the Grand Bargain we need. But the more I read the papers the more I’m convinced that “we the people” are having an economic crisis and “you the politicians” are having an election — and there is frighteningly little overlap between the two.

We know what to do — a Grand Bargain: short-term stimulus to ease us through this deleveraging process, debt restructuring in the housing market and long-term budget-cutting to put our fiscal house in order. None of this is easy and the economy will not be fixed overnight; it will take years. But there is every chance it will get healed if our two parties construct the Grand Bargain we need. But the more I read the papers the more I’m convinced that “we the people” are having an economic crisis and “you the politicians” are having an election — and there is frighteningly little overlap between the two.

FED UP WITH THE AUTHOR OF ‘FED UP!’?  BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES
Romney, a champion flip-flopper, has painted Perry as a floppier flipper. In the high school version of the 2008 Republican primary contest, Romney was regarded by John McCain and other contenders as the loathed hall monitor, prissy and hypocritical. It’s not that he has gotten so much more popular or less plastic, although he has improved his performance. It’s just that his rivals keep getting more implausible. The only reason Perry got in the race in the first place was that Republicans yearned for an alternative to Romney. (This weekend, they were drunk-texting Chris Christie.) But for now, Perry is proving to be Romney’s best asset.

 

OBAMA’S MIDEAST RETREAT  BY DAVID IGNATIUS
WASHINGTON POST
It was painful to watch President Obama last week at the United Nations, backing away from the goal of Palestinian statehood he had championed when he took office. The best that could be said was that it was a bit of foreign-policy realism, acknowledging the political and strategic fact that the United States will never abandon Israel in the U.N. Security Council. Obama is playing defense in foreign policy these days, trying not to make costly mistakes. Like a football team protecting a slim lead, he wants to avoid fumbles that would cost him the game. The idea of daring offensive moves — the risky touchdown pass — is a distant memory from 2009. This is a team that chants to itself: “Dee-fense!”

 

RECONSIDERING ROMNEY’S CHANCES  BY JONATHAN CHAIT
NEW YORK MAGAZINE
Romney still has enormous vulnerabilities if the right opponent can exploit them. And it’s worth keeping in mind that Perry will have more success exploiting them through written speeches and paid advertisements — he’s just too slow-witted to express them in debate. Still, we may be approaching a danger zone for Perry where the Party Establishment panics about his suitability and throws itself openly behind Romney. I thought Perry had a nearly unbeatable position last month, but he’s playing it pretty badly, and Romney is playing his position extremely well.

 

NEW INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING IS A NECESSITY  BY ED RENDELL
NY DAILY NEWS
If our transportation system were on par with that of Japan or France, it would take less than an hour to get to New York City from my home in Philadelphia. A bullet train that ran at speeds of 150 to 200 mph would cut the 98-mile trip down to about 40 minutes… The U.S. cannot afford to stand by idly as our international competitors build the infrastructure projects of the future. It is time for Congress to finally pass a multi-year, comprehensive transportation bill; direct federal funding toward economically and environmentally sustainable projects; invest in true high-speed rail in economically strategic corridors; and update outdated aviation systems. Even in tough times, we can’t walk away from building for our future.

 

EURO ZONE DEATH TRIP  BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
The policies of Heinrich Brüning, Germany’s chancellor from 1930 to 1932, whose insistence on balancing budgets and preserving the gold standard made the Great Depression even worse in Germany than in the rest of Europe - setting the stage for you-know-what. Now, I don’t expect anything that bad to happen in 21st-century Europe. But there is a very wide gap between what the euro needs to survive and what European leaders are willing to do, or even talk about doing. And given that gap, it’s hard to find reasons for optimism.

 

PERRY’S BAD NIGHT  BY GAIL COLLINS
NEW YORK TIMES
It is a scientific fact. Every minute, somewhere in America, another citizen realizes that Mitt [Romney] is going to be in our face for the next 14 months. Conceivably for the next nine years. Children now in third grade might graduate from high school without ever experiencing a totally Romney-free day. This is not something I’m happy pointing out. For one thing, I don’t want to believe I live in a country that would seriously consider bestowing the nation’s highest office on a man who once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. Plus, we have barely gotten started on Rick Perry, the last great Mitt alternative. Have you noticed how huge his chest and shoulders are? Looming over his lectern at Thursday’s debate, he looked like a float. But it was impossible to watch that debate without realizing that Perry is not presidential timber, or even presidential polyurethane.

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Must Read Op-Eds for September 26, 2011

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