Must Read Op-Eds for September 7, 2011

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THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT  BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

My fervent hope is that on Thursday Mr. Obama will set an example and tell the cold, hard truth — to parents and kids. I know. Honesty, we are told, is suicidal in politics. But as long as every solution that is hard is off the table, then our slow national decline will remain on the table. The public is ready for more than Michele Bachmann’s fairy-dust promise that she can restore $2 a gallon gasoline. For once, Mr. President, let’s start a debate with the truth. Tell us what you really think will be required to get us out of this stagnation, what kind of collective action and shared sacrifice will be needed and why that can lead not just to muddling through, not just to being O.K., but to restoring American greatness.

 

SEPT. 11: AMERICA 10 YEARS AFTER  BY JOE SCARBOROUGH
POLITICO

I quit Congress 10 years ago today. It was nine months into my final term and I would be savaged for this decision for years… My family knew my reason, as did my close friends and neighbors. But media types and politicians who tried to dig up every last detail of my very personal decision were left wanting more. They didn’t appreciate my bland explanation that I had resigned to “spend more time with his family.”… My career in Congress was over. I spent the next decade catching up, coaching baseball, going to Sunday lunch after church, spending Friday nights watching high school football with the kids and playing music with my sons. But most importantly, I was there to say goodnight… [My] boys flourished with the love of their mother, grandparents and dad. And they still do today. That’s why my decision was both the easiest and most difficult I have ever made. To channel Ronald Reagan’s famous debate question, I know my boys are better off today than they were 10 years ago. I just wish I could say the same for my country.

FREE TO TAKE SIDES  BY DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

Perry’s sudden surge to the top of polls has brought an unexpected gift to his rival: It has, by unburdening Romney of his head-of-the-pack status, released him from the tedious and timid campaign he was running… Romney originally hoped he could tiptoe to the nomination while his rivals carved each other up. But the failure of this terminally cautious strategy could be a blessing. Until now, Romney’s message was that he really, really wanted to be president. Now, his message is more compelling: Will Republicans choose the cool corporatism of Romney or a guy who talks about secession and treason? Romney or a self-proclaimed culture warrior who likens gay people to alcoholics?

MITT ROMNEY’S 59 ECONOMIC FLAVORS  BY EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Mitt Romney rolled out a major chunk of his economic agenda yesterday, and we’ll say this for it: His ideas are better than President Obama’s. Yet the 160 pages and 59 proposals also strike us as surprisingly timid and tactical considering our economic predicament. They’re a technocrat’s guide more than a reform manifesto… The biggest rap on Mr. Romney as a potential President is that it’s hard to discern any core beliefs beyond faith in his own managerial expertise. For all of its good points, yesterday’s policy potpourri won’t change that perception.

MITT ROMNEY’S NEW FIGHT  BY MARC THEISSEN
WASHINGTON POST

Romney advisers told me recently that he was planning to stay above the fray and leave the attacks on Perry to the other candidates. But with his precipitous slide in the polls,Romney appears to be shifting strategy… The question is: Will Romney repeat these jabs when Perry is standing next to him on the debate stage? He may not have a choice. Romney will almost certainly be asked about his stepped-up attacks on Perry. If he passes on the chance to repeat them, he risks “pulling a Pawlenty” — ducking the chance to confront his opponent in person after attacking him before other audiences. This proved to be the death blow to Pawlenty’s campaign. Romney cannot afford to repeat Pawlenty’s mistake.

THOSE ‘CAREER POLITICIANS’  BY RUTH MARCUS
WASHINGTON POST

[T]he attack on the “career politician” is as misguided as it is familiar. Your career politician is my devoted public servant… I’d argue, for example, that President Obama’s current difficulties stem less from his being a “career politician” than from the fact that his political career was so brief before he won the White House. Experience matters, even in politics… No “career politician” — that is, no one who’s managed to win reelection — is going to be dumb enough to run an ad promoting himself as such. Surely, Romney won’t be the last candidate to deploy the career politician epithet against a threatening opponent. But every time this phrase is used, it’s worth wondering why the attacker professes to so disdain the very vocation he so avidly seeks.

 

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Must Read Op-Eds for September 7, 2011

Updated