Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, March 15, 2012

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NOT CLOSING THE DEAL
BY ERICK ERICKSON
RED STATE

The base doesn’t like Romney, but the base doesn’t really like the other options either. At the same time, the base does not want this primary to end. The roller coaster continues. The one sure thing out of this is that, though Romney is not becoming a better candidate as the primaries continue, Rick Santorum sure is. As for Newt? He is becoming less relevant. It is time for Newt Gingrich to exit. It is time for Santorum v. Romney and let the chips fall where they may. I still think Romney is the nominee. But I think Santorum vs. Romney one on one gives Romney a run for his money he needs to become a candidate conservatives can potentially rally around.

DIVIDED ON THE RIGHT
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

And they hadn’t foreseen that a prolonged exposure to vapid, wacky or outright dangerous ideas would start to repel the swing voters needed by the party in November. The longer this field has talked about birth control, or protected the low tax rates for the rich, the better Democrats have done in the polls.  Mr. Romney will probably get enough delegates to win the nomination; at the moment, he is being helped by Mr. Gingrich, whose titanic ego prevents him from throwing his support to Mr. Santorum. But if Mr. Romney’s platform remains solely a promise to substitute his business experience for Mr. Obama, he will guarantee his party an uninspired crawl to the convention, and beyond.

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THE SENATE OVERACHIEVES
BY GAIL COLLINS
NEW YORK TIMES

 

Small business is the heartbeat of the American economy, partly because the way politicians define it, the term includes virtually everyone. … When it comes to deregulating business, all of the worst ideas in the modern history of Congress have been bipartisan to the core. People, when you see Republicans and Democrats together, holding hands and talking about unleashing the magic of the marketplace, hide your wallets. Maybe we’ve had too much legislative achievement already.

MITT ROMNEY MEETS ‘PEASANTS WITH PITCHFORKS’
BY E.J. DIONNE
WASHINGTON POST

And so it is on to Illinois, the next place Romney has to win to keep the resistance at bay. The Land of Lincoln would be a fine setting for a stand in favor of a more measured form of conservatism. But it won’t happen. Romney is anxious about the power of the Republican right in downstate Illinois — the very region that opposed Honest Abe in his celebrated Senate race 154 years ago. Once again, Romney will take the moderates for granted, ignoring the last remnants of the old Lincoln party as he chases after an elusive right. And once again, Santorum’s battle cry will challenge conservatives to have the courage to complete the revolution they started the day Barack Obama took office.

DAVID CAMERON’S SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA
BY DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

David hailed the World War II service of Barack’s grandfather. Barack tried to speak David’s English: “David, we are chuffed to bits that you are here, and I’m looking forward to a great natter.” David expressed regret for the British burning of the White House, in 1812. Barack gave one of the two questions for the American side to Reuters correspondent Alister Bull, whose accent matches Cameron’s. Some of the American reporters grumbled. “It’s the special relationship,” Bull said. “It’s a special relationship,” Obama agreed.

OBAMA’S MONEY AND THE ENHUSIASM GAP
BY KARL ROVE
WALL STREET JOURNAL

The president was quick to criticize Rush Limbaugh’s crude comments about contraception advocate Sandra Fluke. But he refused to condemn his Super PAC’s acceptance of a million-dollar donation from Bill Maher, who routinely attacks Republican women such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann in vulgar and sexually charged terms. That virtually all Republicans and many independents consider Mr. Obama a failure is obvious. But many Democrats are disappointed with him, too. The president’s difficulty in raising campaign cash is evidence of this. He is working a lot harder than he thought he would to raise a lot less than he had hoped.

THE MAGICIAN
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Specialists noted that this was the first time the U.S. has ever linked humanitarian assistance to inducing North Korean participation in talks. No matter. This should take North Korea off the table until November. It’s an amazing feat. At home and overseas, Barack Obama has just erased three years of rough spots from the hard disc of politics. It will be more remarkable still if the Republicans, amid a war-weary public, go along with the illusion. The world, alas, may not. For America’s onlooking competitors and adversaries in Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Pyongyang and Waziristan, a U.S. president’s magic act is for them a very real opportunity.

THE ROMNEY PANIC
BY RICH LOWRY
NATIONAL REVIEW

[D[id anyone expect him to do any better than somewhere around 30 percent in Alabama and Mississippi? The states are chock-full of the kind of voters he just isn’t going to reach in these primaries, and the only way he was going to win was if he got lucky and the anti-Romney vote broke exactly the right way.  I’ve been underwhelmed by Romney victories and in this case, I’m underwhelmed by Romney defeats. None of this is to say he shouldn’t sharpen his message. By the way, the contests should conclusively prove that Santorum is a better anti-Romney than Newt, but that’s something we’ve been saying around these parts for a long time.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, March 15, 2012

Updated