Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, May 3, 2012

Updated
 

DEATH OF A SALESMAN’S DREAMS
BY LEE SIEGEL
NEW YORK TIMES

In our time of banker hustlers, real-estate hustlers and Internet hustlers, of suckers and “muppets,” it is unlikely that anyone associates happiness and dignity with working hard for a comfortable existence purchased with a modest income. Even what’s left of the middle class disdains a middle-class life. Everyone, rich, poor and in between, wants infinite pleasure and fabulous riches. … Perhaps there is a simple, unlovely reason “Death of a Salesman” has become such a beloved institution. Instead of humbling its audience through the shock of recognition, the play now confers upon the people who can afford to see it a feeling of superiority — itself a fragile illusion.

SHORT-TERM FIXES
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

Washington only wants to deal with these matters on a piecemeal basis, or when it is to one side’s political advantage. Pell grants for low-income students, for example, face an $8 billion annual shortfall beginning in 2014, when their mandatory funding runs out. Republicans continue to resist any attempt to make these programs permanent. … There is no better long-term solution to the nation’s economic troubles than increased access to higher education. It cannot be achieved with short-term extensions.

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A WAR THAT’S BIGGER THAN AFGHANISTAN
BY BILL KRISTOL
WASHINGTON POST

It would be wonderful if Obama’s view of 9/11 and its implications were correct. But if it’s not going to be true that Afghanistan is where “this time of war . . . will end” — even if Afghanistan is pacified and we’re no longer fighting there — then the American people should know that. This doesn’t mean we need to be deploying troops and fighting ground wars all around the globe. … Unfortunately, the war in which we are engaged won’t end with peace in, or withdrawal from, Afghanistan.

OBAMA’S WINNING STRATEGY ON FOREIGN POLICY
BY E.J. DIONNE
WASHINGTON POST

Public opinion is on the side of getting out [of Afghanistan] sooner. But most Americans are likely to accept the underlying rationale for Obama’s policy because it is built not on grand plans to remake a region but on the narrower and more realistic goal of preventing terror groups from regaining a foothold in the country. And that’s why Republicans finally seem to realize that driving foreign policy out of the campaign altogether is their best option. After a decade of war, Americans prefer prudence over bluster and careful claims over expansive promises. On foreign policy, Obama has kept his 2008 promise to turn history’s page. The nation is in no mood to turn it back.

CHAOTIC TO THE END
BY DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

By the time he reached his defense of the moon-colony proposal, most of the reporters in the audience had stopped writing. A sound technician covered a yawn. One man had his chin on his chest, asleep. The former candidate’s granddaughter, standing onstage, exhaled deeply and put an arm around her mother. “This is not a trivial area,” Gingrich insisted. Perhaps not. But his rambling farewell was a reminder of why his candidacy, like his speakership, was destined to fail: Gingrich occasionally has brilliant ideas and strategies, but they are difficult to find amid the clutter of his mind and oratory, and that makes him seem unpredictable and unstable.

IN DEFENSE OF CHEN GUANGCHENG
EDITORIAL
WASHINGTON POST

Having strongly encouraged Mr. Chen to accept the Chinese offer, the administration must ensure that he is treated fairly — or appear naive and feckless. …  U.S. officials … were to meet with him again on Thursday, and they may learn whether he has changed his mind about leaving the country. If he remains, the test of U.S. mettle will come in the next weeks and months. If Mr. Chen is allowed to live freely, the Obama administration can claim credit for a human rights breakthrough. If not, the United States must defend him and his family — and not allow business as usual in U.S.-Chinese relations.

MEMO TO THE YOUTH VOTE
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Why would anyone under the age of 25 vote for Barack Obama in November? … Put differently, the past three years have been a Peter Pan presidency for Peter Pan voters. If you’re going to college, it’s good to vote for Barack Obama again, so long as you’ll never have to turn 23. But for many young Americans, there will be no Tinker Bell showing them how to land a job with lovely thoughts. … [A]side from the aspiring union lifers, what’s in an Obama vote for the rest of the youth vote? … Perhaps the life raft is that provision in ObamaCare that extends health-insurance coverage to children living at home until the age of 26. If Barack Obama wins another four years, you may need it.

THE CHEN GUANGCHENG DEAL
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

While this case is unusual, it sets an important precedent in U.S.-China relations. Nobody doubts the importance of U.S.-Chinese cooperation on a range of issues, but that cooperation becomes counterproductive when it comes at the expense of the core values America embodies and the Chinese people admire. As for Beijing, it will only take its place in the world as a respected power when it also honors those values—and its own laws.

NEWT GINGRICH’S REAL LEGACY
BY JOE SCARBOROUGH
POLITICO

With Newt Gingrich’s belated exit from the Republican presidential campaign, now is a good time to ask what impact his vertiginous race will have on his legacy. My guess? Not much. … [D]espite the withering critiques of many (including myself), give Mr. Gingrich his due. History will record him as one of the most significant Republican figures of the last 50 years. For a short while in the 1990s, Newt Gingrich bent history. … For those achievements, Speaker Gingrich will long be remembered as the man who brought the Reagan Revolution to the Legislative Branch. That legacy remains secure tonight despite the ending of a very sloppy campaign.

 

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, May 3, 2012

Updated