Must Read Op-Eds for Thursday, November 3, 2011

Updated
 

DAY OF THE ARMADILLO  BY GAIL COLLINS
NEW YORK TIMES
Does he want to feed illegal immigrants to alligators or electrocute them? Did he sexually harass women when he was chief of the National Restaurant Association? Did he ever notice that being chief of the National Restaurant Association was just a highfalutin way of saying “lobbyist?” The one thing we’ve learned for sure is that Herman Cain’s staff has no idea what Herman Cain has been up to. Really, by now they’re probably so numb, you could come up to them and say: “Is it true your candidate was once a pirate?” and they’d just promise to look into it. Sexual harassment is a serious subject. But Herman Cain isn’t. Honestly, I tried. I read his book. I watched the debate. Had many interesting conversations. But I can’t go there anymore. I do not believe that under any circumstances the Republicans are going to vote for a motivational speaker who seems to regard running for president of the United States as an expanded book tour.

THE PERRY PARADOX  BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Texas’ pro-business bias goes back about 175 years—and never died… And so Perry’s Paradox: Rick Perry is a success because he nominally presides over an American tiger state, a genuine free-market economy that doesn’t much need—or want—his tender loving care. If the job before us is unwinding an unimaginably vast, smothering national government, is Lone Star Gov. Rick Perry the man for that job? This much is obvious: Texas, not California, better be the American future. Somewhere inside of him, Rick Perry of Texas understands this distinction. He should stick to explaining what he knows. Let voters figure out if he can explain it to Washington.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA, SPOILER  BY E.J. DIONNE
WASHINGTON POST
Can Mitt Romney be dislodged as the fragile but disciplined front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination? If he can, South Carolina is the best bet for the role of spoiler. Republican primary voters here have historically ratified establishment choices, but the old establishment has been displaced by new forms of conservative political activism, the Tea Party being only the latest band of rebels… [I]n perhaps no other state do the many conflicting and frequently obstreperous strains of conservatism come together — and collide. For Romney, the skilled management consultant, this will be his toughest assignment.

 

CAIN CAMPAIGN IS AN INSULT TO MY MOTHER  BY JONATHAN CAPEHART
WASHINGTON POST
On my first day at an all-white school in North Plainfield, N.J., and then again in Hazlet, N.J. and then again before I took off for college in Northfield, Minn., my mother delivered a lecture not unfamiliar to other kids of color (and women, for that matter). You have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to not be seen as inferior, deficient and not as up to the task (whatever the task might be) as your white classmates. It ain’t right. It ain’t fair. But that’s the way it is. On a near-daily basis, Herman Cain, the front runner for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, denigrates the high level of expectation and preparation demanded by my mother and mothers everywhere… Sarah Palin was rightly eviscerated for her lack of knowledge on just about everything when she was the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee… That Cain can’t even rise above this decidedly low bar set by Palin is an insult to my mother, who demands excellence of “us,” and to every American who believes his or her nation deserves better from those who would lead it.

 

POPULISM AND THE SILENT MAJORITY  BY MATTHEW LASSITER
NEW YORK TIMES
The Democrats regained the White House only by combining Nixon’s populist outreach to the silent majority with assurances that government intervention could address economic malaise. Bill Clinton promised to listen to the “quiet, troubled voice of the forgotten middle class,” while Barack Obama said that they had “a right to be frustrated because they’ve been ignored.” Obama’s challenge in 2012 is not the ideological fervor of Tea Party conservatives, but rather the recognition by many working-class and middle-class voters that both parties favor Wall Street over Main Street. While activist groups on the right and left compete to portray big government or big business as the enemy, the silent majority is still out there in the volatile political center, up for grabs.

 

WEAK ECONOMICS, WEAK LEADERS  BY EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES
[Europe’s leaders]  also need to urgently fill in the gaps they left in last week’s euro-zone rescue plan - including how they will finance the much larger bailout fund they agree is needed without putting any more of their own money into it and how they will pay for recapitalizing banks whose potential losses grow larger week by week. Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy and others are now rushing to blame the Greeks for the summit package’s rapid unraveling. They need to take their own full share of responsibility for this crisis - and finally fix it.

 


THE HERMAN CAIN CRACK-UP  BY DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

His presidential bid was meant to be a lark, likely a gambit to increase speaking fees and book sales, perhaps to gain him a gig on cable news. At first, he was in on the joke, gaming the primary process and making up policies as he went along… It was, at its very core, a preposterous premise: That a man who, as the former head of a big Washington trade group, was at the very heart of this town’s lobbying culture, would run a campaign as the ultimate political outsider… But now, under the scrutiny that comes with being a top-tier candidate, Cain’s lark has become hard labor. The sunny candidate is now snarling and shouting, and obviously not enjoying himself in the least.

 

LET HERMAN CAIN AND HIS ACCUSERS TALK  BY EDITORIAL
WASHINGTON POST
For Mr. Cain, the news reports may come as a disappointment, but they should not come as a surprise, given the scrutiny to which presidential aspirants are subjected. An agreement that once may have been a matter of private concern is transformed into a matter of public interest when one of the parties is running for the highest elected office in the country. Voters are entitled to know the facts behind the settlement and the alleged harassment, and they can learn them only if both sides are allowed their say. Mr. Cain and the restaurant association should ensure that this is possible by freeing the women to come forward if they wish.

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Must Read Op-Eds for Thursday, November 3, 2011

Updated