Must Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Updated
 
SOUTH CAROLINA DIARIST
BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES

I brought my 12-year-old son on this latest trip. My rule is that if a candidate can’t relate well to a 12-year-old, they’ll never win a general election. He approached all the candidates, and they were all wonderful except Gingrich. But that wasn’t Gingrich’s fault. My son, whose heroes include John Boehner and Tupac Shakur, picked an argument about gay marriage. Gingrich engaged, but after 10 seconds signaled security to brush my kid away. Rick Perry ran a poor campaign but seems like the guy you’d most want to have a beer with. He took the time to tell my son how important it is to study hard and prepare for whatever you do. Dad really appreciated that one. KEEP IT SIMPLE
BY JOE NOCERA
NEW YORK TIMES

What if Jamie Dimon is right? What if the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase is not just blowing smoke when he complains that the country - and, indeed, the world - has imposed so many new rules on the banking industry … that they threaten to do as much harm as good? Last summer, you’ll recall, Dimon confronted Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, at a conference and asked him: “Has anyone bothered to study the cumulative effect of these things?” Just last week, during JPMorgan’s earnings call with analysts, Dimon complained that Europe’s “regulatory policy, government policy, central bank policy - it’s not coordinated. It’s making the situation worse, not better.”

TAXES AND TRANSPARENCY
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

Mr. Romney’s insistence on secrecy is impossible to defend now that he appears to be closing in on the nomination and questions have intensified about his personal finances and record as a venture capitalist. The financial disclosure required of presidential candidates is more limited than the detailed information contained in tax returns. … Sarah Palin got it right last week when she supported calls for Mr. Romney to release recent tax returns before the South Carolina vote, along with information bearing on his record at Bain Capital, the private equity firm. Mr. Romney also can look to his own father, George. He released a dozen years of tax returns when he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 1968, leading Richard Nixon to follow suit.

REEXAMINING THE MYTH OF NO-FAULT CAPITALISM
BY EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST

We have failed to keep pace with other industrialized societies in public education, and rather than offer relevant retraining to employees displaced by innovation and globalization, we leave them to their own devices. As a result, we’re starting to lose not just basic manufacturing jobs but also high-value-added, knowledge-based jobs to countries where workers are more qualified. Government has played a huge role in guiding the nation through previous economic upheavals — after World War II with the GI Bill, for example. It can and should play such a role now. That’s my view, at least. Thanks to the Republican candidates, of all people, we’ll get to hear what President Obama and his eventual opponent think.

WHY JON HUNTSMAN FAILED
BY E.J. DIONNE
WASHINGTON POST

I think Huntsman’s biggest problem was that he never resolved the contradiction at the heart of his candidacy. He had hoped to win New Hampshire with independents who were moderate in their views and not particularly hostile to Obama. But he also knew that given how conservative the Republican Party is, he had to persuade enough Republicans that he really is a conservative. The truth is that, on economics especially, Huntsman is very conservative. He won plaudits for his economic views from the Wall Street Journal editorial page and was an early backer of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget. But he could never square the two strategies and couldn’t figure out which mattered most to him: to be a forward-looking temperamental moderate with conservative views, or to be an outright conservative. As a result, his message was mixed and his appeal was muddled.

ROMNEY’S RIVALS FIZZLE IN SOUTH CAROLINA
BY KIMBERLEY STRASSEL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Different state, same old story. And Mitt Romney is smiling. Even before the first votes of this nomination fight, the Republican presidential rivals to Mr. Romney were pointing to South Carolina. Iowa would be a scrum, they explained, and New Hampshire a foregone Romney conclusion. But South Carolina, well … watch that space. The Palmetto State would be the opportunity for one candidate to break out, unite all those South Carolina conservatives, and make this a race. Someone might want to tell South Carolina. For all the bickering among the campaigns about how real Mr. Romney’s lead is here, there is one polling fact that is undeniable: No one Romney opponent is breaking out. The non-Romney vote is as split as ever, and for that the non-Romneys have only themselves to blame.

NEWT’S OPPORTUNISM IS MITT’S OPPORTUNITY
BY DONALD LUSKIN
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Newt Gingrich’s claim about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital—that its business model was “figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company”—is an egregious lie. Yet Mr. Gingrich is not stupid. He and the other Republican primary contenders who have echoed his attack have calculated that the only way to beat President Barack Obama … is to join him. It’s unanimous, then—capitalism is immoral. At last, Mitt Romney finds himself with an issue that can define him, an issue about which the 2012 election can be a referendum. This is Mr. Romney’s moment to distinguish himself by proudly making a moral case for free-market capitalism. … The enduring case for capitalism—the moral case that Romney must make now—is that it is the only economic system consistent with liberty.

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Must Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Updated