Must-Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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THE RIGHT’S RIGHTEOUS FRAUDS
BY FRANK BRUNI
NEW YORK TIMES

[Bristol Palin] so perfectly distills the double standards and audacity of so many of our country’s self-appointed moralists and supposed traditionalists: hypocrites whose own histories, along with any sense of shame, tumble out the window as soon as there’s a microphone to be seized or check to be cashed. She proves that they’re not going away anytime soon — a new generation rises! — and that they haven’t been daunted by the ridicule justly heaped on Newt Gingrich during the Republican primaries, when he dared to cast himself as a religious conservative.

THE ESPN MAN
BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES

In 2008, Obama had that transcendent, messianic tone. This year, he has adopted a Clinton 1996 type of campaign — strong partisan attacks combined with an emphasis on small and medium-sized policies — like the Buffett Rule and student loans — intended to display his common man values. As a result, Obama has come off aggressive, but also, (unlike Romney) classless and in touch with middle-income groups. I’d say that Obama is a slight underdog this year: the scuffling economy will grind away at voters. But his leadership style is keeping him afloat.

Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, May 14, 2012

OBAMA, THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT
DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

[Obama’s] reelection campaign has been working for months to exploit the considerable gender gap, which puts him far ahead of likely GOP rival Mitt Romney among women. But Monday’s activities veered into pandering, as Obama brazenly flaunted his feminine mystique. … Obama made a fair and at times inspirational argument, but the tone seemed more suited to campaign than campus, particularly when he, toward the end, lifted lines from his stump speech. … [Then] the president departed — he had to get to Barbara, Whoopi, Joy, Elisabeth and Sherri — but not before sharing hugs and kisses with the other women onstage.

ROMNEY IS NO ECONOMIC SAVIOR
EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST

Romney’s entire economic plan, basically, involves tax cuts and deregulation — in other words, a repeat of the Bush-era policies that led to the crisis. … They’d like to keep things blurry, so that we only see Romney in broad outline: a successful businessman who’ll put us back in business. For details, we’ll mail you the prospectus. I can’t help but think of the “prosperity theology” movement, or scam, in which preachers persuade congregants that God’s will is for Christians to be rich. It’s not believable unless the preacher looks and acts the part. Maybe he lives in a mansion. Maybe his wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs.” Actually, it’s not believable even then.

LOSING MONEY ISN’T A CRIME
JONATHAN MACEY
WALL STREET JOURNAL

[F]ar from serving as a pretext to justify still more regulation of providers of capital, J.P. Morgan’s losses should be treated as further proof that markets work. J.P. Morgan and its competitors will learn from this experience and do a better job of hedging the next time. They will learn because they have to: In the long run their survival depends on it. … The second lesson from J.P. Morgan’s failed hedging effort is that politicians and regulators are opportunists who will use any pretext to increase their power and influence. Rahm Emanuel, the former chief of staff to President Obama, once famously said that one should never let a crisis to go to waste. It appears that the current regulatory class is of the view that even crises that are not serious must be exploited.

JERRY BROWN VS. CHRIS CHRISTIE
WILLIAM MCGURN
WALL STREET JOURNAL

When the Obama administration’s Transportation Department called on California to cough up billions for a high-speed bullet train or lose federal dollars, Mr. Brown went along. In sharp contrast, when the feds delivered a similar ultimatum to Mr. Christie over a proposed commuter rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey, he nixed the project, saying his state just couldn’t afford it. … [L]eaders in some struggling states …  know the road to fiscal hell is paved with progressive intentions. The question regarding the sensible ones is whether they have the will and wherewithal to impose the reforms they know their states need. Mr. Brown’s remarks Monday suggest the answer to this question is no.

CHRIS CHRISTIE DEFIES GRAVITY
JOE SCARBOROUGH
POLITICO

As noted by Chris Cillizza’s “The Fix”, Christie’s 56 percent approval rating in a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll tops President Obama’s standing in that state as well as the approval ratings of New Jersey’s two Democratic U.S. senators. … How terrifying it must be to Democratic activists in the Garden State that Republican Chris Christie is one of the most popular politicians in the recent history of their very blue state. … There are many lessons for Republicans to take away from Christie’s success. … Sometimes he comes across as a bully. Sometimes he talks when he should be quiet. Sometimes he might even embarrass himself. But know this: Chris Christie is always himself. And for New Jersey voters, that’s good enough.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Updated