Must Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Updated
TEACHING WITH THE ENEMY
BY JOE NOCERA
NEW YORK TIMES

Charter schools offer proof of the concept that great teaching is a huge difference-maker, but charters can only absorb a tiny fraction of the nation’s 50 million public schoolchildren. Real reform has to go beyond charters — and it has to include the unions. That’s what Brill figured out. … The reform movement has long demonized Weingarten and her union — sometimes with good reason — and that is reflected in “Class Warfare.” But Brill himself is now where the reform movement needs to go, if it hopes to change how kids are taught. Randi Weingarten can’t be the enemy anymore. She could be the reformers’ best friend, if only they’d let her.

THE SERIOUS ONE
BY DAVID BROOKS
NEW YORK TIMES

Romney’s plan still has some holes in it (how fast would premium supports grow?), but it exemplifies the sort of big reformist vision that should be at the center of a serious Republican campaign. The U.S. is beset by sclerotic institutions: health care, the tax code and the education system among them. To thrive, these institutions need a burst of creative reinvention. The point, as Levin writes, is not to talk gloom and austerity but to confidently set the stage for an avalanche of innovation. Romney is running in an atmosphere in which it is extremely difficult to remain serious and substantive. Yet he is doing it. Democrats should not underestimate him. STARING INTO THE BUDGET’S ABYSS
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

Simply dismissing the committee and undoing the sequester would be such a vast admission of Congressional failure that it could push down the nation’s credit rating, lead to chaos in financial markets and severely cripple hopes for an economic recovery. Republicans created the policies that forced up the deficit and then refused to compromise with President Obama. They cannot simply walk away now. Panel members have only a few days to come up with a plan that balances new revenues with spending cuts. That is the only way to wrestle down the deficit without doing huge damage to the economy and the country.

SHAME ON PENN STATE
BY EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST

Assuming that even half of what Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly alleges is true, Sandusky is a patient and calculating pedophile who used his insider status with the glamorous Penn State football program to lure boys as young as 10. … But [the university] “never attempted to learn the identity of the child in the shower,” according to the grand jury. “No one from the university did so.” Unbelievable. According to the grand jury, the assistant, Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier all knew about the incident. Each covered his own behind. None lifted a finger to find out who the alleged victim was or what had become of him.

THE 2012 CAMPAIGN GETS SEEDIER
BY DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

When she asked him to unhand her, Bialek recalled, “Mr. Cain said, ‘you want a job, right?’ ”Now Cain is the one who wants a job, and his accuser gave the job seeker some advice. “America is in a horrible turmoil,” she said. “We need a leader who can set an example… . Mr. Cain, I implore you, make this right so that you and the country can move forward and focus on the real issues at hand.” Of course, few people, supporters or opponents, actually expect Cain to become the Republican nominee; he’s demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the skills and organization to make it to the nomination. But for now, unfortunately, the issue at hand is where Herman Cain’s hands have been.

A CREEPING RADICALISM
BY MICHAEL GERSON
WASHINGTON POST

OWS protesters smash windows, assault police officers and wear Guy Fawkes masks — a historical figure known for attempting to bomb the British Parliament… [W]hat must Democratic leaders — who rushed to identify with a protean political force — now be thinking? OWS is not a seminar on income inequality — not the Center for American Progress on a camping trip. It is a leftist movement with a militant wing. Will Americans, looking for jobs, turn in hope to the vandalization of small businesses and the promise of a general strike? Will citizens, disappointed by a dysfunctional government, be impressed by the endless arguments of anarchist collectives? Will people, disgusted by partisanship and rhetorical rock-throwing, be attracted to actual rock throwing? This seems to be the desperate political calculation of the Democratic Party. Good luck with that.

ROMNEY’S FISCAL AWAKENING
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Mr. Romney’s record in Massachusetts makes it hard for him to draw a distinction with Mr. Obama on health care, and the Republican seems to be shying away from a fight over taxes—for example, he’s adopted Mr. Obama’s $200,000 income threshold for cutting capital gains and dividend taxes. That would let Mr. Obama fight the tax debate solely on his terms of soaking the rich, rather than on reform to spur economic growth. What next year’s GOP nominee needs is a clear reform alternative to Mr. Obama’s vision of ever more government and the higher taxes necessary to pay for it. Mr. Romney still needs a bolder economic growth agenda, but his fiscal awakening is encouraging.

OBAMA’S ‘BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP’ WITH WALL STREET
BY JOE SCARBOROUGH
POLITICO

One of the most famous scenes in movie history comes from “Casablanca,” when a corrupt official shuts down Humphrey Bogart’s cafe. Bogart asks the French captain — who also happens to be a gambling aficionado — why he’s closing the joint down. His response is a classic. “I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.” Political commentators have referred to Capt. Renault’s uproarious line for years when calling out hypocritical politicians. But few political narratives ever fit that scene as tightly as President Barack Obama’s bipolar approach to Wall Street… Expect him … to continue taking millions in cash from the very people he will keep calling “fat cats.” The routine may be unseemly, but the relationship between Obama and Wall Street is too profitable for both sides to end. And as we learned in “Casablanca,” as Bogart and Renault fade into Morocco’s fog, beautiful friendships sometimes come from the most unexpected places.

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Must Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Updated