Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Updated
 

U.S. AUTOS BAILOUT WAS CRONY CAPITALISM ON A GRAND SCALE
BY MITT ROMNEY
DETROIT NEWS

Instead of doing the right thing and standing up to union bosses, Obama rewarded them. A labor union that had contributed millions to Democrats and his election campaign was granted an ownership share of Chrysler and a major stake in GM, two flagships of the industry. The U.S. Department of Treasury — American taxpayers — was asked to become a majority stockholder of GM. And a politically connected and ethically challenged Obama-campaign contributor, the financier Steven Rattner, was asked to preside over all this as auto czar. This was crony capitalism on a grand scale. The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

The still-fractious Syrian opposition has to find a way to unify itself and also reach out to the Alawites, as well as Syria’s Christian and Sunni merchants, and guarantee that their interests will be secure in a new Syria so they give up on Assad. Without that, nothing good will come of any of this. The more the Syrian opposition demonstrates to itself, to all Syrians and to the world that it is about creating a pluralistic Syria — where everyone is treated as an equal citizen — the weaker Assad will be and the more likely that a post-Assad Syria will have chance at stability and decency. The more the Syrian opposition remains fractured, the stronger Assad will be, the more some Syrians will cling to him out of fear of chaos and the more he will get away with Hama Rules.

THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC
BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES

 

As though Bill Donohue didn’t have enough to be cranky about. The perpetually apoplectic Catholic League president is on the rampage about President Obama trying to make sure women working at Catholic institutions get insurance coverage for birth control. What’s wrong with the rhythm method anyway? That’s how I got here. Donohue took time out from hyperventilating against the president to hyperventilate against the rapper Nicki Minaj. … The only good thing about it, as Marc Hogan wrote in Spin, was the chance that her devilish song might make “Bill Donohue’s head spin while spewing green vomit.”

OBAMA’S DIVE INTO THE SUPER PAC DEEP END
BY RUTH MARCUS
WASHINGTON POST

The Obama campaign, defending its decision to embrace the super PAC supporting the president’s reelection, contends that it would be foolish to unilaterally disarm. Fair point. But the Obama campaign’s move goes beyond unilateral disarmament. It amounts to dangerous proliferation in the nuclear arms race of campaign spending. … In 2008, when candidate Obama announced he would forgo public funding for the general election campaign, he declared himself “firmly committed to reforming the system as president.” You may have noticed a certain lack of presidential attention to that commitment. Time after time, Obama has demonstrated himself willing to do whatever it takes to win. That’s praise, not criticism. The president needed to play the super PAC game in 2012. I just wish he hadn’t decided to go all in.

DRUMMING UP A PHONY WAR ON RELIGION
BY EUGENE ROBINSON
WASHINGTON POST

It never occurred to me to evaluate the Grammy Awards show on theological rectitude, but apparently we’re supposed to be outraged at the over-the-top “exorcism” Minaj performed Sunday night. The hip-hop diva, who writhed and cavorted amid a riot of religious iconography, is accused of anti-Catholic bigotry — and seen as an enemy combatant in an escalating “war on religion” being waged by “secular elites,” which seems to be used as a synonym for Democrats. Seriously? Are we really going to pretend that Christianity is somehow under siege?

PAYROLL PROGRESS
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

The political class seems to have decided by acclamation that the GOP is “caving” or “backing down” on the payroll tax holiday, so permit a polite dissent. The new plan looks like the first rumblings in months of a realistic political strategy. … Obviously it would be better to reduce spending overall—or simply to let the payroll holiday expire altogether. Temporary tax breaks don’t change the permanent incentives for individuals or employers, which is why the holiday has done little to lift the economy. About the best that can be said is that some 160 million people will spend the money better than Mr. Obama would.

WASHINGTON’S KNACK FOR PICKING LOSERS
BY MICHAEL BOSKIN
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Like the mythical monster Hydra—who grew two heads every time Hercules cut one off—President Obama, in both his State of the Union address and his new budget, has defiantly doubled down on his brand of industrial policy, the usually ill-advised attempt by governments to promote particular industries, companies and technologies at the expense of broad, evenhanded competition. Despite his record of picking losers—witness the failed “clean energy” projects Solyndra, Ener1 and Beacon Power—Mr. Obama appears determined to continue pushing his brew of federal spending, regulations, mandates, special waivers, loan guarantees, subsidies and tax breaks for companies he deems worthy.

BALL FOUR
EDITORIAL
NATIONAL REVIEW

President Obama’s fourth budget promises a fourth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits, a fourth straight year of masking new spending with lame gimmickry, and a fourth straight year of asking Congress to yoke the American people with a historically massive tax hike. It is a budget with all the courage and resolve of an intentional walk, and just in time for spring training. … [T]he man who promised to cut annual deficits in half has fallen wildly short of that mark. The man who promised difficult decisions has made none; the man who promised to stand foursquare against challenges long neglected has instead carried that neglect into the last year of his term — and, with any justice, the last year of his presidency.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Updated