Must Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Updated
 

$5 TRILLION AND CHANGE
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

About $1.25 trillion … cuts come from the automatic across-the-board reductions that Congress and Mr. Obama agreed to last year. But wait. More than half of those cuts will come from the military budget and even Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said these reductions could be “devastating” to national security. To sum it all up, CBO’s facts plainly show that Mr. Obama has the worst fiscal record of any President in modern times. No one else is even close.

TURNING THE ‘BUFFETT RULE’ INTO LAW
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

The rate is scheduled to go up to as much as 25 percent next year, but it will eventually need to rise to the level of ordinary income. Doing so would bring in $45 billion a year more than the Buffett Rule by 2014, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. Having a separate rate not only perpetuates income inequality, it also creates vast tax avoidance schemes. It is also important that the Bush tax cuts expire for all tax brackets at the end of this year. Republicans are certain to filibuster Mr. Whitehouse’s bill in the Senate or try to ignore it in the House. But explaining a tax code that allows the wealthiest to escape their responsibility is getting much harder to do.

THE POLITICS OF DIGNITY
BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

[P]olitics is back in Russia. Watch out. Mr. Putin, will surely win the March presidential election, predicts Dmitriev, “but in a weakened way.” The Putin brand is declining, he says. “The trend is downward. This will ensure that Putin is a weak president with declining support.” Therefore, argues Dmitriev, your only hope to remain relevant is to “set up a coalition government, including the opposition, on the basis of free and fair elections and move toward a more balanced and competitive political system.” I’d listen to him this time.

WHO’S TOUGH ENOUGH?
BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES

In Florida, [Romney’s team] focused intensely on strengthening Mitt’s bendable backbone, coaching him so well on debate fisticuffs that Romney was able to instantly turn his rival back into Crybaby Newt. Mitt learned the age-old lesson: Slap the bully in the face and he runs off mewling. After the Jacksonville debate, however, Mittens offered an unattractive display of vamping, chortling and gloating about leaving “Goldilocks” Gingrich in a puddle. … But as he exits Florida, brushing Newt away and accusing Obama of adopting a strategy “of appeasement and apology,” Romney would do well to remember that real tough guys don’t brag on themselves.

SANTORUM’S CHOICE TO RUN
BY RUTH MARCUS
WASHINGTON POST

The stories about Rick Santorum — to be precise, the stories about Rick Santorum’s 3-year-old daughter — tiptoe around the issue with all deliberate delicacy: Should he be running for president with a child so ill? Is his decision to run, and his determination to stay in the race, a powerful example of Santorum’s devotion to the cause of life — or an especially vivid illustration of every politician’s overriding ambition? Or is it some combination of both?

THE MEDIA HEART NEWT GINGRICH
BY DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

We felt discomfort for you when Fox News, playing on a big screen at your Victory Party, projected Romney’s win at 8 p.m. sharp. We felt pain when we heard that your concession speech might have to be delayed because there weren’t enough supporters to fill the seats behind you. We felt anguish when we learned that some of the “supporters” on the floor were in fact onlookers from a hardware convention. But when you emerged after 9 p.m. Tuesday to give your speech, you spoke directly to “the elite media” about your intentions: “I just want to reassure them tonight: We are going to contest every place, and we are going to win, and we will be in Tampa as the nominee in August.” Thank you for that, Newt. As your most ardent fans, we in the media are greatly relieved.

MITT ROMNEY’S TROUBLE IS HIS NEAR-PERFECTION
BY KATHLEEN PARKER
WASHINGTON POST

Having a common touch is certainly helpful in politics. We greatly admire those who are equally at ease with kings and paupers. But these skills may be less important than they seem when it comes to problem-solving. Ultimately, the nerdy, disciplined numbers-cruncher who has turned around failing businesses for a living might have a greater palliative effect on the nation’s ills than someone who, by virtue of his own transgressions, feels others’ pain. It seems the question for voters is not whether they can forgive Romney his imperfections, which is most often the case in politics, but whether they can forgive him his perfections.

ROMNEY STRIKES BACK
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

The other essential narrative is built around ideas that capture the national mood and offer a path to a better future. On this, Mr. Romney has far to go. His remarks in Tampa provided the outlines of a case against Mr. Obama, but they offered little to suggest how Mr. Romney would improve life for anxious Americans. They will not follow him merely because he saved the Olympics or ran a private-equity firm. Successful U.S. candidates for the White House have understood that their mission is larger than their own ambition. It’s about a cause, about “we” not “I.” If Mr. Romney really wants to unite his party and rally a new American majority, he needs a cause bigger than his business biography.

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Must Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Updated