Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Updated
 

STIRRING THE CONSTITUTIONAL POT
BY RUTH MARCUS
WASHINGTON POST

In the age of eight-figure checks to super PACs, is it time for a constitutional amendment that could end this dangerous farce? The notion of fiddling with the First Amendment should make anyone nervous — especially anyone who has spent a career benefiting from it. Then again, so should Sheldon Adelson’s $10 million check to Mitt Romney’s super PAC. A system that lets one individual pump so much money into supporting a favored candidate threatens to substitute oligarchy for democracy. … This is infuriating, yet I can’t bring myself to support a constitutional amendment. That quixotic enterprise would detract from more practical efforts to tighten rules — stricter limits on coordination between candidates and super PACs, for example — even under existing interpretations. And at bottom, the fault with the current arrangement lies not in the First Amendment but in the Supreme Court’s interpretation thereof.

ROMNEY THE CAUTIOUS
BY ROSS DOUTHAT
NEW YORK TIMES

Rubio has long been cited as one of the most exciting running mates available – someone who would add youth, charisma and diversity to a ticket lacking all three. But with youth comes inexperience and with excitement comes risk, and lately the Romney campaign seems to have decided that they can win this election without taking any substantial risks at all. …There are good reasons for Romney’s caution. If the election were held today, with national polls showing a dead heat, the tendency of undecided voters to break against the incumbent would probably translate into a narrow Republican victory. From a certain angle, then, Romney looks like the favorite in this campaign, and for a favorite caution is often the better part of valor. …There’s a big difference, though, between having a prize within reach and actually grasping it. Right now, the November odds favor Romney. But June opportunities aren’t always autumn realities, and when it comes to turning the first into the second, fortune still favors the bold.

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THE TROUBLE WITH MS. MERKEL
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

No sooner did the elections in Greece on Sunday ease fears of a disorderly Greek exit from the euro then borrowing costs spiked in Spain and Italy. … Against that backdrop, the world leaders had a chance to press Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, to provide stronger and more flexible bailout support… Ms. Merkel has long rejected such steps. But, next week, when leaders of the European Union meet for a planned summit meeting, the discussions from the G-20 could provide a foundation and political cover for her to begin to take bolder action. Then again, she could hold firm to her current stance. She has repeatedly insisted on austerity for hard-pressed countries, even when it has been a demonstrable failure. …By next week we will find out whether world leaders at the G-20 got through to Ms. Merkel.

DON’T SHUT THE GOLDEN DOOR
BY JOHN M. MCDONALD AND ROBERT J. SAMUELSON
NEW YORK TIMES

… too much of the public debate has focused on the legality of immigration without considering a more fundamental question: What effects has mass immigration had on American society? … America is neither less safe because of immigration nor is it worse off economically. In fact, in the regions where immigrants have settled in the past two decades, crime has gone down, cities have grown, poor urban neighborhoods have been rebuilt, and small towns that were once on life support are springing back. … Comprehensive immigration reform — last attempted during the second term of President George W. Bush — should be a priority for whoever wins in November. Mr. Obama’s decision to exempt undocumented children who were brought to the United States by their parents from harsh deportation rules is an overdue, but welcome, first step.

DEBASING THE PRESIDENCY
BY DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

Outside the Montana GOP convention in Missoula stood an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” and painted as though it had been shot full of holes, according to the local paper. Inside, a fake birth certificate for “Barack Hussein Obama” was stamped with an expletive referring to bovine droppings. A message in the structure gave fake phone numbers for Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi “For a Good Time.” … Neil Munro interrupted Obama midway through a Rose Garden statement on immigration Friday, demanding to know why the president was favoring “foreigners over American workers” and informing him that “you have to take questions.” Later, when Obama tried to address Munro’s topic, the journalist continued to interrupt and hector. … Heckling the president in the middle of a Rose Garden speech isn’t holding the president to account. It is belittling the presidency, and it smells just as bad as an outhouse in the Missoula summer.

TRADE WITH RUSSIA IS A WIN-WIN
BY HILLARY CLINTON
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Later this summer, Russia will join the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the culmination of a process that began nearly two decades ago. This is good news for American companies and workers, because it will improve our access to one of the world’s fastest-growing markets and support new jobs here at home. … But there is one obstacle standing in the way. American businesses won’t be able to take advantage of this new market opening unless Congress terminates the application of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and extends “permanent normal trading relations” (PNTR) to Russia. Jackson-Vanik, which restricts U.S. trade with countries that limit their people’s emigration rights, was adopted by Congress in the early 1970s to help thousands of Jews leave the Soviet Union. It long ago achieved this historic purpose. Now it’s time to set it aside. Four decades after the adoption of this amendment, a vote to extend permanent normal trading relations to Russia will be a vote to create jobs in America. Until then, Russia’s markets will open and our competitors will benefit, but U.S. companies will be disadvantaged. Extending permanent normal trading relations isn’t a gift to Russia. It is a smart, strategic investment in one of the fastest growing markets for U.S. goods and services.

 

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Updated