Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Updated
 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE CANDIDATES GONE?
DANA MILBANK
WASHINGTON POST

This is profoundly depressing … Americans Elect had taken care of just about everything a third-party candidate would need. It spent about $35 million on marketing, technology and ballot access. As of Tuesday it had won a place on the November ballot in 28 states (and it still expects to be on the ballot in all 50). It had attracted 3.5 million people to its Web site. But what it couldn’t — or hasn’t yet been able to — do is persuade a plausible candidate to submit himself or herself to the ravages of a presidential run. … But, really, the group already delivered on what it set out to do. The lack of takers suggests the political system is farther gone than the reformers realized.

DANCING WITH DERIVATIVES
MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES

New York City’s chief audit officer is urging Dimon to “claw back” salary and bonuses paid to the top executives who dragged the bank into the excessive risk. That would be a first for Wall Street. Dimon says he is “likely” to do it, but is loath to “act like a judge and jury” with Ina Drew, the head of the investment office who resigned on Monday, given that she lost $2 billion on that deal while she was making $9 billion on others. He knows he has to claw his way back to high regard.

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OBAMA’S POPULARITY CONTEST
KATHLEEN PARKER
WASHINGTON POST

 

[W]hat’s clear for now is that Obama is hoping he can hold on to the affections of a coalition of admirers who will overlook his flaws simply because they like him. The larger truth of Romney’s adult life, including far more business successes than failures — not to mention a résumé of service to others — could tilt the likability meter in time, though one hopes for deeper soul-searching. Likability, like popularity contests, is so high school.

THE BIG DANGER WITH BIG BANKS
TOM FROST
WALL STREET JOURNAL

There are actually two business cultures in the banking business. The first focuses on establishing long-term customer relationships, building the communities in which the bank does business, and preserving depositors’ liquid assets. … The second culture allows, and even encourages, risk taking that threatens the first culture if the two are bound within one institution. … Financial institutions should be free to engage in services that insured-deposit banks can’t. But they shouldn’t expect taxpayers to bail them out when their risky activities fail. … The combination of both banking cultures in a single institution—which had been separated for decades by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 until the 1990s—brought us to the doorstep of global financial-system collapse a few years ago.

THE ZUCKERBERG CHALLENGE
HOLMAN JENKINS
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Here’s the point immediately relevant to the company’s IPO. You aren’t a CEO, in the modern sense, until you’re CEO of a public company. Mr. Zuckerberg is about to become CEO of a public company. He would prefer not to be … as his downplaying of profits and his desire not to share power with public shareholders readily attest. Yet he will not be able to ignore the share price. His reputation, the morale of his staff, the confidence and trust of Facebook’s users will depend partly on how the stock is doing. … Ask Jamie Dimon: A Facebook that’s not perceived as strong and well managed and paying off for investors will have a harder time fighting off the privacy regulation that potentially could wreck its business.

WHY PRESIDENT OBAMA HASN’T ‘LOST’ THE SOUTH
JON MEACHAM
TIME

The fact that Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri remain statistical toss-ups suggests that the more diverse and moderate parts of the South should now be thought of as genuine swing states. … Such a shift in thinking would have implications beyond electoral math and maps. … It would mean that neither party could safely write off whole regions. Republicans and Democrats would, instead, be forced to compete in places where they might be compelled to seek votes by appearing open to compromise and to hearing the other side’s point of view — something we see little of at the moment. It would be wonderfully ironic if the South, so long a source of national division and discord, could help 21st century America toward a richer political conversation.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Updated