Désamour and Amour
BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES
Basking in the regard of “the love of my life,” as he calls her, he slimmed down, donned less nerdy glasses, and manned up for the big debate. When Ségolène beat him out to be the Socialist candidate, Hollande became known as “Mr. Royal.” But Valérie bolsters him, feeding him throat lozenges and making sure he’s wearing enough layers. As the Cinderella civil servant celebrated in the medieval city of Tulle Sunday night, he wooed Valérie out on stage, gave her a bouquet of red roses, and twirled her to the song she had requested: an accordion rendering of “La Vie en Rose.” The delirious crowd yelled “Un bisou!” A kiss! First the désamour, then the amour. C’est la vie.
CAMPAIGNING BEYOND INSPIRATION
NEW YORK TIMES
The president can let loose a great speech, but without follow-through Congress can be counted on to muck up the details, as he should have learned from the fight over the health care reform law of 2010. He never made the sale with the public on the law, and the two or three sentences he devoted to it in his [Saturday] speech were insufficient. … If he is going to counter the Republican plans to end Medicare’s guarantee to older Americans, he will have to do better than a quick promise to reduce wasteful spending. Voters already know that Mr. Obama can lift their hopes with a powerful speech. This time around, they will be seeking far more than inspiration.
BY RUTH MARCUS
The longer Obama waits, the worse he looks. The president’s first stall tactic, that he is “evolving” on the issue, doesn’t cut it anymore. Even Darwin would have lost patience by now. His second approach, the not-gonna-make-news-for-you-today cop-out, has also worn thin. If you wonder whether the president actually opposes same-sex marriage, doesn’t evolution imply change? And if you think perhaps he’s still conflicted — well, that’s hardly an advertisement to be leader of the free world. At this point, Obama’s reticence is looking cowardly.
MITT ROMNEY WON’T STAND UP TO HIS OWN PARTY
BY DANA MILBANK
Romney does push back against audience members when he wishes to. When a woman challenged him from the left at a campaign event last August, he cut her off, saying, “You had your turn, madam! Let me have mine.” But when it comes to intolerance on his side, he is not so brave. … Now Romney has another chance at a Sister Souljah moment. This weekend, he’s giving the commencement address at Liberty University, the Christian school founded by Jerry Falwell. Think he’ll use that forum to tell conservatives to stop questioning Obama’s religion and patriotism? Don’t count on it.
LIBYAN MISSILES ON THE LOOSE
BY DAVID IGNATIUS
[Senior U.S. officials] agreed the Libyan missiles are a serious problem. “It’s probably true that a small number of Libyan MANPADS have been sold on the black market, and that al-Qaeda in the Maghreb is trying to acquire them,” said a senior U.S. official. The White House commissioned an interagency task force last fall to hunt for the Libyan missiles. “This is going to be a long-term risk mitigation effort, to buy down the risk,” the senior official explained. That sounds sensible enough, but I wonder why nobody was listening when the former CIA officers began ringing the alarm bell.
AMERICA AND THE VALUE OF ‘EARNED SUCCESS’
BY ARTHUR BROOKS
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The Tax Foundation reports that almost 70% of Americans take more out of the tax system than they pay into it. Meanwhile, politicians foment social division on the basis of income inequality, instead of attempting to improve mobility and opportunity through education reform, pro-growth policies, and an entrepreneur-friendly economy. These trends do not mean we are doomed to repeat Spain’s unhappy fate. But our system of earned success will not defend itself. … The stakes in the current policy battles today are not just economic. They are moral.