Must Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Updated
 

CAIN NOT ABLE  BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it’s not the scandal that kills you; it’s the cover-up. Herman Cain has added a corollary: It’s not the cover-up that kills you; it’s the cascade of malarkey that spills out when you try to cover up the cover-up. Sure, the dalliance with the grandfather, gospel singer, motivational speaker and self-made millionaire in the black cowboy hat was fun while it lasted, just as it was with Ross Perot, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and The-Rent-Is-Too-Damn-High dude… The Herminator was just a raffish passing fancy, like Mr. Wickham, a place for Republicans to store their affections while they try to overcome their aversion to Mitt Romney’s Mr. Darcy… This isn’t an incendiary story about race. It is the most hackneyed story in Washington — another powerful man who crossed the line and then, when caught, tried to blame the women.

A LONG LIST OF SUCKERS  BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
Just as I don’t buy the notion that we need to keep playing The Great Game in Iraq, I also don’t buy it for Afghanistan. “If the U.S. steps back, it will see that it has a lot more options,” argues C. Raja Mohan, a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research, in New Delhi. “You let the contending regional forces play out against each other and then you can then tilt the balance.” He is referring to the India, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, China and Northern Alliance tribes in Afghanistan… America today needs much more cost-efficient ways to influence geopolitics in Asia than keeping troops there indefinitely. We need to better leverage the natural competitions in this region to our ends. There is more than one way to play The Great Game, and we need to learn it.

HOPE AND CHANGE FOR THE WORSE  BY REINCE PRIEBUS
POLITICO
Take the president at his word. Specifically, these words on the economy from February 2009: “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” That three-year mark is fast approaching. And the economy is nowhere near where the president promised it would be. “I will be held accountable,” he declared in 2009. Yes, Mr. President, you will — in just 12 months… As it turns out, then-Sen. Biden was right when he said the presidency is not a place for “on-the-job training.” After nearly three years, the president’s record is devoid of accomplishment, and his inexperience has dramatically compounded the effects of an economic disaster to devastating effect. So when they say “it could be worse,” they’re not entirely wrong: The president could have a second term; he could get another four years. Luckily, though, it’s a one-term proposition. Take his word for it.

 

WHY WE CAN’T ESCAPE THE EUROCRISIS  BY GERALD O’DRISCOLL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Fed maintains they cannot lose money because the ECB promises to repay the swaps in dollars. And yet, with the world awash in greenbacks, it is unclear why the Fed and the ECB even needed to engage in these transactions—except that it suggests funding problems at some EU banks. And if neither EU banks nor the ECB can secure enough needed dollars in global markets, there is a serious counterparty risk to the Fed. The ECB can print euros but not dollars. Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, was correct to raise concerns about the Fed’s policy last week. Losses on the Fed’s balance sheet hit the U.S taxpayer, not EU citizens.

 

HELPING THE WORLD’S POOR  BY BILL GATES
WASHINGTON POST
Sometimes Americans get the impression that we’re shouldering the whole burden of development and that, ultimately, our aid doesn’t make a big difference. I see it very differently. We’re providing strategic investments that link up with many other investments to systematically make a better, more prosperous and safer world. If we do it right, we can keep shrinking the number of countries where aid is needed to zero.

 

HOW TO PROP UP THE EURO  BY STEVE RATTNER
NEW YORK TIMES
The 17 euro nations could decide to abandon the common currency, allowing the weaker countries to deploy the more conventional approach of devaluation. Such a reversal would entail unimaginable complexity and bring its own form of chaos. Instead — and ideally — Europe should move forward with much greater speed toward true integration. To be sure, greater flexibility in labor markets cannot be achieved by mandates. However, nothing prevents the adoption of a single fiscal policy and a harmonized approach to competitiveness except the tortuous politics of national pride and a fear of German domination. … But if the euro members remain committed to the vision of an integrated continent spawned in the post-World War II ashes, they need to think as Europeans. Otherwise, European policy makers won’t be able to restrain the markets, any more than King Canute could hold back the sea.

 

MR. CORZINE’S BIG BET ON MF GLOBAL  BY EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES
[S]elf-regulation is clearly not the answer. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a self-regulatory agency for brokerages, recently warned MF Global to shore up its capital to cushion against its increasingly risky positions. Whatever the firm did, if anything, clearly wasn’t enough. In the end, the American people are lucky that MF Global was small enough to fail, its riskiness and recklessness absorbed by the bankruptcy process. But with the devastating damage from the crisis still hobbling the economy, relying on luck is not enough. MF Global is a warning that the system is still far too vulnerable and the work of regulatory reform far from finished.

CAMPAIGN 2012: FORGET HOPE AND CHANGE  BY RUTH MARCUS
WASHINGTON POST
Forget hope and change. President Obama’s reelection campaign is going to be based on fear and loathing: fear of what a Republican takeover would mean, and loathing of whomever the Republican nominee turns out to be. Of course the Obama campaign will attempt to present the affirmative case for his reelection, citing legislative achievements, foreign policy successes and the current flurry of executive actions. But his strategists have clearly concluded that selling the president will not be enough, and the contours of the ugly months ahead are becoming increasingly apparent… This is not going to be an uplifting campaign. It’s going to be a slugfest, and the slugging is only getting started.

 

WHY THE SUPERCOMMITTEE SHOULD DISBAND  BY KATRINA VANDEN HUEVEL
WASHINGTON POST
The Republican position that we can’t raise taxes on “job creators,” or anyone else for that matter, is simply a cover for sending the bill to the vulnerable, the elderly and working families. But the “reasonable” Democratic position doesn’t make sense either. How can there be “shared sacrifice” in cleaning up the mess when most Americans have been sacrificing all along, while the wealthiest Americans had the party and created the mess? Occupy Wall Street has captured the nation’s attention, but Congress seems oblivious. Who is prepared to make Wall Street and the wealthy pay? It isn’t just the demonstrators who will be looking for the answer.

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Must Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Updated