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Must Read Op-Eds for August 17, 2011

TEXAS' MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE  BY HAROLD MEYERSONWASHINGTON POSTWhat Perry either ignores or doesn’t know is how greatly Texas has benefited from the

TEXAS' MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE  BY HAROLD MEYERSONWASHINGTON POSTWhat Perry either ignores or doesn’t know is how greatly Texas has benefited from the investments and regulations of the federal government he despises... The cumulative effect of policies such as the federal minimum wage has been to diminish the disparity that long existed between the industrialized North and the more poverty-stricken South. Perry wants to unravel the national social contract and once again have us go state by state, with the low-wage, low-reg states dragging down the others, much as Chinese mercantilism has dragged down wages and living standards across the United States. He is the 21st-century, homegrown version of the Manchurian candidate.



FIELD OF DASHED DREAMS  BY MAUREEN DOWDNEW YORK TIMESDriving through Midwest cornfields in his opaque, black, custom-made, $1.1 million “Matrix” bus, our opaque president found himself in The Field of Dashed Dreams. If you don’t build it, they may not come... The president made his sobering case that America is still great while Gov. Rick Perry barreled past on his own bus, breaking creative new ground in volatility. As Obama did dressage, Perry galloped through Iowa like an unbroken stallion in danger of cracking a leg... While Perry was playing the retro trigger-happy cowboy, Obama was playing the retro henpecked husband.


HIS ANGER IS A START  EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESPresident Obama tried bargaining with Republicans, he tried adopting some of their ideas and he pleaded with them for reasonable policies to help stave off disaster. For his efforts, he got nothing but a cold shoulder and the country got a credit downgrade. Now, on a bus tour in the Midwest, he is bitterly pointing the finger at his opponents for their refusal to consider any new revenues to tackle the deficit and their insistence on deep near-term spending cuts that will only cause more economic pain. His anger is long overdue... [But Obama's] argument would be much easier to make if [he] came up with policies big enough to match his newfound anger — and big enough to get the economy growing again.


CRASHING THE TEA PARTY  BY DAVID CAMPBELL AND ROBERT PUTNAMNEW YORK TIMESOn everything but the size of government, Tea Party supporters are increasingly out of step with most Americans, even many Republicans. Indeed, at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, today’s Tea Party parallels the anti-Vietnam War movement which rallied behind George S. McGovern in 1972. The McGovernite activists brought energy, but also stridency, to the Democratic Party — repelling moderate voters and damaging the Democratic brand for a generation. By embracing the Tea Party, Republicans risk repeating history.


WE NEED A JOBS AGENDA  EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESCongress, left to its own devices, won’t get [a jobs plan] done. Presidential leadership, daily and unrelenting, is needed. But as Binyamin Appelbaum and Helene Cooper reported in The Times, Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether it is worth pushing any bold proposals, fearing that voters will see it as a failure if they don’t make it through Congress. That is an excuse for not trying. It also underestimates the intellegence of the American people... Mr. Obama needs to put forward a comprehensive plan and fight for it. If he loses to obstructionist Republicans, Americans will know who is to blame.


AN UGLY START  EDITORIALWASHINGTON POSTIn the days after the Jan. 8 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 18 others just outside Tucson, there was widespread revulsion at the nastiness of much political rhetoric and widespread commitment to argue about issues without questioning opponents’ motivations or character. Mr. Perry’s presidential campaign, not yet a week old, suggests he didn’t get the message. We hope he begins to make his case in a way that will reflect better on his own character.



Bob Gates left the Pentagon in early July, but the new national-security team that is taking over this summer is largely Gates’s creation — reflecting the unusual influence of a Republican defense secretary in shaping the Obama administration’s personnel... Gates was one of the most effective defense secretaries in modern times. He tried in his final months to hand over a Pentagon in his own image. But the X-factor was the quirky, irascible, deeply experienced Gates himself — and they made only one of those.



Our country has long been a beacon of light in the world because the American people always come together when times are tough. Over the past few months, in debating the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, that light of common cause has appeared to flicker at times in our nation's capital... This moment demands leadership...[And] we are ready to get to work with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to report out a balanced plan, with the shared sacrifices this moment requires. One that moves past the partisan rancor, puts our nation back on strong fiscal footing, and allows us to continue shining bright in the world in this generation and for generations to come.