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Must-Read Op-Eds for August 22, 2012

The Republican Need for a Lesson on the Fairer SexKathleen ParkerWashington PostAs GOP convention planners consider platforms and pledges, they might also conte

The Republican Need for a Lesson on the Fairer SexKathleen ParkerWashington PostAs GOP convention planners consider platforms and pledges, they might also contemplate a seminar for Republican men about how the fairer sex works. Recognizing that attendance could be humiliating, they could put a brown wrapper around it (note to Akin supporters: this is a metaphor) and call it something deceptively innocuous, such as: "Golf and Skinny-Dipping, from the Sea of Galilee to the Gulf of Mexico." Once attendees are seated, Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, recently named the first women members of Augusta National Golf Club, could conduct a PowerPoint presentation of the female reproductive system. Given the likelihood of a large audience, the GOP might need a bigger tent than usual.Seeking to Cool War Fever Over IranDavid IgnatiusWashington PostThe diplomatic track has been frustrating to U.S. officials, so far. But it remains important because the military alternative is so fraught with dangers - not least for Israel and its long-term goal of preventing the Iranians from having nuclear weapons. An Israeli military strike might set the Iranian program back several years. But it would probably shatter the international coalition against Iran, galvanize support for the mullahs at home and in the region - and thus might make Iran's eventual acquisition of a bomb even more likely.

We Need a 'Conservative' PartyThomas FriedmanNew York TimesAmerica today desperately needs a serious, thoughtful, credible 21st-century "conservative" opposition to President Obama, and we don't have that, even though the voices are out there. ...We are not going to make any progress on our biggest problems without a compromise between the center-right and center-left. But, for that, we need the center-right conservatives, not the radicals, to be running the G.O.P., as well as the center-left in the Democratic Party. ... As things stand now, though, there is little hope this campaign will give the winner any basis for governing. Too bad - a presidential campaign is a terrible thing to waste.Just Think NoMaureen DowdNew York Times...for all the Republican cant about how they want to keep government out of the lives of others, the ultraconservatives are panting to meddle in the lives of others. Contrary to President Obama's refreshing assertion Monday that a bunch of male politicians shouldn't be making health care decisions for women, this troglodyte tribe of men and Bachmann-esque women craves that responsibility. ...Akin is right in saying this race should be about "who we are as a people." It should also be about who they are. They are people who want to be in your life, deep in your life, even when they say they don't.What the G.O.P. Platform RepresentsEditorialNew York TimesThe Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream. The mean-spirited and intolerant platform represents the face of Republican politics in 2012. And unless he makes changes, it is the current face of the shape-shifting Mitt Romney. ...Over all, [the platform] is farther out on the party's fringe than Mr. Romney ventured in the primaries, when he repudiated a career's worth of centrist views on issues like abortion and gay marriage. But the planks hew closely to the views of his running mate, Paul Ryan, and the powerful right-wing. Mr. Romney has a chance to move back in the direction of the center by amending this extremist platform. It will be interesting to see if he seizes it.The Comic Stylings of Joe BidenJoseph EpsteinWall Street JournalWhy would Barack Obama want Joe Biden for his vice president? The two men don't seem particularly close. They share few common interests, and have very different temperaments. Mr. Biden is not likely to bring in votes Obama could not win himself, or be a crucial factor in any of the swing states. What Mr. Biden does provide is contrast for the president. Alongside Mr. Biden, the president becomes what is known as "a contrast gainer." Next to Mr. Biden, in other words, Mr. Obama looks earnest, serious, deep, a statesman. Not just any politician could provide that service, but the Honorable Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. does so magnificently.