Here are today's must read opinion and editorial columns.
IT'S STILL OBAMA'S PARTY BY HAROLD MEYERSONWASHINGTON POST
The Democratic threat to Obama won’t come in the primaries. It will come in the general election, when millions of voters who surged for Obama in 2008 — disproportionately young and minority — may stay home in silent referendum on Obama’s failure to fix a dysfunctional economy. Obama needs to figure out what to say and do to rekindle their (and everyone else’s) hope.
YES, LET'S CUT DEFENSE BY FAREED ZAKARIAWASHINGTON POST
The scary aspect of the debt deal meant to force all of Washington to its senses is the threatened cut to defense spending. If the congressional “super-committee” cannot agree on cutbacks of $1.5 trillion, the guillotine will fall and half of those cuts will have to come from expenditures on national security... If so, let the guillotine fall. It would be a much-needed adjustment to an out-of-control military-industrial complex... Defense budget cuts would also force a healthy rebalancing of American foreign policy... As former defense secretary Robert Gates pointed out, there are more members of military marching bands than make up the entire U.S. foreign service.
ARE SANCTIONS HELPING BUILD IRAN'S BOMB? BY RAY TAKEYHWASHINGTON POST
Exact estimates vary, but in the next few years Iran will be in position to detonate a nuclear device. An aggressive theocracy armed with the bomb will cast a dangerous shadow over the region’s political transition, but the consequences will not be limited to the Middle East. An Iranian bomb is likely to unleash the most divisive partisan discord in this country since the 1949 debate about who lost China. In the end, neither the turbulent order of the Middle East nor the partisan politics of Washington can afford an Islamic Republic armed with nuclear weapons.
OBAMA'S DEAL WITH THE DEBT DEVIL BY DANIEL HENNINGERWALL STREET JOURNAL
With the "Satan sandwich" debt deal signed, and his political base raging at him and at the injustice of it all, Barack Obama must have spent a few minutes alone this week in that famous Oval Office chair, wondering what to make of his three years in the presidency—and the one year he knows for sure he has left... Had the 2008 primaries turned out differently, we'd be looking at a fourth Clinton term. Instead we're looking at the possibility of historic, long-term reform, which began this week.
THE DEBT-CEILING DEBATE AND 2012 BY KARL ROVEWALL STREET JOURNAL
The cuts agreed to in the debt-ceiling debate are a down payment, but they are just a down payment. And they were the easier ones. Much more must be done by fundamentally reforming entitlements, especially Medicare and Medicaid. But there is no reason to believe Mr. Obama will expend an ounce of energy on systemic entitlement reforms. It cuts against his ideological grain... And so the GOP must take its case to the people in 2012 in the hope of earning a mandate. The prospects for this are much better than they were before the debt-ceiling debate—a clash from which Mr. Obama and his party might not fully recover before the election.
MAKE THE DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR RULE PERMANENT BY ROB PORTMANWALL STREET JOURNAL
Congress and the president have finally agreed to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt limit, along with spending cuts of an equal or greater amount. There are many points of view about the final agreement, but here's a positive aspect of the underlying principle: If we pledge to hold all future debt-limit increases to the same "dollar-for-dollar" standard, we can balance the budget within a decade... [B]y committing to the "dollar-for-dollar" rule that keeps spending cuts in balance with any debt-ceiling increases we could actually begin paying down the national debt, to strengthen our economic outlook and to save future generations from inheriting this unconscionable burden.
OBAMA'S CLARITY GAP BY DOYLE MCMANUSTHE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Obama's negotiating victories in the final deal weren't on matters of substance, like tax revenue. They were on matters of process: on making sure another debt-ceiling vote doesn't happen until 2013 and making sure the mechanism for choosing further spending cuts isn't tilted in the Republicans' favor. Try selling those to voters as a victory for the beleaguered middle class... Republicans have given answers that many voters find extreme, but at least they're clear. If Obama hopes to keep his job, he will need to match their clarity.
MUBARAK: AVOIDING 'VICTOR'S JUSTICE' IN EGYPT EDITORIALTHE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Some Egyptians fear that the court, out of habitual deference to the former leader, will favor Mubarak in its rulings. That would be objectionable, but so would be actions designed to curry favor with anti-Mubarak Egyptians. A central principle of the state envisioned by many of those who rose up against Mubarak is due process of law. That should apply even in the case of a hated dictator. The only acceptable show trial is one that shows Egypt's legal system to be immune to politics.