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Must Read Op-Eds for Friday, January 13, 2012

AMERICA ISN'T A CORPORATIONBY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMESBut there’s a deeper problem in the whole notion that what this nation needs is a successful

AMERICA ISN'T A CORPORATIONBY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMESBut there’s a deeper problem in the whole notion that what this nation needs is a successful businessman as president: America is not, in fact, a corporation. Making good economic policy isn’t at all like maximizing corporate profits. And businessmen do not, in general, have any special insights into what it takes to achieve economic recovery. ... America certainly needs better economic policies than it has right now — and while most of the blame for poor policies belongs to Republicans and their scorched-earth opposition to anything constructive, the president has made some important mistakes. But we’re not going to get better policies if the man sitting in the Oval Office next year sees his job as being that of engineering a leveraged buyout of America Inc.

THE C.E.O. IN POLITICSBY DAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMESToday’s candidates have to invent bogus story lines to explain their qualifications to be president — that they are innocent outsiders or business whizzes. In reality, Romney’s Bain success is largely irrelevant to the question of whether he could be a good president. The real question is whether he has picked up traits like emotional security, political judgment and an instrumental mind-set from his upbringing and the deeper experiences of life. We’ll learn more about that as he confronts brutal attacks that now besiege him.

RON PAUL'S ACHIEVEMENTBY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTI see libertarianism as an important critique of the Leviathan state, not a governing philosophy. As for [Ron] Paul himself, I find him a principled, somewhat wacky, highly engaging eccentric. ... [T]he plain fact is that Paul is nurturing his movement toward visibility and legitimacy. Paul is 76. He knows he’ll never enter the promised land. But he’s clearing the path for son Rand, his better placed (Senate vs. House), more moderate, more articulate successor. And it matters not whether you find amusement in libertarians practicing dynastic succession. What Paul has already wrought is a signal achievement, the biggest story yet of this presidential campaign.

NEWT GINGRICH'S PARTY OF ONEBY MICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTIn Gingrich’s case, this campaign has summarized an entire career. He is a man of exceptional ability — fluent, persistent and creative. No one has a better feel for the pulse of conservatism, though he is occasionally willing — on an issue such as immigration — to buck conservative orthodoxy. Yet Gingrich also pioneered the politics of personal destruction, as well as the politics of personal pique. Once again, he feels that his proper seat on Air Force One has been denied. ... The only unifying principle — the only cause that is clearly served — is the emotional impulses of the man himself. He fights not for any brand of conservatism but for Newtism, which is more important to him than any party or ideology.

SOUTH CAROLINA MAY SETTLE WITH ROMNEYBY PEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNALPeople don't embrace Mr. Romney, they circle back to him. They consider him, shop around for something better, decide the first product they looked at will last longest and give value, and buy. ... A full-throated, detailed defense of Bain that is also a defense of economic freedom and free markets might not only benefit Mr. Romney. It just might help valorize, or rather revalorize, the reputation of capitalism, which has taken a beating the past few years and not recovered. That, actually, might be a public service. The Obama campaign wanted to launch its Bain attack in the fall. Mr. Romney can face the attack now, head on, and begin not inoculating himself from the issue but exhausting it.

FEAR AND PELLEGRINO ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAILBY JOE SCARBOROUGHPOLITICO[W]ith one line, Mitt Romney challenged the cheap politics of resentment and took aim at two Republican opponents and one Democratic president. “I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success.” It wasn’t the stuff of legends, but halfway through Willard Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech on a cold January New Hampshire night I could almost hear Mary McGrory scoff, “Who knows? Maybe this stiff can win.” The “stiff” would be better off if he were facing stronger, more convincing challenges from his Republican rivals, but that was not to be. Like the party itself, he’s having to make do.