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Must Read Op-Eds for Friday, November 11, 2011

A SPLIT DECISION  BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTContrary to the condescending conventional wisdom, the American electorate is no angry herd, prepared to


Contrary to the condescending conventional wisdom, the American electorate is no angry herd, prepared to stampede on the command of today’s most demagogic populist. Mississippi provided an exemplary case of popular sophistication — it defeated a state constitutional amendment declaring that personhood begins at fertilization. ... Remarkably, this rejection was carried out by an electorate decidedly pro-life. ... This is no disoriented, easily led citizenry. On the contrary. It is thoughtful and discriminating. For Republicans, this means there is no coasting to victory, 9 percent unemployment or not. They need substance. They need an articulate candidate with an agenda and command of the issues who is light on slogans and lighter still on baggage.

LEGENDS OF THE FAIL  BY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMES[In] the face of the current crisis, austerity has been a failure everywhere it has been tried: no country with significant debts has managed to slash its way back into the good graces of the financial markets. For example, Ireland is the good boy of Europe, having responded to its debt problems with savage austerity that has driven its unemployment rate to 14 percent. Yet the interest rate on Irish bonds is still above 8 percent — worse than Italy. The moral of the story, then, is to beware of ideologues who are trying to hijack the European crisis on behalf of their agendas. If we listen to those ideologues, all we’ll end up doing is making our own problems — which are different from Europe’s, but arguably just as severe — even worse.


PENN STATE'S RESPONSE  BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESMr. Paterno, who failed to call the police, now concedes that he did not do enough to curb what prosecutors describe as a 15-year cycle of child rape and sexual assaults, perpetrated partly on university property, by Jerry Sandusky, Mr. Paterno’s former assistant coach. ... No one connected to the university should feel anything but shame that the institutional leaders did so little to protect the children involved. The trustees seemed to acknowledge that on Wednesday. The sooner misinformed students understand the basic facts, the better.


THE GOP DEBATE, RICK PERRY WASN'T ALONE IN NOT MAKING SENSE  BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTDon’t laugh too hard at Rick Perry for his mortifying episode of brain-lock at Wednesday’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate. His opponents managed to remember their lines but didn’t do any better at making sense. ... Oh, and Herman Cain. In many ways, his gaffe was worse than Perry’s: He referred to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy.” Cain has spent the past week trying to convince the nation he’s not guilty of chronically piggish behavior toward women. Belittling the first woman to become speaker of the House with a flip, sexist insult was telling — and appalling. Once again, a GOP debate produced a clear winner. Once again, it was President Obama.


THE CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT MITT ROMNEY  BY RUTH MARCUSWASHINGTON POSTMitt Romney, blessed with a series of self-destructing opponents, still needs to come up with a better way to address his history of flip-flops. His current argument boils down to asking voters, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying ears?” This is not going to fly... Romney’s failure to rise in the polls even as his opponents flail suggests that the flip-flop issue isn’t going away. There’s no magic solution to this problem. You can’t give a speech on flip-flopping. But flip-flop denialism isn’t going to work — especially when it is so easy to go to the videotape.


A NICE GUY IN A SEASON OF NASTINESS  BY KATHLEEN PARKERWASHINGTON POSTMichael Medved, trying to figure out why Republicans don’t love Romney, pointed to his lack of anger. ... Others insist that Romney can’t earn people’s confidence because he’s too squeaky clean. Few can identify with a man who never touches coffee or alcohol, whose hair is as precise as the crease in his pants. Or, put another way, the figures in his business ledgers? He seems preternaturally unflappable, which to some is too robotic, not-quite-human. We like some fallibility in our leaders and flaws in our protagonists. Perhaps Romney would benefit from a slight imperfection or some other handicap over which he has struggled. Or might kindness and humility be handicaps in a mean, self-infatuated world?


U.S. SOLDIERS AT WAR: THE FORGOTTEN 1%  BY WILL BARDENWERPERWASHINGTON POST[S]omething is wrong with a nation in which the public is divorced from the reality of this long war, the prosecution of which has become as foreign to most Americans as the exotic financial instruments created on Wall Street. Back in 2005, not even halfway into our decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, my grandfather, a World War II veteran, sometimes used to scan the headlines of his newspaper, toss it aside in disgust, and complain loudly, “Don’t they know there’s a war on?” Sadly, the answer now is the same as it was then. Some Americans will, in fact, pause this Veterans Day to reflect on the sacrifices made by the United States’ latest generation of veterans. And that is a good thing. But, come Monday, as the opening bell ushers in a new day on Wall Street, U.S. soldiers heading out on patrol will once again be the furthest thing from many minds.


THE REPUBLICAN UNREALITY SHOW  BY PEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNALRepublicans should sober up. They should be thinking not about what the Republican at the local GOP meeting is thinking, but what the independent across the street is thinking. He's catching the Cain story on TV and thinking: "This guy may have a problem. I want more evidence, but if it's true, then man, we don't need to go there again." That independent is a pretty important guy. The GOP better start doing a better job of considering how he sees things. He doesn't live in Republo-world, but he's right across the street, and he votes. He's going to pick the next president.