Here are today's must read opinion and editorial columns.
THE CENTRIST COP-OUT BY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMESMany pundits view taking a position in the middle of the political spectrum as a virtue in itself. I don’t. Wisdom doesn’t necessarily reside in the middle of the road, and I want leaders who do the right thing, not the centrist thing... [M]aking nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse.
THE GREAT DIVIDE BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTObama faces two massive problems — jobs and debt. They’re both the result of his spectacularly failed Keynesian gamble... and a staggering debt burden. Obama is desperate to share ownership of this failure. Economic dislocation from a debt-ceiling crisis nicely serves that purpose — if the Republicans play along. The perfect out: Those crazy Tea Partyers ruined the recovery. Why would any conservative collaborate with that ploy? November 2012 constitutes the new conservatism’s one chance to restructure government and change the ideological course of the country. Why risk forfeiting that outcome by offering to share ownership of Obama’s wreckage?
THE GROWN-UPS MUST TAKE OVER EDITORIALWASHINGTON POSTThe debate over raising the debt ceiling has passed the point of usefully concentrating the mind on the need for debt reduction. Now the hanging moment is nigh. It is time for the remaining grown-ups in Washington — and we trust there are some — to figure out how to help the country slip off the noose. The debt ceiling needs to be lifted. The alternative is unthinkable.
WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTConservatives are on a winning streak because they have a Big Idea that serves as an animating, motivating, unifying force. It happens to be a very bad idea, but it’s better than nothing — which, sadly, is what progressives have. The simplistic Big Idea that defines today’s Republican Party is that taxes are always too high and government spending is always wasteful... There is also an overarching philosophy about the relationship between government and the individual, and some conservatives imagine a “return” to a Jeffersonian Arcadia that never was.
JUST DO IT! BY JEANNE MCMANUSWASHINGTON POSTLeaders are supposed to manage or avoid crises, not create them. Put aside for a moment the fact that they can’t get the job done. Do they know how bad they look while they’re not getting it done? Do they watch their own reruns as they sprint from microphone to microphone, photo op to photo op? What is the point of hammering heads to get a House bill that’s got no chance in the Senate? What is the twisted logic of dooming a House bill to death in the Senate before it has even arrived? So this increasingly unmanaged chaos can play out a little longer?
THEY'VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING BY PEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNAL[Obama] left conservatives scratching their heads: They could have made a better, more moving case for the liberal ideal as translated into the modern moment, than he did. He never offered a plan. In a crisis he was merely sly. And no one likes sly, no one respects it. So he is losing a battle in which he had superior forces—the presidency, the U.S. senate. In the process he revealed that his foes have given him too much mystique. He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser.
WHY AMERICAN'S ARE SO ANGRY BY BERNIE SANDERSWALL STREET JOURNAL[T]he American people have consistently stated, in poll after poll, that they want wealthy individuals and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. They also want bedrock social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to be protected... In other words, Congress is now on a path to do exactly what the American people don't want. Americans want shared sacrifice in deficit reduction. Congress is on track to give them the exact opposite... Is it any wonder, therefore, that the American people are so angry with what's going on in Washington? I am too.