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Must-Read Op-Eds: Monday, June 24


THE GREAT DISCONNECTROSS DOUTHATNEW YORK TIMES[The disconnect between the White House's priorities and those of the people] is the most serious threat to the current liberal ascendance. President Obama has a good chance to be remembered as "the liberal Reagan," but the Reagan recovery was far better for most Americans than this one has been...But so far, Republicans have mostly used liberalism's relative weakness as an excuse for not moving much at all, and sticking with an agenda that's even more disconnected from the anxieties of the average voter than the White House's second-term priorities...Their obligation should be to address both parties' most conspicuous failure, and actually meet the voters where they are.

AMERICA CAN TAKE A BREATHER. AND IT SHOULDRICHARD N. HAASSNEW YORK TIMESFor the three and a half centuries of the modern international era, great powers have almost always confronted rivals determined to defeat them and replace the global order they worked to bring about. In the last century, this process unfolded three times. ... Today, there are threats, but they tend to be regional, years away or limited in scale. None rises to the level of being global, immediate and existential. The United States faces no great-power rival. And this is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. The biggest strategic question facing America is how to extend this respite rather than squander it. This will require restraining foreign involvement and restoring domestic strength. We can no longer seek to remake countries in the Middle East and South Asia... has been said that a crisis is too valuable a thing to waste. So is a respite.

CHECKPOINT CARLOS EDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNAL[One of the only virtues] of Corker-Hoeven is that it is transparently an exercise in political expediency. Republicans believe they need this excess in order to justify their votes for immigration reform to the rank and file, and maybe they do, alas. But this also underscores that immigration reform is getting worse as it goes along. Instead of recognizing the realities of an integrating North American labor market and the U.S. economy's needs in a competitive world, this is becoming an exercise in government overregulation, Big Labor allocation of visas, business harassment and now the militarization of 1,969 miles in the middle of nowhere. The shame is double because some of the worst elements are being added by Republicans who claim to believe in spending restraint and economic freedom.

INCHING INTO SYRIA BILL KELLERNEW YORK TIMESWhat we know is that without our involvement several things are likely: The slaughter will continue. The menacing alliance of Iran, Hezbollah and Syria, stoked by Russia, will be empowered and emboldened. America's influence on issues like Iran's nuclear program will be seriously diminished. Jordan and Lebanon and Iraq will be destabilized. Bloodied Syria will be more than ever a breeding ground of terror. ... The dangers of intervention, even a carefully calibrated intervention, are real. But keeping our distance doesn't avoid them. It just postpones them and raises the price.

BOEHNER'S HOUSE IMPLODES OVER FLAWED FARM BILL E.J. DIONNE JR.WASHINGTON POSTThe roof fell in on John Boehner's House of Representatives last week. The Republican leadership's humiliating defeat on a deeply flawed and inhumane farm bill was as clear a lesson as we'll get about the real causes of dysfunction in the nation's capital...Boehner is unwilling to put together broad bipartisan coalitions to pass middle-ground legislation except when he is pressed to the wall. Yet he and his lieutenants tried to blame last Thursday's farm legislation fiasco - the product of a massive repudiation by GOP conservatives of their high command - on the Democrats' failure to hand over enough votes.

DON'T COUNT ON CALORIE COUNTSFRANK BRUNINEW YORK TIMESCheryl Healton, the dean of global public health at New York University... noted that the principal reasons for the remarkable decrease in smoking in New York City... weren't ominous commercials and warning labels. They were taxes and the bans on indoor smoking. People kicked the habit when it became onerous, in cost and convenience, not to... We should certainly continue to give posted calorie counts a whirl. Even a tiny impact is better than none. But we also need a more forceful kick in our amply cushioned rears. We're not as plump as we are because we've never had our eyes opened to the wages of a Whopper. We're this way because it's all too easy, in a pang of hunger and collapse of resolve, to turn a blind eye to the toll.