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Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, June 25, 2012

WHAT SHELDON ADELSON WANTSEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMES is the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political


[Sheldon Adelson] is the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political donation in history to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation’s needs. Mr. Adelson spent $20 million to prop up Newt Gingrich’s failed candidacy for the Republican nomination. Now, he has given $10 million to a Mitt Romney super PAC, and has pledged at least $10 million to Crossroads GPS, the advocacy group founded by Karl Rove that is running attack ads against Mr. Obama and other Democrats. Another $10 million will probably go to a similar group founded by the Koch brothers, and $10 million more to Republican Congressional super PACs. That’s $60 million we know of (other huge donations may be secret), and it may be only a down payment.


Critics claim that charter schools are successful only because they cherry-pick students, because they have smaller class sizes, or because motivated parents apply for charter lotteries and non-motivated parents do not. And even if charters are successful, they argue, there is no way to scale that success to reform a large district. None of that is true. Charters succeed because of their two defining characteristics—accountability and freedom. In exchange for being held accountable for student achievement results, charter schools are generally free from bureaucratic and union rules that prevent principals from hiring, firing or evaluating their own teams. ... Accountability and freedom do not guarantee that a school will provide an excellent education, but they are prerequisites.



For the first time in its history, Egypt has a freely elected president. Whether that development becomes a foundation to build on or a prelude to further destabilization in the Arab world’s most populous country will depend on whether the military and Islamists can find a modus vivendi based on democratic principles. Unfortunately neither has so far shown a sufficient willingness to do so. ... Egypt still has a chance to complete a democratic transition, but it will require more mature political behavior by all sides. Strong encouragement by the United States — particularly to the recalcitrant generals of the old order — can help.


Since Obama’s inauguration, advocates have pressured the president to trim way back on deportations, in the name of prosecutorial discretion.  ...For Obama to drop enforcement way below the levels Congress has called for through appropriations laws would be more than legally dubious. It would also set a dangerous precedent that could haunt progressives. Picture a Romney administration thwarting, say, the new consumer protection laws by refusing to spend half the money Congress continually provides for their enforcement. Such hypothetical actions, by any administration, would conjure the ghost of Richard Nixon, who belligerently impounded huge sums that Congress had appropriated simply because enforcement didn’t conform to unilateral executive policies.


Mr. Morsi takes over a post gutted of authority. For all the symbolic import of Sunday's result, formal power remains with the military, where it has rested for 60 years. A contentious decree unveiled last week lets the generals pass laws, write a new constitution and run security policy unchallenged. ... After last night's party, Egyptians wake up Monday to harsh realities. Their economy is in free fall and the allocation of power is far from settled. Some activists want to keep the protesters in the streets to force the military to give up control. Millions more want a return to stability. A new, legitimately elected president is a good democratic start, but only that.