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Must-Read Op-Eds for Oct. 9, 2012

BUYING THE ELECTION?JOE NOCERANEW YORK TIMESThis election season, Mitt Romney and President Obama could end up spending more than $1 billion each.

BUYING THE ELECTION?JOE NOCERANEW YORK TIMESThis election season, Mitt Romney and President Obama could end up spending more than $1 billion each. They seem to spend more time fund-raising than pressing the flesh with voters. ...And that doesn’t even account for what’s truly different about this election: the rise of the “super PACs” and 501(c)4s, which are essentially a form of campaign money-laundering, allowing wealthy people to contribute millions toward supposedly “independent” spending on campaign advertising, polling and other expensive campaign goodies. Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul, whose main political interest appears to be Israel, has pumped $10 million into Restore Our Future, the biggest Republican super PAC. Although individual contributions to a particular candidate remains severely restricted — no more than $5,000 — the amount someone can pour into a super PAC is limitless. The means by which the country finances its campaigns is utterly broken. IN SEARCH OF ANSWERS FROM MR. ROMNEYEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMES[Romney] seems to consider himself, ludicrously, a leader similar to the likes of Harry Truman and George Marshall, and, at one point, he obliquely questioned Mr. Obama’s patriotism. The hope seems to be that big propaganda, said loudly and often, will drown out Mr. Obama’s respectable record in world affairs, make Americans believe Mr. Romney would be the better leader and cover up the fact that there is mostly just hot air behind his pronouncements. ... One new element is Mr. Romney’s assertion that the threats have “grown worse.” He desperately wants to undercut the edge that voters have given Mr. Obama on foreign policy, even before he ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden. But he offers no real evidence to back up that particular claim, and if it were true that the threats have been so much worse for so long, it’s odd that Mr. Romney hasn’t really talked about them before.

Must-Read Op-Eds for Oct. 8, 2012

WASH, RINSE, REVISEDANA MILBANKWASHINGTON POSTRomney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom famously predicted that the candidate would use an Etch-a-Sketch approach in the general election to erase his previous positions. But nobody predicted that the entire exercise would occur in the space of one week — and just a month before the election. Stranger yet, Romney hasn’t been shifting all his views to the center in recent days. While his domestic policies are moderating, his foreign policy is moving to more of a neocon hard line. The only consistency is inconsistency: Whatever Romney’s positions were, they are no longer.ROMNEY'S BACK-SEAT DRIVINGEDITORIALWASHINGTON POSTAfter repeatedly fumbling on foreign policy during his campaign, Mitt Romney delivered Monday a coherent and forceful critique of President Obama’s handling of the upheavals in the Middle East. Arguing that a fateful struggle is playing out across the region, he said the United States is “missing an historic opportunity” because of Mr. Obama’s failure to more aggressively support liberal forces against dictators and Islamic extremists. ... So how would Mr. Romney remedy these errors? That’s where the weakness of his speech lay: It was hard to detect what tangible new steps the challenger would take. ... In all, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Mr. Romney, like Mr. Obama, is avoiding the embrace of a more robust Mideast policy out of fear of offending voters weary of international conflict or of dividing his own advisers. Mr. Obama’s campaign released a new ad calling Mr. Romney’s foreign policy “reckless.” In fact, this was a too-cautious response to a too-cautious policy.ROMNEY'S WORLDEDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNAL...The man who took the VMI stage came off as serious, pragmatic and cautious, possibly to a fault. His broad strokes offered a welcome contrast to Mr. Obama's view that America must defer to other nations to win global favor. Mr. Romney recognized the electorate's understandable war fatigue, but he still made a case for the world's only superpower to reassert its leadership, most of all in the Middle East. A Romney Administration wouldn't "lead from behind" or defer to the United Nations. ... advocating a robust role for the U.S. overseas, Mr. Romney is placing himself in a long bipartisan tradition from Truman to Bush, while comparing Mr. Obama to Jimmy Carter in Presidential weakness. Foreign policy won't decide this election, but voters should be pleased that the Republican has forcefully made a case for renewed American leadership in the world.