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Must Read Op-Eds for October 21, 2011

THE GOP'S FOREIGN POLICY GAP  BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTCain said repeatedly that his proposed fence would be electrified.

THE GOP'S FOREIGN POLICY GAP  BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTCain said repeatedly that his proposed fence would be electrified. Then he said those remarks were in jest. Then he said the fence might be electrified after all. Sorry for the digression, but I’m just trying to keep up. What’s no joking matter is that, to the extent that the Republican candidates deal at all with international affairs, it tends to be in a way that’s shockingly vapid and unsophisticated. It is likely that domestic issues, especially the parlous state of the economy, will dominate the election. But it’s also likely that one or more foreign crises will arise between now and Election Day — and that the contrast can only work in President Obama’s favor.

THE CASE FOR THE PRESIDENT'S JOBS ACT  BY GENE SPERLINGWALL STREET JOURNALThe president's proposal to cut payroll taxes in half for workers and small businesses closely resembles a provision included last year in the Economic Freedom Act put forward by 50 House Republicans, including Michele Bachmann and Jeb Hensarling. It simply cannot be the case in a serious economic moment like this that good ideas are transformed into bad ideas solely because President Obama supports them. Our economy cannot afford Republicans to both say no to the American Jobs Act and to have no meaningful alternative. The moment is too serious. The stakes are too high.

PARTY OF POLLUTION  BY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMESFinding that an industry inflicts large environmental damage compared with its apparent economic return doesn't necessarily mean that the industry should be shut down. What it means, instead, is that "the regulated levels of emissions from the industry are too high." That is, environmental regulations aren't strict enough. Republicans, of course, have strong incentives to claim otherwise: the big value-destroying industries are concentrated in the energy and natural resources sector, which overwhelmingly donates to the G.O.P. But the reality is that more pollution wouldn't solve our jobs problem. All it would do is make us poorer and sicker.

OBAMA CHOSE THE RIGHT COURSE IN LIBYA  BY DAVID IGNATIUSWASHINGTON POSTCreating a strong secular state is the big challenge for Libya, post-Khaddafy. The ruling National Transitional Council will become an interim government as soon as “liberation” is officially declared. Job No. 1 is forging a single national army from the bands of militias that fought the revolution. On the governance front, several hundred foreign advisers will be working under U.N. special representative Ian Martin. This time, nation-building will be a U.N. headache. Obama took a lot of shots along the way to Thursday's symbolic end of the Libya campaign. But it seems fair to say that his vision of opposing Khaddafy through a broad, international coalition — in which other nations share the burden, for a change — worked out pretty well.

THE GOP WINS BY BRUISING  BY PEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNALI suspect some Republicans tell pollsters they like Mr. Cain as a way of keeping Mr. Romney in line—to keep him from daydreaming about who'll be in his cabinet, to keep him scared and make him humble. The Republican Party is going to make Mitt Romney work for it. They're going to make him earn it. They're going to make him suffer. Because that's what Republicans do. As for Mr. Perry, he freely admits that he is not at his best in debate, and he's not. He doesn't know how to do it, and so it's all jugular with him, no finesse, no calibration in the uses of aggression.

COLONEL KHADDAFY'S END  BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESCol. Moammar Khaddafy of Libya died as he lived — violently. We sympathize with the Libyans who suffered for so long at the hands of the ruthless dictator and are glad he can no longer hurt them. But a gruesome video broadcast on Al Jazeera — apparently showing him being dragged, beaten and then, perhaps, shot to death by armed men — is deeply troubling. ... This was always the Libyan people’s fight. But the United States and Europe were also victims of Khaddafy’s terrorism and can feel relief and satisfaction in the supporting role they played in ending his horror. Now they have to help and goad Libyans into building a stable and peaceful democracy.


OBAMA' S RISKY EMBRACE OF OCCUPY WALL STREET  BY MICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTPresident Obama’s awkward, unreturned embrace of Occupy Wall Street is among the strangest developments of the 2012 campaign. The tie-dyed T-shirt doesn’t fit. Obama has been the unrivaled leader in fundraising from the financial sector in recent years. Senior staffers with Wall Street connections have occupied the White House for some time now. Banks and financial-service firms have been some of the main direct beneficiaries of Obama’s economic policies... No presidential campaign would willingly choose the high-risk strategy of identifying with a controversial, half-formed, leftist protest. But unable to take credit for economic recovery, Obama may have no other choice. He needs an economic dragon to slay, even if he once fed and tended it.

ROMNEY'S GUILTY REPUBLICAN SYNDROME  BY KIMBERLEY STRASSELWALL STREET JOURNALMr. Romney isn't the first Republican to develop Guilty Syndrome, and one option would be to form a support group with, say, George H.W. Bush. A better cure might be the tonic of Ronald Reagan, who never let his own wealth get in the way of a good lower-tax argument. Reagan's message, delivered with cheerfulness and conviction, was that he wanted everyone in American to have the opportunity to be as successful as he had been. If Mr. Romney is looking for a way to connect with an aspiring American electorate, that's a start.

PUNCH-OUT IN THE DESERT  BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTOn Tuesday night, seismologists at the Las Vegas Oceanographic Institute reported the first recorded movement of a hair on Mitt Romney’s head. Although it was only one follicle, displaced a mere 1.2 centimeters, the tremors were felt from Iowa to New Hampshire... [B]ecause of his considerable resources, Perry, by merely stirring himself, is back. But he hasn’t solved his problem... [B]ased on Perry’s first five performances, Barack Obama would eat him alive in a one-on-one. But apart from the importance of debating itself, Perry’s often clueless responses betray an even deeper problem: He simply hasn’t thought through the issues on a national scale. He is still Texas. And Texas simply isn’t enough... The Vegas fight mildly unsettled the Republican race. But its central dynamic remains. It awaits the coalescence of anti-Romney sentiment around one challenger. Until and unless that happens, it’s Romney’s race to lose.