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Must-Read Op-Eds for Sept. 18, 2012

THURSTON HOWELL ROMNEYDAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMESThe people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers.

THURSTON HOWELL ROMNEYDAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMESThe people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor. Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. ...The Republican Party, and apparently Mitt Romney, too, has shifted over toward a much more hyperindividualistic and atomistic social view — from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers. There’s no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.

MITT ROMNEY LOST THE ELECTIONJOSH BARROBLOOMBERG VIEWYou can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser...has killed Mitt Romney's campaign for president. ...Romney already has trouble relating to the public and convincing people he cares about them. Now, he's been caught on video saying that nearly half the country consists of hopeless losers. Romney has been vigorously denying President Obama's claims that his tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class. Now, he's been caught on video suggesting that low- and middle-income Americans are undertaxed. ...The really disastrous thing is the clip about "victims," and the combination of contempt and pity that Romney shows for anyone who isn't going to vote for him. Romney is the most opaque presidential nominee since Nixon, and people have been reduced to guessing what his true feelings are. This video provides an answer: He feels that you're a loser. It's not an answer that wins elections.

Must-Read Op-Eds for Sept. 17, 2012

A FOREIGN POLICY ADRIFTMICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTThe largest failure of Obama’s approach to the Middle East is its apparent geopolitical randomness. Support for Iran’s Green Revolution was late and grudging — as though courageous reformers were intruding on Obama’s engagement of the regime. The president dramatically escalated the Afghan war before conveying an impression of heading for the exits. After wringing its hands, the administration took needed action in Libya. After wringing its hands, it has remained on the sidelines in Syria. The main consistency has been the wringing part.  In the absence of an organizing principle, flexibility becomes ambiguity. Other nations know exactly what Iran is after, what Russia is after, what Israel is after. They are left to guess at American intentions. The risk is that they will cease to care. THE MYTH OF BARACK THE LIBERATORMARC A. THIESSENWASHINGTON POSTAcross the [Middle East], people see the United States in retreat. They see Obama pulling all U.S. forces out of Iraq and preparing to do the same in Afghanistan. They see an American ambassador killed in Libya, the flag of al-Qaeda raised over our embassy in Egypt, and our diplomats fleeing from Khartoum and Tunis. Instead of looking to the United States and asking, “Where are you, Obama?”, the crowds in Cairo today are chanting, “Obama, we are all Osama.” The failure of Obama’s policies in the Middle East is not the fall of dictators in Cairo and Tripoli; it is the failure of leadership in Washington. On taking office, Obama promised to usher in a new era of popularity in the region. Well, ask yourself this: Are we more popular now than we were four years ago?