WHATEVER HAPPENED TO 9/11? BY DANIEL HENNINGERWALL STREET JOURNALOne exception: President Barack Obama. ... President Obama kept most of the security tools Mr. Bush put in place to fight whatever you want to call it, such as the overseas contingency operation that forced Osama bin Laden into permanent retirement. Note also that with Bush departed, the partisan opposition is, too. The kinship of 9/11 may be gone, but there is solace in knowing that whichever fractious party sits in the Oval Office, it remains common policy to ensure the protection of the American people, whether they want it or not. If that's the most unity we can muster this week, I'll take it.
MITT ROMNEY'S FLAWED ECONOMIC PLAN BY EDITORIALWASHINGTON POSTSome of Mr. Romney’s immediate agenda is sensible. Passing the pending free-trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea is something that ought to be accomplished before the 2012 election. ... More problematic are Mr. Romney’s vows to dismantle health care and financial regulatory reform. And his calls to impose sanctions on China for manipulating its currency fall into that great bipartisan tradition among candidates of bashing China; like his predecessors, Mr. Romney would no doubt discover that the relationship with Beijing is more complicated when viewed from the White House.
ROMNEY-PERRY FACE OFF BY MICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTPerry often seemed awkward, nervous and programmed. On several questions, he left an impression of policy shallowness. ... We learned Wednesday that Perry — while not quite equaling his hype — is a serious candidate. We also learned, perhaps surprisingly, that Romney is the more natural and authentic candidate. He seemed more electable than anyone else on the stage. In the first Perry-Romney faceoff, Romney won.
DEBATING WITH THE STARS BY GAIL COLLINSNEW YORK TIMESThe debate was at the Reagan library, and no matter what you think of Ronald Reagan, this crew makes him look good. It is the genius of the Republican Party in recent decades that it continually selects candidates who make the ones who went before appear better. Remember how great George H.W. Bush seemed once we’d lived with his son for a while? And I have a strong suspicion that whoever the nominee is this time will make us yearn for the magic that was W.
FINDING HOPE IN LIBYA BY NICHOLAS KRISTOFNEW YORK TIMESI’m a believer in humanitarian intervention to avert genocide or mass atrocities — when the stars align, as I believe they did in Libya — so maybe I’m deluding myself to justify our bombing campaign. Yet it seems to me that the NATO military intervention prevented a massacre in Benghazi, saved countless Libyan lives and has put the country on a track of hope. Countries like the United States, France, Britain and Qatar did something historic in supporting a military operation that was largely about preserving lives, not national interests. While plenty can still go wrong, my sense is that Libya is muddling along toward a future far better than its oppressive past.
RICK PERRY FAILS TO IMPRESS IN GOP DEBATE BY JENNIFER RUBINWASHINGTON POSTPerry survived, but without erasing doubts about his candidacy. Potentially damaging traps were set on HPV testing, HillaryCare and Social Security. The debate was a bit of an equalizer, and may in fact help to remind voters of some of the other candidates. For Romney, he engaged with Perry cautiously, with his most effective moments being his skewering of Perry’s position on Social Security and his explanation of his private-sector experience at Bain. Contrary to the hysterics in the blogosphere, this race is far from over. In fact, I think they are just warming up.
THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY BY THE NUMBERS BY MICHAEL BOSKINWALL STREET JOURNALMr. Obama was never going to enthusiastically embrace pro-market, pro-growth policies. But many of his business and Wall Street supporters (some now former supporters) believed he would govern more like President Clinton, post-1994. ... But Mr. Obama starts far further left than Mr. Clinton and hence has a much longer journey to the center. The president still has time to rebound from his economic policy missteps by promoting permanent, predictable policies to strengthen forecasted anemic growth. But do Mr. Obama and his advisers realize their analysis of the economic crisis was flawed and their attempted solutions mostly misconceived? That vast spending, temporary tax rebates and social engineering did little of lasting value at immense cost?