THE MITT ROMNEY PARDON BY GAIL COLLINS
NEW YORK TIMES
Romney hasn’t done a Sunday talk show since “The Hurt Locker” beat “Avatar” for best picture. He is generally kept so far away from one-on-one interviews that he might as well be wrapped in cellophane. ... Never have we had a more uptight potential president. This is all because he’s a big, huge, bundle...of contradictory positions whose history he cannot possibly justify without standing up and screaming: Look, I’m running for office! I have to make things up! It’s time to free Mitt from his demons. I propose that we give him one week in which to decide at which point in his life he was actually expressing his true opinion on any given topic, and we will just clear the slate and go from there.
A BANKER SPEAKS, WITH REGRET BY NICHOLAS KRISTOF
NEW YORK TIMES
This week...Bloomberg Markets magazine published a terrific exposé based on lending records it pried out of the Federal Reserve in a lawsuit. It turns out that the Fed provided an astonishing sum to keep banks afloat — $7.8 trillion, equivalent to more than $25,000 per American. The article estimated that banks earned up to $13 billion in profits by relending that money to businesses and consumers at higher rates. ... That’s why the Occupy movement resonates so deeply: When the federal government goes all-out to rescue errant bankers, and stiffs homeowners, that’s not just bad economics. It’s also wrong.
A DECADE OF PROGRESS ON AIDS BY BONONEW YORK TIMESA conservative president, George W. Bush, leading the largest ever response to the pandemic; the same Mr. Bush banging his desk when I complained that the drugs weren’t getting there fast enough, me apologizing to Mr. Bush when they did; Bill Clinton, arm-twisting drug companies to drop their prices; Hillary Rodham Clinton, making it policy to eradicate the transmission of H.I.V. from mother to child; President Obama, who is expected to make a game changing announcement this World AIDS Day to finish what his predecessors started — the beginning of the end of AIDS. ... Thanks to them, America led. Really led.
WATERGATE? WHATEVER WAS THAT? BY EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES
House Republicans will surely invoke their all-purpose rationale — deficit savings — as they try on Thursday to repeal the public financing option for presidential campaigns. ... [Yet] the cynicism at work in the House is underlined by the fact that even as Republican leaders target the public option, the Republican Party has quietly requested and received a tidy $17.7 million in public money to pay for its presidential convention next year (while offering no righteous outcries that it be offset by budget cutbacks). ... More than ever, voters need a robust public presidential option and a continuing Election Assistance Commission.
THE NEXT CHALLENGE FOR THE MIDDLE EAST PROTESTERS BY DAVID IGNATIUS
The smartphone changed the balance of intimidation. The rulers and their henchmen were suddenly at risk of being prosecuted, like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, or hunted and killed, like Moammar Gaddafi in Libya. But what about the power of the mob itself...? There is a tyranny of the majority, too. ... Once [these citizen movements] have toppled the secret police, the revolutionaries need to draft constitutions affirming the rights of the individual. ... Today, as never before, citizens have the tools to protect their freedoms. The revolution will be televised, and so will the aftermath.
TWO POLITICIANS WITH BLUNTNESS IN COMMON BY E.J. DIONNE JR.
[Polish foreign minister] Radoslaw Sikorski...offered what may be the sound bite of the year [in Berlin on Monday]: “I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity.” ... One politician who would understand Sikorski’s extravagant bluntness is [Rep. Barney] Frank, who never walked away from a fight and never left a quip unspoken. ... But what needs to be underscored is that he takes the process of governing, at every level, seriously. ... That's the passion he and Sikorski have in common.
THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF RACIAL PREFERENCES BY GEORGE WILL
“Academic mismatch” causes many students who are admitted under a substantial preference based on race, but who possess weaker academic skills, to fall behind. The consequences include especially high attrition rates from the sciences, and self-segregation in less-demanding classes... The [Supreme] Court should use the [University of] Texas case to acknowledge the intersection of constitutional law and social science regarding racial preferences, and to revisit the crumbling legal rationale for them. Until it does, diversity bureaucracies on campuses will continue to use minority students as mere means to other people’s ends, injuring minorities by treating them as ingredients that supposedly enrich the academic experience of others.
BRING BACK THE SMOKE-FILLED ROOMS? BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL
A serious problem remains: The refusal today of the best candidates to answer the call. Paul Ryan, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush were all heavily recruited by insiders and donors to get in the race. No dice. ... Instead of a candidate-vetting process carried out quietly by party leaders, it's now done randomly by a Hydra-headed national media. Any flaw or past stumble is metastasized into a public nightmare for spouses and children. So they say No. In their place we get mysterious candidates who have wandered in from Nowhere Land or obscure state senate seats. ... The current presidential-selection process is a self-destructive mess, for both parties. Make the fund raising simpler. Eliminate limits on individual donations. Get the parties back in the game. Give better candidates a chance to compete. Save a country in peril. What more could you want?
ARE CONSERVATIVES READY TO FORGIVE GINGRICH HIS SINS? BY ERICK ERICKSONRED STATEI think in the next few weeks conservatives must ask themselves if they are ready to forgive Newt his sins. I’m not talking about his adultery and wives. I’m not really even talking about his ego. What I am talking about is only tangentially related to his sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi. It was, after all, Newt Gingrich who advocated for an individual mandate long before Mitt Romney ever did. ... The conservative warrior people tend to think Gingrich is, often is not. Newt has a fascination with the shiny in policy and technology, hence the latest oppo drop on Newt that he once praised Donald Berwick, the Obama appointee chosen to oversee the death panels and shoving of grandparents over the medical cost savings cliff.