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Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, June 21, 2012

AVOIDING THE PERILS OF PALINBY JOE SCARBOROUGHPOLITICOConventional wisdom tells us that Mitt Romney is in search of a boring white guy as a running mate.


Conventional wisdom tells us that Mitt Romney is in search of a boring white guy as a running mate. The melodrama of John McCain’s “high risk-high reward” pick of Alaska’s Sarah Palin is the main driver of that discussion since the Palin choice gave us a lot of reality shows — and helped give us President Obama. No way this time, say the Romneyites. They’ll happily forgo heat and buzz for safety and stolidity. But the danger in Romney’s “Safety First” approach is that his search for the uncontroversial will keep him from the best possible candidates. ...Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman may be just right for the Romney pick. Each is a strong public servant. If the call comes, though, they — and we — need to know it’s because Romney thinks they have what it takes, not because neither seems likely to get their own reality show. The reality of Washington is ugly enough, as events have taught us since 2008. A president needs all the help he can get to face it, and, God willing, master it.


The political feud between the White House and Congressional Republicans has now culminated in a House oversight committee vote to cite Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for criminal contempt. ... The Republicans shamelessly turned what should be a routine matter into a pointless constitutional confrontation. And the White House responded as most administrations do at some point: it invoked executive privilege to make a political problem go away. ... Executive privilege cannot and should not be allowed to shield the executive branch from regular, valuable Congressional oversight. There was no reason the House committee and the Justice Department could not work out a deal to produce the documents requested, or some form of them. Instead, they show again that every issue, large or small, can be turned into ammunition for political combat.

Must-Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Must-Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, June 19, 2012



Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food and us. ...While...improvements in hygiene and sanitation deserve applause, they have inadvertently given rise to a set of truly human-made diseases. While comforting to the germ-phobic public, the too-shiny produce and triple-washed and bagged leafy greens in our local grocery aisle are hardly recognized by our immune system as food. ... As we move deeper into a “postmodern” era of squeaky-clean food and hand sanitizers at every turn, we should probably hug our local farmers’ markets a little tighter. They may represent our only connection with some “old friends” we cannot afford to ignore.


What’s happened so far in Europe is austerity without enough stimulus. This is a recipe for keeping economies down, unemployment high and electorates in an entirely understandable rage. No wonder historians and economists are now regularly offering frightening comparisons between the Europe of our times and the Europe of the early 1930s. ... The real lesson from Europe is not that we should all tighten our belts and endure more pain but that we need to get the global economy moving. That means our Federal Reserve should pursue more expansive policies. And if congressional Republicans weren’t so determined to block nearly every initiative President Obama puts forward, they would agree to pump more money into state governments and into infrastructure spending to speed a decline in unemployment.

ROMNEY SHRINKS THE CAMPAIGN MONEY GAPBY KARL ROVEWALL STREET JOURNAL 2008, Mr. Obama won partly because he outspent Sen. John McCain by $325 million between June and November ($850 million to $525 million). This was especially important in historically Republican states like Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, where Mr. Obama outspent Mr. McCain on television by ratios of up to 7 to 1. But the dawning awareness that Mr. Obama may have little or no cash advantage in the campaign's last five months is not the end of the bad news for the president. ... With his political problems mounting, the president needs to buy his way to re-election. But his schedule is increasingly filled with less productive events. For example, he recently attended six fundraisers in Maryland and Pennsylvania that yielded a little over half-a-million dollars per event. The president is learning the hard way that there is a finite number of million dollar-plus fundraisers that any candidate can have, and he has chewed up most of his opportunities.


If for the next five months the president and Mitt Romney spoke of nothing other than economic growth—on the stump, in their debates, in their sleep—this election would be the best $2 billion "investment" of campaign funds that Citizens United ever enabled. Get the growth choice right, and we'll be ok. Get it wrong and your kids will be talking Australia emigration. ... this is a substance election. It's not about whether one "likes" Barack Obama or can't warm to Mitt Romney. Voters have to pick two competing growth models, which means paying attention to what the candidates are saying about economic growth.