THE RIGHT'S SHELLACKING BY E.J. DIONNEWASHINGTON POSTOne of the only referendum results the GOP could cheer was a strong vote in Ohio against the health-insurance mandate. While health-reform supporters argued that the ballot question was misleading, the result spoke to the truly terrible job Democrats have done in defending what they enacted. They can’t let the health-care law remain a policy stepchild. That useful warning aside, Tuesday’s results underscored the power of unions and populist politics, the danger to conservatives of social-issue extremism and the fact that 2010 was no mandate for right-wing policies. They also mean that if Republicans don’t back away from an agenda that makes middle-class, middle-of-the-road Americans deeply uncomfortable — and in some cases angry — they will lose the rather more important fight of 2012.
WAIT! DON'T TELL ME! BY GAIL COLLINSNEW YORK TIMES
The most recent Republican debate will be remembered forever as the time Rick Perry announced that as president he’d immediately close down three federal agencies and then could remember only two. (“Commerce. Education. What’s the third one?”) He appeared to be asking Ron Paul, who gave him the wrong answer. There we were, back in third grade, peeping at the next kid’s paper. Except for the part where everybody in class is running for president. So much for Governor Perry, who went out not with a bang but an “oops.”
BACK TO COMMON SENSE AT THE POLLS BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESEven the voters in [Mississippi] state, one of the country’s most conservative, decisively rejected an amendment to ban abortion by declaring a fertilized egg as a person. The measure also would have effectively banned some forms of contraception and even in-vitro fertilization, and 58 percent of voters said that was going too far. It is not clear that Tuesday’s votes add up to a national trend that will have an effect on 2012 or even the deadlock in Congress. But they do offer a ray of hope to any candidate who runs on pragmatic solutions, not magical realism, to create jobs and reduce the pressures of inequality on the middle class and the poor.
WE'RE ALL GREEKS NOW BY JIM HOAGLANDWASHINGTON POSTI sold my Greek shack a few months ago. I don’t need to go to Greece anymore to be surrounded by people who reflexively refuse to raise taxes to help with the national debt and the nation’s eroding infrastructure. And, alas, I don’t need to go to Greece to find political leaders too frightened to fight for proposals coming from deficit-cutting commissions they appoint. I can get that right here in the U.S.A.
THE MICHIGAN DEBATE BY JENNIFER RUBINWASHINGTON POSTNothing else in the debate will matter. ... Everyone who has ever been at a loss for words or stumbled in a public setting could relate. The “it” was a nightmarish stumble, a sort of epic brain freeze by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. It was a moment so painful, the embarrassment so great, that the principle reaction among tough-as-nails reporters was pity. Fifteen minutes or so later in the debate he recalled that the third agency he was planning to eliminate was the Energy Department. But in bringing it up once more, he only underscored the flub. Before that moment, Perry was essentially ignored, getting very few questions and reverting to his sleepy-mode. Such is the fate of a candidate in single digits in the polls. Now the question is: Will he debate again? More generally, one has to wonder if Perry’s heart is still in this race.
I WON'T LET IRAN GET NUKES BY MITT ROMNEYWALL STREET JOURNALI want peace. And if I am president, I will begin by imposing a new round of far tougher economic sanctions on Iran. I will do this together with the world if we can, unilaterally if we must. I will speak out forcefully on behalf of Iranian dissidents. I will back up American diplomacy with a very real and very credible military option. I will restore the regular presence of aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously. I will increase military assistance to Israel and coordination with all of our allies in the region. These actions will send an unequivocal signal to Iran that the United States, acting in concert with allies, will never permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. Only when the ayatollahs no longer have doubts about America's resolve will they abandon their nuclear ambitions.
A SUPER OFFER REJECTED BY EDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALEven when Republicans put $500 billion in statically scored new revenues on the table, at the risk of upsetting their political base, Democrats declare that tax reform without higher tax rates is impossible. So who are the real "ideologues" here? Democrats must believe they can blame Republicans if the super committee fails, riding their campaign against "millionaires and billionaires" back to complete power in Washington. It's a reckless bet, but the American public may have to call it.
WHY DID PERRY GET INTO THE RACE, REALLY? BY MARC AMBINDERNATIONAL JOURNALYou're a governor of Texas, he was told. You have this incredible record on jobs. Romney is gonna get killed by health care and is so vulnerable. The other candidates are jokes. It's gonna be a lot easier than you think. You just have to let Romney self-destruct and you can roll. You can actually be president! And that's basically what Perry did. He entered the race, dawdled, presented an economic plan late in the game, appeared to have no solid strategy, and thought he could coast. He didn't prepare himself for the discipline required of a modern presidential campaign. I don't think Perry's consultants pushed him into the race just to make a buck. I legitimately think they thought that the race would be easy, and so the bar for Perry would be much lower than it turned out to be.