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Must Read Op-Eds for Tuesday August 16, 2011

THE TEXAS GIPPER  BY RICHARD COHENWASHINGTON POSTWatching the emergence of Rick Perry over the weekend was instructively nostalgic.

THE TEXAS GIPPER  BY RICHARD COHENWASHINGTON POSTWatching the emergence of Rick Perry over the weekend was instructively nostalgic. Here again was a governor declaring for the presidency and some very wise people cautioning us on the air and in print that what worked in Texas might not work in the nation. Perry is too conservative, too much a cowboy, too religious and, while we’re at it, too handsome. This, more or less, was what was said about Ronald Reagan. He’s nearly on Mount Rushmore... The White House now has plenty to worry about. Of course, Perry may turn out to be no Ronald Reagan. But then he doesn’t have to be. After all, Barack Obama has turned out to be no Barack Obama.



THE STRAW POLL WINNER: BARACK OBAMA  BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTThe emergence of Bachmann and Perry as Romney’s chief rivals has shifted the GOP contest sharply to the right. This may fire up the Republican base, but it may also turn off independents who have made clear their distaste for uncompromising partisanship. The Republican establishment, or what’s left of it, is nervous about this dynamic. But the establishment isn’t running the party anymore. The 16,892 Iowans who voted in the straw poll certainly didn’t intend to brighten Obama’s prospects of reelection, but that’s just what they might have accomplished.

IDEALOGICAL PURITY'S LIMITS  BY MICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTSuccessful governors accommodate a diverse electorate within the bounds of their convictions. They build governing coalitions through unexpected outreach. And sometimes they follow their convictions into ideological unpredictability. These are not indications of apostasy but signs of electoral skill and strength. In the general election, these virtues are not optional. Even the most committed conservative nominee will shift his or her tone on some issues that brought them to prominence... In presidential politics, conviction is important, but ideological purity is overrated.


TURNING UP THE HEAT ON ROMNEY  BY MARC THIESSENWASHINGTON POSTPresident Obama is reportedly gearing up to “kill” Mitt Romney in the general election. He may not get the chance. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who entered the presidential race Saturday, gets to take the first shot at the GOP front-runner – and if history is any indication, Romney won’t know what hit him... A Texas Democratic strategist described the governor’s approach to campaigning this way: “When he does an attack ad, he’s like the godfather. It’s never personal, it’s always business.” And Perry’s next order of business is to take out Mitt Romney.

YOUR PLAN HERE  EDITORIALWASHINGTON POSTWhile the [super] committee members scrub budget spreadsheets, we would like to pose a challenge to... those who would be president, both the incumbent and his Republican opponents. Show us your plans... Here’s what we’re not looking for: pablum about eliminating unnecessary spending without identifying where. Gauzy rhetoric about making hard choices without making them. There may be no greater challenge a president will face in the next term than promoting economic growth and fiscal correction. Voters have a right to understand how each candidate would meet the challenge — his or her priorities and values as reflected in numbers.

REPUBLICAN EXTREMISM, BAD ECONOMICS  BY STEVE RATTNERNEW YORK TIMESIn the middle of all the debt default drama and stock market turbulence, the leading Republican presidential candidates have begun to fill in the shadowy outlines of their positions on major economic issues. And what a picture it is, a philosophy oriented around shrinking the role of the federal government in every imaginable way... Perhaps these Republican aspirants are simply pandering to antigovernment sentiment and, if elected, would govern more sensibly... Meantime, we have a lot to worry about.

WHAT IS BUSINESS WAITING FOR?  BY JOE NOCERANEW YORK TIMESI am coming more and more to think that with the government essentially paralyzed for the foreseeable future, the only way we’re going to get jobs is by turning to actual job creators: business itself. With all their cash, companies shouldn’t be waiting for Congress to give them tax incentives to hire people. They should be trying to jump-start the economy — and fend off another recession — by making investments, and hiring workers, that will lead to renewed prosperity... We have to be willing to allow companies to sacrifice short-term profits for the long-term good of the country.

A RACE TO REPUDIATE GOVERNMENT  EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESThe principal purpose of the Ames Straw Poll these days is to trim from the bottom of the field, and this year that refers to anyone who ever harbored moderate thoughts. Although he apologized for it time and again, Mr. Pawlenty had once expressed support for sensible ideas like a cap-and-trade energy policy. There was apparently no forgiving that... Both parties’ primary systems give far too much weight to a small coterie of true believers. This year, the Republican system is amplifying the voices of those who are determined to shut out all reasonable debate and reward only the most angry and extremist views.