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Must-Read Op-Eds for Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hope: The SequelBy John HeilemannNew York Magazine... to a very real degree, 2008's candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012's candidate of fear.

Hope: The SequelBy John HeilemannNew York Magazine

... to a very real degree, 2008's candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012's candidate of fear. For many Democrats, this is just fine and dandy, for they believe that in the Romney-Republican agenda there is plenty to be scared of. For others in the party in both politics and business, however, the new Obama posture is cause for concern. From the gay-marriage decision to the onslaught on Bain, they see the president and his team as coming across as too divisive, too conventional, and too nakedly political, putting at risk Obama's greatest asset - his likability -  with the voters in the middle of the electorate who will ultimately decide his fate.

Obama Should Seize the High GroundBy Thomas FriedmanNew York Times[H]ow did Obama ever allow this duality to take hold: “The Bush tax cuts” versus the “Obama bailout”? It should have been “the Bush deficit explosion” and the “Obama rescue.” Sure, the deficit has increased under Obama. It was largely to save the country from going into a Depression after a Bush-era binge that included two wars — which, for the first time in our history, we not only did not pay for with tax increases but instead accompanied with tax cuts — plus a 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill that we could not afford, then or now. Congressional Democrats also had a hand in this, but the idea that Bush gets to skate off into history as a “tax-cutter” and not as a “deficit buster” is a travesty. You can’t just blame Fox News. Obama has the bully pulpit.

The Role of Uncle SamBy David BrooksNew York TimesWe’re not going back to the 19th-century governing philosophy of Hamilton, Clay and Lincoln. But that tradition offers guidance. The question is not whether government is inherently good or evil, but what government does. Does government encourage long-term innovation or leave behind long-term debt for short-term expenditure? Does government nurture an enterprising citizenry, or a secure but less energetic one? If the U.S. doesn’t modernize its governing institutions, the nation will stagnate. The ghost of Hamilton will be displeased.Romney's Pants on FireBy Eugene RobinsonWashington PostRomney does single out the following Obama statement from a 2009 interview: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Romney says this acknowledgment — that others might have as much national pride as we do — means Obama doesn’t really believe in American exceptionalism at all. But in the same interview, Obama went on to say he was “enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world,” and to tout U.S. economic and military might as well as the nation’s “exceptional” democratic values. So he should be accused of chest-thumping, not groveling.The Right Running Mate for RomneyBy Michael GersonWashington PostChristie, at his worst, is capable of nastiness and name-calling — tendencies he would need to keep in check on a national ticket. But who else in the Republican Party combines a tea party tone with a relatively moderate public record? What other choice would cause Republicans to pray for 10 vice presidential debates? Everyone on Romney’s short list of prospective running mates is impressive. But Christie has the skills of a vice president.Keeping Greece in the euro zoneEditorialWashington PostThere may be no way to salvage Greek membership in the euro, given that country’s profound economic decay — and given the differences that now bedevil “united” Europe. It is responsible of Europe’s governments to plan for damage control in the event of a Grexit, as they are apparently doing. For the time being, though, a Grexit is still only a terrible risk. Europe’s leaders — and Greek voters — need to avoid doing anything that might turn it into a terrible inevitability.Cheer, Cheer for Old Notre DameBy William McGurnWall Street JournalIt's a simple question: Does the Indiana Democrat running for the U.S. Senate support Notre Dame's lawsuit against the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate? ... Mr. Donnelly has President Obama to thank for this predicament. The Indiana congressman was among the pro-life Democrats who folded on the health-care bill after a last-minute phone call from a former Notre Dame president, the Rev. Ted Hesburgh—a call made at the urging of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The contraceptive mandate has now put Mr. Donnelly in another squeeze. He claims he wants a solution that would protect religious groups. But he rejects a legislative solution and declines to say outright that he wishes Notre Dame victory in its suit.Gay Marriage, Abortion and the Independent VoterBy Joe ScarboroughPoliticoPerhaps that attitudes on abortion are changing, but not overnight. The same is true of gay marriage, as Team Obama learned earlier this month. Chicago privately concedes that President Obama is now more likely to lose the swing state of North Carolina because of his recent statement on gay marriage. Republicans are just as likely to lose suburban women and other swing voters if they dart too far right on abortion over the next six months. The GOP presidential primary campaign underlined that fact in bright red ink earlier this year. ... And any politician who believes he can blindly follow a tired party line will soon find himself out of touch and out of office.An Enduring Sacrifice Few Can UnderstandBy Joe ScarboroughPoliticoWhen we talk about the American heroes who give their all for their country, I wonder how many people realize that their sacrifice continues being paid every day. Then I wonder why Washington refuses to treat those heroes who come home with the respect they deserve. On this Memorial Day, let us hope that one day soon they will.