THE SUPER-COMMITTEE'S 13TH MEMBER: OCCUPY WALL STREET BY MARC THIESSEN WASHINGTON POST Democrats seem to believe that the Tea Party movement, with its calls for limited government and spending restraint, is waning. They believe it is being supplanted before our eyes by a new grassroots movement in favor of bigger government, higher taxes and more spending. They are increasingly convinced that fiscal restraint is yesterday’s news and that class warfare is their ticket to reelection in 2012. That notion will be put to the test in 12 months’ time. But for now, let’s not pretend that GOP “intransigence” on taxes and a lone conservative activist were responsible for the failure of the supercommittee. If you want to find the shadowy force that exerted power over half of the members of the supercommittee, dooming it to gridlock and failure, look no further than the encampments of Zuccotti Park.
GERMANY CUTS OFF ITS NOSEBY JOE NOCERANEW YORK TIMESThe Germans, of course, are hardly alone in allowing their sense of righteousness to get in the way of sensible policy. ... My view is that housing, historically, has led most recoveries and that the foreclosure crisis is one of the things preventing the economy from truly reviving. Never-ending foreclosures cause housing prices to continue swooning and risk a deflationary spiral that could be devastating. They cause more homeowners to suddenly find themselves “underwater.” They hurt not just those losing their homes, but everybody. My argument is rooted not in morality, but in economics.SILVIO'S DELUDED POSTSCRIPTBY FRANK BRUNINEW YORK TIMESOver the Berlusconi era [Italians] seemed to grow strangely resigned and even accustomed to him; he was reliable kindling for anger and an easy target for ridicule. And they adopted the refrain that there was no release from his chokehold on Italian life because no one had a comparable megaphone and there was no plausible alternative to him. It’s incumbent on them now to create one. They no longer have any excuse not to. And they should treat those instances when he pops up in public as useful reminders of the kind of farce they can no longer afford and must leave far behind.MITT ROMNEY'S VENTURE-CAPITAL POLITICSBY RICHARD COHENWASHINGTON POSTMitt Romney runs for president with the eye of a venture capitalist. He sees the profit in certain positions, discards those that are no longer profitable and moves on. He was pro-choice when it did him some good, instituted a health insurance plan that he now denounces and once supported amnesty for some illegal immigrants. Richard III offered his kingdom for a horse. Romney offers his principles for some votes in Iowa.OBAMA HAS NO ROOM TO COMPLAIN ABOUT AD DISTORTIONSBY MICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTObama’s short, rocket-fueled political career has involved a tension. He has gained a reputation for hope and change while practicing a brass-knuckle style of politics. ... Good heart-slicing skills can be useful in presidential politics. But they preclude the option of self-righteousness. The Obama campaign wants to enforce rules on others it does not abide by itself. This does not make the rules outdated or make Romney’s ad right. But it makes Obama a suspect referee. In political advertising, it is not impurity that rankles most. It is the pretense of purity.SUPERCOMMITTEE DEATH BRINGS ROB PORTMAN NEW LIFEBY DANA MILBANKWASHINGTON POSTI hope he does get chosen as the vice presidential nominee. After the amateur hour that has been the GOP nominating process, the selection of a genuine grown-up such as Portman -- a longtime House member and President George W. Bush’s trade representative and budget director – would be reassuring. The problem is that Portman appears to feel the need to shed his sensible disposition and to stiff-arm the opposition in order to be considered seriously for a promotion.EUROPE'S CURRENCY ROAD TO NOWHEREBY AUSTAN GOOLSBEEWALL STREET JOURNALEven if Europe addresses the banking-capitalization crisis of the moment, and even if it struggles its way through the near-term fiscal crises of Greece and Italy, then what? With little prospect for growth in its South, Europe remains on the romantic road to nowhere—a road that merely runs in a circle. Without growth there will always be another fiscal crisis ahead for yet another country unable to balance its budget but prevented from devaluing and exporting its way forward. On this path, Europeans will forever need to fight off financial and fiscal panics while trying to build their castle on a hill.WHO IS THE REAL RINO?BY JOE SCARBOROUGHPOLITICOThe insult du jour for Republican candidates this election cycle is being labeled a RINO, a Republican in Name Only. Unfortunately, the insult has been so overused lately it’s been rendered meaningless. The insult is even emptier because it is so detached from actual statements, campaign promises and voting records. A candidate like Newt Gingrich can get away with supporting the biggest socialist scheme in American government over the past 30 years because he says nasty things about the press and calls Barack Obama a Marxist. Jon Huntsman, on the other hand, can have a stellar conservative record as Utah’s governor, be anti-abortion and adored by the NRA. But if he refuses to spit out angry screeds against Obama, he’s dismissed as a RINO, the facts be damned.