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Must Read Op-Eds: Wednesday, April 27

Republicans are being held hostage by their base by Harold MeyersonThe Washington PostAnd it’s not just Trump.

Republicans are being held hostage by their base by Harold MeyersonThe Washington Post

And it’s not just Trump. “Birther bills,” which require presidential candidates to produce their birth certificates, are moving through a number of Republican-controlled state legislatures...If the espousal of birtherism truly becomes a necessity for winning the Republican presidential nomination, the right’s war on empiricism will have served not merely to build and mobilize a base, but also to isolate that base from the majority of Americans who still inhabit, at least most of the time, a reality-based universe. Winning the support of crazies, Haley Barbour may have concluded, is no way to win the White House.

Political privacy should be a civil right by David Marston and John YooThe Wall Street Journal


Supporters of California's Proposition 8, which bars gay marriage, have faced relentless harassment after a federal court refused to bar the disclosure of their identities in 2009...Mr. Obama's executive order threatens to replicate the Prop 8 experience on a nationwide scale. In fact, it requires the release of contractors' political contributions in a publicly available electronic database to be posted online as soon as possible...Civil libertarians and liberals have so far been mum in the face of Mr. Obama's executive order. They're likely justifying their silence on the basis that businesses—not unions—will suffer. But if the president succeeds in reducing the free-speech rights of business today, it will be far easier to limit the same rights of other Americans tomorrow.

The Republican threat to voting Editorial-The New York Times

Eight states already had photo ID laws. Now more than 30 other states are joining the bandwagon of disenfranchisement, as Republicans outdo each other to propose bills with new voting barriers...Many of these bills were inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business-backed conservative group, which has circulated voter ID proposals in scores of state legislatures. The Supreme Court, unfortunately, has already upheld Indiana’s voter ID requirement, in a 2008 decision that helped unleash the stampede of new bills. Most of the bills have yet to pass, and many may not meet the various balancing tests required by the Supreme Court. There is still time for voters who care about democracy in their states to speak out against lawmakers who do not.

Tom Donilion's Arab Spring challenge by David IgnatiusThe Washington Post

The uprisings in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and now Syria all embody the tension between U.S. interests and values, and Obama has leaned different ways. With Egypt and Libya, the White House voted its values and supported rebellion and change; with Bahrain and Yemen, the administration, while sympathetic to reform, has embraced its interests in the stability of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain’s neighbor, and in a Yemen that is an ally against al-Qaeda...The mix is pragmatic, which seems to suit both Obama and Donilon...My instinct is that the White House is right to be pragmatic, and for that reason should avoid making so many public pronouncements: This is an evolving crisis, and each country presents a different set of issues; a one-size-fits-all policy approach would be a mistake.

Obama, lost in thought by Dana MilbankThe Washington Post

Obama’s strengths and weaknesses come from his high degree of “integrative complexity” — his ability to keep multiple variables and trade-offs in mind simultaneously. The integratively simple thinker — say, George W. Bush — has one universal organizing principle that dominates all others, while the integratively complex thinker — Obama — balances many competing goals...In an ideal world, complex and rational thought would be virtues. But in politics, these attributes can make Obama seem ambiguous, without toughness or principles.