HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHTBY MAUREEN DOWDNEW YORK TIMESRomney spent $100,000 in state funds to replace office computers at the end of his term as governor and on the cusp of his 2008 presidential race, “as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret,” reported Mark Hosenball of Reuters. ...“Also before he left office, the governor’s staff had e-mails and other electronic communications by Romney’s administration wiped from the state servers, state officials say. Those actions erased much of the internal documentation of Romney’s four-year tenure as governor.” So far, Mitt’s casting a shadowy silhouette, hiding his fortune in foreign tax havens, hiding tax returns, destroying and hiding records as head of the Olympics and as governor, hiding a specific sense of where he would take the country. SYRIA IS IRAQBY THOMAS L. FRIEDMANNEW YORK TIMESSyria is Iraq’s twin — a multisectarian, minority-ruled dictatorship that was held together by an iron fist under Baathist ideology. And, for me, the lesson of Iraq is quite simple: You can’t go from Saddam to Switzerland without getting stuck in Hobbes — a war of all against all — unless you have a well-armed external midwife, whom everyone on the ground both fears and trusts to manage the transition. In Iraq, that was America. The kind of low-cost, remote-control, U.S./NATO midwifery that ousted Qaddafi and gave birth to a new Libya is not likely to be repeated in Syria. Syria is harder. Syria is Iraq.
THE CANDIDATES TALK FOREIGN POLICYEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESThis was a chance for Mitt Romney to show that he could be a better international leader than President Obama, who has already proved himself in that field. He fell far short. ... Even some of his advisers, when interviewed, have been unable to explain exactly what he would do differently on many issues, and, where he does draw a line, his positions are mostly troubling or unconvincing. ... Mr. Romney, who plans to visit Israel this week as well as Britain and Poland, is fighting hard for support from Jewish voters. He attacked Mr. Obama for “shabby treatment” of Israel. Relations between Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are obviously tense. But the administration has backed Israel in almost every way, and Israeli leaders have publicly acknowledged that. ... at this point, what [Romney] is offering voters on American security is neither impressive nor convincing. THE TAX CLIFF ENDANGERS SENIORSBY LEWIS HAY IIIWALL STREET JOURNALMost people know that the U.S. government is rapidly approaching the edge of a fiscal cliff that will raise taxes for millions of Americans—at every income level and age. What is less known is that seniors, many of whom depend on investment income to fund their retirement, will be hurt the most. ... Higher tax rates will encourage upper-income investors to shift to other investments—here and abroad—with lower tax penalties. This could put pressure on dividend-paying companies to reduce the size of their quarterly dividend checks and to find alternative ways to return value to investors. If this happens, all taxpayers who receive dividend income, but especially seniors, would be hit. For those living on fixed incomes and counting on dividends to help pay their bills, smaller dividend checks could be devastating.AS ROMNEY SINGS, OBAMA TAKES NOTEBY MARTIN FROSTPOLITICOTV viewers are now being treated to the Republican presidential candidate singing off-key on a regular basis. If you live in a swing state, you can’t escape the ad. I don’t know how large the buy is but it looks substantial. Undoubtedly, some of President Barack Obama’s supporters are telling the campaign that enough is enough. They’re tired and uncomfortable about hearing Romney singing. But the Obama campaign should reject this advice — and keep the ad up as long as possible. ...it grabs your attention, it effectively points out Romney’s long record of outsourcing jobs as well as his many foreign investments. The message is simply stated — and impossible to misunderstand. The hardest thing in politics is to get a message through all the clutter on TV. Romney has given the Obama campaign a big assist in delivering its message. Obama’s team just has to hold on to its nerve.