OUR DO-ALMOST-NOTHING CONGRESSBY DANA MILBANKWASHINGTON POSTIt’s another recess week for our lazy leaders. Oh, sorry: “Constituent Work Week” is what they’re calling it these days, as if lawmakers were filling potholes and making calls to Social Security rather than raising campaign cash. By the time the Republican-led House returns next week, members will have been working in Washington on just 41 of the first 127 days of 2012 — and that was the busy part of the year. They are planning to be on vacation — er, doing “constituent work” — 17 of the year’s remaining 34 weeks, and even when they are in town the typical workweek is three days. Good work if you can get it — but the behavior is doing quite a job on the rest of us.VOTERS MIGHT APPRECIATE THE SERIOUS ROMNEYBY DOROTHY ROBINOWITZ WALL STREET JOURNALAmericans have good reason these days ... to value a candidate who not only knows but feels the meaning of the office of the presidency of the United States, its symbolism and of all that's connected to it. Standing up for that symbolism against the showbiz convention of political campaigns today wouldn't be a bad way to begin Mr. Romney's run for the White House—if his handlers allow it. Someone should tell them it's not the gender gap, stupid—it's backbone. Mr. Romney will begin looking good to voters, women included, when he starts flashing some.
FINALLY, AIRLINE CONSOLIDATIONBY HOLMAN JENKINSWALL STREET JOURNALIt hasn't been pretty, but the political system slowly, slowly is adapting to the deregulation it unleashed. Don't expect hub-and-spoke carriers finally to become financially attractive businesses. Do expect vicious fights between shareholders and labor over any profits that may become available. Do expect marauding cherry pickers like Southwest and JetBlue to continue to make life miserable. Cartelization may be the legacy industry's last, best hope of breaking the bankruptcy cycle while preserving the costly-to-operate networks that connect small-town America to small-town America.OBAMA'S SPEECH SURE TO FRUSTRATE REPUBLICANSBY GEORGE CONDON JR. NATIONAL JOURNALIn going to Afghanistan and addressing the nation about the state of the decade-long war, President Obama did exactly what Republicans long have been urging him to do. But in doing so on the anniversary of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, he sure didn’t do it the way they wanted him to—certainly not if it reminded voters of the single greatest accomplishment of his presidency. ... But it was [a message] a commander in chief should deliver and one he should have delivered earlier. But even in an election year and even amid criticism of the timing, it was something he owed to voters who wanted to know more about his timeline and his strategy to lift what he called "the dark cloud of war."POLITICS AND THE ENDLESS WARBY JOE SCARBOROUGHPOLITICOReality means Americans who were not even born on Sept. 11, 2001, will be occupying Afghanistan 20 years after those attacks. Never mind that the epicenter of Al Qaeda's operation has moved to Yemen or that U.S. taxpayers are doling out $2 billion a week on a war whose main purpose is propping up one of the most corrupt regimes on the face of the Earth. ... The takeaway of President Obama's speech ... is simple. The neocons won, the troops lost and the endless war grinds on in a land that humbled the Soviet Union, the British Empire and Alexander the Great. Good luck with that, Mr. President.