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Must Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, November 23, 2011


GO BIG, MR. OBAMA  BY THOMAS FRIEDMANNEW YORK TIMESMy gut says that if the president lays out such a plan — one that begins with him taking all the political risks on himself and then demanding the G.O.P. and his own party follow — he will be both defining himself and the future in a way that would earn him so much centrist support and respect that it would leave every possible Republican opponent in the dust, no matter how obstructionist they are or want to be. Go big, Mr. President. You will win, and so will America.

HOW MANY PRIMARIES IN NEW YORK?  BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESNew York State, which will struggle with a deficit projected to be more than $3 billion in 2012, is facing the ridiculous and costly possibility of holding three primaries next year instead of the usual two in presidential election years. ... With each primary costing up to $50 million statewide. ... Some Republicans have argued for an August primary, but that is a flawed idea because the vacation season could discourage people from voting. New York’s lawmakers should have set a reasonable primary date before the 2010 election as required by federal law. Voters should not be forced to foot the bill for an extra state primary because of the Legislature’s continued intransigence.

PENN STATE'S INQUIRY  BY EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESAny relevant information gathered by these separate inquiries should be forwarded to the prosecutors. Ultimately, Penn State will need reforms that cannot be addressed by criminal prosecution alone. To restore public trust, Mr. Freeh’s investigation must examine the university’s culture and policies that have allowed the alleged crimes to go unreported to the authorities for so long.

FOREIGN POLICY FACE-OFF  BY JENNIFER RUBINWASHINGTON POSTThe foreign policy debate Tuesday night was a surprise on many counts. It was lively and serious, which many debates haven’t been. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) exceeded expectations. Rick Santorum showed personal restraint (not complaining about the lack of attention) and displaying his depth of knowledge. As one might imagine, Herman Cain was perhaps the least comfortable man on the stage while Mitt Romney was the most at ease. Texas Gov. Rick Perry had some moments but some rather bad ones as well. The big surprise was Newt Gingrich, who not only failed to impress but created some problems for himself. ... To sum up, then, the winners tonight: Romney, Bachmann, Romney, AEI and Heritage, and Wolf Blitzer. The losers: Cain, Huntsman, Paul. Potential problems: Gingrich on immigration.

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE GOP'S 2012 PRESIDENTIAL WANNABES?  BY KATHLEEN PARKERWASHINGTON POSTAnother debate, another episode of “The Dating Game.” Will the winner be contestant No. 1, 2 . . . 8? The truth is, everyone has always known who the Republican nominee will be, but we enjoy the game. For a while. By now, self-caricature has evolved into full-blown self-mockery, and the debate season has begun to wear thinner than an unmanly man’s pizza crust. ... [Of] Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney, one of whom will be the nominee and very possibly the next president ... And although both candidates have perfect hair, the nominee will not be a woman.

THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT CAN'T BE SPRAYED AWAY  BY KATRINA VANDEN HEUVELWASHINGTON POSTIf the movement can occupy the national debate for long enough, it can change it. And if it channels its passion, anger and hopes into workable strategies, it might actually forge a new politics. That chapter is being written right now by Americans all over this country, including and especially that small group of college students in California who stood up for what they believed in, and then refused to stand down.

IF ONLY OBAMA HAD BEEN THIS GUY  BY HOLMAN JENKINSWALL STREET JOURNALMr. Obama, if he had the political creativity he credits himself with, would now pick it up and run with it, instantly redeeming the super-committee "failure" with an act of presidential leadership. The suspicion becomes nigh irresistible, however, that Mr. Obama is lacking in the leadership department as the country stumbles towards its ultimate financial crisis. But give him credit for one world-historical achievement: He makes Carter look good.

CONSERVATIVES, ROMNEY, AND ELECTABILITY  BY MICHAEL MEDVEDWALL STREET JOURNALThe notion that ideologically pure conservative candidates can win by disregarding centrists and magically producing previously undiscovered legions of true-believer voters remains a fantasy. It is not a strategy. At the moment, it is easy to imagine Mitt Romney appealing to many citizens who would never consider Rick Perry or Herman Cain. It is much harder (if not impossible) to describe the sort of voter—Republican, Democrat or independent—who would refuse to support Mr. Romney (over Barack Obama!) but would somehow eagerly back Messrs. Perry, Cain or Gingrich, let alone Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum or Ron Paul. Conservatives, as well as their moderate and progressive neighbors, may have plenty of reasons to oppose Mitt Romney in favor of some rival candidate. Electability can't reasonably count as one of them.