'THE MOST VOLATILE REPUBLICAN RACE IN DECADES' IS ACTUALLY WELL SETTLED BY ERICK ERICKSON
The Washington GOP establishment may have fallen for Mitt Romney, but they are both foolish and naive to think they can beat something with nothing. Mitt Romney is, in fact, a great big nothing — malleable into any shape you want, a void into which you can place any policy position. That’s a problem nationally, but it is also a problem down ballot with coat tails. The race for the GOP nomination is well settled at this point. It is settled in ‘Not Romney’s’ favor. The reason the race is so volatile is that “Not Romney” is not on the ballot making a Romney nomination not just possible, but probable.
MY MAN NEWT BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES
As one commentator astutely noted, Gingrich is a historian and a futurist who can’t seem to handle the present. He has more exploding cigars in his pocket than the president with whom he had the volatile bromance: Bill Clinton. But next to Romney, Gingrich seems authentic. Next to Herman Cain, Gingrich seems faithful. Next to Jon Huntsman, Gingrich seems conservative. Next to Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Gingrich actually does look like an intellectual. ... Maybe the ideal man to fix Washington’s dysfunction is the one who made it dysfunctional. He broke it so he should own it. And Newt has the best reason to long for the presidency: He’d never be banished to the back of Air Force One again.
GERMANY’S DENIAL, EUROPE’S DISASTER BY EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES
Each day Europe inches closer to a full economic meltdown, but Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany is still blocking what is needed: a real bailout of Europe’s weakest economies by their richer neighbors or the European Central Bank. … German officials are still insisting that their profligate neighbors need to pay for their sinful ways — and that Germany’s virtuous taxpayers will not be made to foot the bill. … Europe has the resources to bail out the weak and save itself. What it doesn’t have is a lot of time to do it.
SOME THOUGHTS FOR THE SHOPPING SEASON BY EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES
The big banks canceled plans for new debit card fees after their customers rebelled and members of Congress objected. But if Americans think their debit card problems are over, they’re wrong. ... In a report on safe checking earlier this year, The Pew Charitable Trusts found that the 10 largest banks reserved the right to reorder debit card transactions and process the largest withdrawals first. That will drain an account more quickly and could generate multiple overdraft charges. ... [B]anks should be required to disclose important checking account terms in a brief document, refrain from posting deposits and withdrawals in a manner that increases overdrafts and make overdraft fees reasonable and proportional to the customer’s offense. That all makes very good sense.
BARNEY THE BULLY: CONGRESSMAN FRANK'S OTHER LEGACY BY DANA MILBANK
The morning after his retirement announcement, Rep. Barney Frank scored an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, gaining the opportunity to act as an elder statesman in front of a TV audience of millions. Instead, the Massachusetts Democrat chose to quarrel with the interviewer. ... It was a chance for the nation to see what so many in the Capitol had seen up close over the years: That Barney Frank, liberal lion, gay pioneer and respected legislator, is also one mean and ornery S.O.B. ... The Republicans often deserved what they got from Barney. And, unlike Rove, I will miss Frank’s tart tongue. But he would have been a more successful lawmaker if he had learned that it’s sometimes better to hold it.
THE WRONG WAY TO WALK ABOUT CHINA BY EUGENE ROBINSON
The U.S. and Chinese economies will be the two largest in the world through much of this century — and that they are so codependent that talk of one country running all over the other is nonsensical. ... The last thing Chinese officials would want is to do meaningful damage to our economy, because the more quickly we return to steady growth, the more secure China can be that all the money it lent us will be paid back. ... So this is really a dispute over issues that shouldn’t be addressed with chest-pounding and tough-guy threats. The solution involves negotiation and simple arithmetic — and both sides have a powerful incentive to reach an accord.
ABOUT THAT JET PLANE BUBBLE BY EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL
A question that must keep Airbus and Boeing up at night is whether the aircraft boom (which didn't even pause for the 2008 financial panic) could turn into a giant bust just as plane makers are spending billions to lift production to unprecedented rates. ... [The] big picture would hardly seem a pretty basis for the long-term bets that plane makers and their vast supplier networks are making in ever higher output. Yet the stock prices of Airbus and Boeing don't seem worried, and neither do analysts. ... Airbus, of course, is too big to fail—Airbus is too big not to receive subsidies even in the best of times. And you only had to listen to President Obama, on his recent Asian trip, taking credit for Boeing's sale to Lion Air to suspect Boeing, in a pinch, would become an implicit ward of the state too. ...[Ap]parently, while the music is playing, even Boeing and Airbus have to get up and dance.
WHERE WERE PENN STATE'S TRUSTEES? BY ANNE NEAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL
We must hold boards accountable. Board members are acting in trust for taxpayers and students. If they do not act to ensure quality and integrity, then they are putting our students and our country's future at risk. Faculty are typically committed to their disciplines. Administrators regularly focus on the growth of their institutions. It is the governing board's duty to address these competing priorities. It is the trustees' duty to ensure that the distinctive educational purpose of the American university remains at the forefront of every other activity. Every college governing board should interpret Penn State's troubles as a clear warning of what happens when institutions lose sight of their educational mission.
CONSERVATIVES SHOULD THINK TWICE ABOUT NEWT BY EDITORIAL
Gingrich has been seen as an ultimate Washington insider, as exemplified in that $1.6 million he was paid to represent Fannie and Freddie, and his work with Nancy Pelosi on behalf of cap-and-trade. Such facts make it difficult not to view Gingrich as an exemplar of Washington's professional Republican politicians who talk the talk to get elected, but often don't walk it once in office. He has an answer for such worries no doubt, but will it persuade Republican voters, many of whom watched in frustration as the Contract with America faded into political oblivion?