STATE OF COOL
BY MAUREEN DOWD
NEW YORK TIMES
Hillary has a history of being more popular when she seems less in control. The Monica fiasco made her such a sympathetic figure that she glided into a Senate seat. Losing to Obama and becoming his hard-working subordinate has, at times, won her higher approval ratings than the president. So now that she seems ready to leave the stage at 64 and take a deserved nap, she is at her least polarizing. ... Hillary, who kept the press at a distance in 2008, is now well-liked by the press corps traveling with her around the world. Unlike Obama, she seems to enjoy going out with reporters and having a cocktail after a hard day of trilats.
I'M NOT MITT ROMNEY
BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
[Obama] would have angered the Tea Party and his left wing, which would have shown him as a strong leader ready to make hard choices — and isolated Romney-Ryan on the fringe. Instead, Obama is running on a suboptimal plan — when we absolutely must have optimal — and the slogan “I’m not Mitt Romney.” If he’s lucky, he might win by a whisker. If Obama went big, and dared to lead, he’d win for sure, and so would the country, because he’d have a mandate to do what needs doing.
THE HIGH COST OF GAMBLING ON OIL
BY JOSEPH P. KENNEDY
NEW YORK TIMES
Federal legislation should bar pure oil speculators entirely from commodity exchanges in the United States. And the United States should use its clout to get European and Asian markets to follow its lead, chasing oil speculators from the world’s commodity markets. Eliminating pure speculation on oil futures is a question of fairness. The choice is between a world of hedge-fund traders who make enormous amounts of money at the expense of people who need to drive their cars and heat their homes, and a world where the fundamentals of life — food, housing, health care, education and energy — remain affordable for all.
MR. OBAMA AND THE 'BUFFETT RULE'
NEW YORK TIMES
The Buffett Rule is a compelling symbol, but it comes with policy risks. ... The discussion of inequality must not end with a debate on taxes. To ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared among all Americans, Washington must do a lot more to strengthen the institutions that foster broad prosperity. Those include public education, universal health care, Social Security, affirmative action, financial regulation and the minimum wage. Mr. Obama has set his campaign in the right direction. But it is only a start.
IN GETTYSBURG, RICK SANTORUM SURRENDERS
BY DANA MILBANK
With his trademark bravado, [Santorum] boasted of accomplishing “things that no political expert would have ever expected.” And he compared himself to another politician who once visited Gettysburg. “What I tried to bring to the battle was what Abraham Lincoln brought to this battlefield back in 1863 on November 19th,” Santorum said. “He talked about this country being conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Yes, Santorum, like Lincoln, spoke at Gettysburg. But it’s a safe bet that the world will little note nor long remember Santorum’s version.
THE OBAMA RULE
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The Buffett rule is really nothing more than a sneaky way for Mr. Obama to justify doubling the capital gains and dividend tax rate to 30% from 15% today. That's the real spread-the-wealth target. The problem is that this is a tax on capital that is needed for firms to grow and hire more workers. Mr. Obama says he wants an investment-led recovery, not one led by consumption, but how will investment be spurred by doubling the tax on it?
THE MEANING OF SANTORUM
BY JON MEACHAM
Rick Santorum's suspension of his campaign on Tuesday ended the most interesting chapter thus far in the 2012 presidential race. A tough-minded conservative who believes strongly in both the economic and cultural creeds of modern conservatism, Santorum did well in large measure because he was what he was: a self-styled prophetic figure who spoke convincingly about the alleged excesses of the Obama administration because he is actually convinced that the White House is bent on a kind of big-government Orwellianism. That Santorum did so well in the GOP contests this year — including winning Iowa — suggests there remains a True Believer element in the Republican base that may or may not turn out in strength for Mitt Romney come November.