EXIT NICOLAS SARKOZY
NEW YORK TIMES
Mr. Hollande has already made clear that he intends to restructure France’s economic policies, attacking the country’s deficit by raising taxes on the rich and big corporations while using government programs to stimulate growth and create more jobs. ... The United States economy is doing better than most of Europe. But the austerity debate continues here, too. So is there a warning for House Republicans who have endorsed Representative Paul Ryan’s draconian budget? ... Controlling deficits is important, but too much austerity too soon will stall a recovery, or worse, and wreak havoc on lives. Europe’s grim growth numbers prove that. And voters in Europe have figured it out.
AUSTERITY AS A BRIDGE TO NOWHERE
BY EUGENE ROBINSON
Economic austerity is a dangerous, self-defeating intellectual fad. Perhaps I should say that’s what it was, given Sunday’s election results in Europe. ... Voters in France, Greece and even Germany — a hotbed of the austerity cult — told their political leaders, in no uncertain terms, that boosting economic growth is more important than cutting government spending. Here in the United States, I hope that Democrats, at least, were paying attention. ... Mitt Romney and the GOP subscribe to the pro-austerity view. They are, of course, entitled to their opinion, even if it happens to be wrong. I sincerely wish them all the electoral success their ideological allies are having across the Atlantic.
GOODBYE, HOPE AND CHANGE
BY MICHAEL GERSON
Gone are the vast ambitions of national progress and healing. In Ohio on Saturday, Obama made a methodical appeal to various voting blocks. ... And he accused the GOP of trickle-down hostility to the middle class. ... The president may persuade voters with this message, but he apparently has given up trying to inspire them. ... [A]s the Hyde Park Obama fades, the South Side Obama becomes less appealing. All of the atmospheric elements of politics — unity, bipartisanship and common purpose — are significantly worse than four years ago. This is not all Obama’s fault. But he is choosing — in a campaign so nasty, so early — to make it worse. At some point, ruthlessness just leaves ruins.
RUSSIA'S STRONGMAN IS LOSING HIS GRIP
BY MASHA LIPMAN
In his inaugural address Monday, Putin spoke about unity, common goals and ideals — a direct insult to those tens of thousands who protested his rule and the others (possibly as much as a third of Russians) who sympathize with their cause. Now that their tacit pact with Putin has been ruptured, it can’t be restored. Putin continues to react to their challenge with authoritarian policies and hypocritical rhetoric, which are, in turn, bound to broaden their ranks and further erode his legitimacy. The emergence of a cohesive opposition force will be only a matter of time.
VP BIDEN'S GAY-MARRIAGE GAFFE IS MESS FOR WHITE HOUSE
BY DANA MILBANK
If Vice President Biden continues to make public appearances during this campaign, White House press secretary Jay Carney should be offered a membership in the janitors’ union. ... The vice president said he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, committing the classic Washington gaffe of accidentally speaking the truth. This bit of straight talk made Obama’s position — neither for nor against such unions but in an evolutionary state, not unlike the Galapagos finch — all the more untenable. On Monday, Biden took off for a campaign event in Tennessee, leaving Carney on cleanup duty. But the more Carney swabbed the mess, the more it spread.
NO COMPARISON BETWEEN OBAMA AND ROMNEY ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
BY JONATHAN CAPEHART
At the Human Rights Campaign dinner in 2009, President Obama told the crowd, “I . . . appreciate that many of you don’t believe progress has come fast enough. I want to be honest about that, because it’s important to be honest among friends.” At the same dinner last October, he said, “[Y]ou’ve got every right to push against the slow pace of change.” And so I have pushed the president on his charade-like stance on same-sex marriage in two posts today. But make no mistake: There is no comparison between Obama and Mitt Romney when it comes to respecting the dignity of gay men and lesbians and their families. Romney’s position on gay rights is about as fluid as the Charles River. It once flowed in the right direction. Not anymore.
OBAMA AND THE POLITICS OF GAY MARRIAGE
BY BETH REINARD
The chance that President Obama will finish “evolving” on gay marriage before November is about as slim as the winning margin he or Mitt Romney can assume in this horserace. ... Obama’s senior campaign advisor, David Axelrod, ducked questions Monday about the apparent daylight between Biden and Obama on gay marriage, pivoting instead to, “There couldn’t be a starker contrast on this issue than with Gov. Romney.'' That Axelrod chose to emphasize the differences with the presumptive Republican nominee instead of explaining the president's nuanced position was another tell-tale sign that the politics of gay marriage are at work.