MR. ROMNEY’S FINANCIAL BLACK HOLE
NEW YORK TIMES
Mr. Romney has resisted all demands for more disclosure, leading to growing criticism from Democrats that he is trying to hide his fortune and his tax schemes from the public. Given the troubling suspicions about his finances, he needs to release many more returns and quickly open his books to full scrutiny. ... Mr. Romney also has not fully explained the nature of his separation agreement with Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he founded, which he left in 1999. Last month, his trust reported receiving a $2 million payment from Bain as part of unpaid earnings from his work there. Of the 138 Bain funds organized in the Cayman Islands, Mr. Romney has interests in 12, worth up to $30 million, according to Vanity Fair. Though the Romney campaign has often distanced itself from Bain’s recent corporate takeover work, voters have no way of knowing how much the candidate has received from Bain since he left, or how much is coming.
OBAMA THE SOCIALIST? NOT EVEN CLOSE
BY MILOS FORMAN
NEW YORK TIMES
Whatever his faults, I don’t see much of a socialist in Mr. Obama or, thankfully, signs of that system in this great nation. Mr. Obama is accused of trying to expand the reach of government — into health care, financial regulation, the auto industry and so on. It’s fair to question whether the federal government should have expanded powers: America, to its credit, has debated this since its birth. But let’s be clear about how frightening socialism actually could be. I’m not sure Americans today appreciate quite how predatory socialism was. It was not — as Mr. Obama’s detractors suggest — merely a government so centralized and bloated that it hobbled private enterprise: it was a spoils system that killed off everything, all in the name of “social justice.
THE MISSING GIANTS OF THE SENATE
BY DANA MILBANK
There are no giants in the chamber today, no figure with the stature of a Kennedy who could carry 10 votes with his mere presence. There is no longer a revered figure — a Byrd, a Dole, a Moynihan, a Chafee, a Nunn, a John Warner — whose authority could transcend party and the usual arithmetic of vote counting. Some have died. Some have retired. Others, such as Hatch and John McCain, have been lost to the exigencies of survival in a hyperpartisan political system.
THE OFFSHORING DEBATE
BY ROBERT J. SAMUELSON
Lost in all this back-and-forth was perspective on how much offshoring reduced U.S. job growth. The answer: probably not much. ...Offshoring is a powerful political symbol, because it seems unpatriotic (helping foreigners at the expense of Americans) and heartless (putting profits over people). But economics is not politics. The success or failure of the next president in reducing unemployment will depend mostly on how much — or how little — his policies influence Americans to spend, hire and shed their present pessimism. This should be the focus of our attention and of the national debate.
BY E.J. DIONNE JR.
One of the problems facing President Obama has been to make clear that the popular things he wants to do are being blocked by Republicans in Congress. If voters think that “Washington” or “the political system” is broken, they are as likely to blame inaction on Obama as on the Republicans. Obama, after all, is president. ... One of the central skirmishes over the next four months will be over whether Obama takes the blame for Washington gridlock or whether voters place the onus squarely on Republicans in Congress. By challenging Congress “to do what we agree on,” Obama is trying to highlight what is actually going on. This will be one of the most important definitional struggles of the campaign.