THE HIDDEN MITT
BY JOHN HEILEMANN
NEW YORK MAGAZINE
My own guess... is... what the Romney tax returns would lay bare is the extent of his donations to his church. In this case and all others, charitable donations are something to be proud of, an entirely honorable thing. But for a candidate who has taken extravagant pains to avoid discussion of his supremely prominent role in contemporary Mormonism, the idea of a wave of news stories detailing the tens of millions of dollars that he has given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-surely making him among its most generous funders in the modern era-must be a kind of nightmare. The kind that would open a can of worms that has little to do with money and everything to do with an aspect of his life that might humanize him and be reassuring or even inspiring to millions of Americans, but that he evidently regards as a strict no-go zone.
NEW YORK TIMES
When he was campaigning for office in 2008, Barack Obama vowed to reinstate the assault weapons ban that had expired in 2004. That would have prohibited the AR-15 rifle used in the Colorado theater shooting on Friday, along with the large 100-round magazine attached to it. But as president, Mr. Obama has made no attempt to do so. Mitt Romney banned assault weapons as governor of Massachusetts and undoubtedly saved many lives, but now he opposes all gun control measures. He never repeats what he said in 2004 when he signed the ban: “Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts,” he said. “They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.” Both men fear the power of gun ideologues, particularly in swing states like Pennsylvania, Nevada and North Carolina, where many voters have fallen under the spell of a gun lobby that considers any restriction an unthinkable assault on the Constitution.
PENN STATE IS HIT HARD. IS IT ENOUGH?
BY JOE NOCERA
NEW YORK TIMES
I still think Penn State should stop playing football for awhile — not so much to atone, but to remind its fans and its community that football had become too important at Penn State; that football had, in fact, corrupted Penn State. ... at big-time sports schools, football is always placed ahead of everything else. The essential hypocrisy of college sports is that too many athletes are not real students — and no one cares. Coaches make millions and lose their jobs if they fail to win. Universities reap millions by filling stadiums and making attractive television deals. They serve as the minor leagues for the pros. Everybody knows this — including the N.C.A.A. The notion that the Penn State case is going to change all of college sports is absurd.
ROMNEY'S TAX SECRET
BY RICHARD COHEN
The din has reached such a level that even some conservatives are entreating Romney to reveal additional filings. They are not, however, imploring their candidate to identify his bundlers — for this might actually reveal who has their hooks into him. ...By and large, the tax filings tell you nothing you don’t already know. But the refusal to release them is a different matter. In Romney’s case, this is his one and only stand on principle, an odd example of political bravery. He has flipped on abortion, gun control and, of course, health-insurance reform, his signature achievement as governor of Massachusetts. But not on releasing his taxes.
UNEMPLOYMENT IS STILL THE BIGGEST ELECTION ISSUE
BY MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The Obama campaign emphasizes that "for years before the economic crisis" middle-class security had been slipping away with stagnant wages and soaring health-care costs. Still, the record of the past four years is worrying. Official unemployment under President Obama has averaged 8.8%, a record. Under George W. Bush, his predecessor, the jobless rate averaged 5.3% and was at 6.8% in the month his party lost the 2008 election. Job seekers are only one-third as likely to find a job as before Mr. Obama was elected. ... journalist Doyle McManus got it right last year when he asked another key question: "Can the president persuade voters to let him keep his job when so many of them have lost theirs?"
NRA IS REAL WINNER ON GUN LAWS
BY BILL SCHNEIDER
The National Rifle Association has won. It has succeeded in changing the national discussion from gun control to gun rights. How did that happen? ...Here’s one reason: By and large, Democrats have stopped talking about the gun issue. It’s too costly for them. In September 1994, the Democratic Congress passed an assault weapons ban and President Bill Clinton signed it. In November 1994, Democrats lost their majority in the House for the first time in 40 years. Clinton said the gun lobby had to lot to do with his party’s defeat. ... The problem is that government regulation of guns, like government regulation of culture, goes against the grain of American values.