ORDINARY LEADERS, EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
BY JOE SCARBOROUGH
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama seek to lead a country caught in an economic downfall that neither candidate seems capable of reversing because both lack the vision of a Roosevelt or a Ronald Reagan. The realities of that 30-year economic decline became inevitable as soon as those vanquished during World War II began rebuilding their factories. China’s entrance into a globalized market in 1978 eventually diluted America’s power further, as did Brazil and India’s ascent. ... The balancing act demanded by the moment — of how to stimulate growth while simultaneously addressing long-term debt — would be a vexing enough problem for great presidents. The Roosevelts, Lincoln, and Reagan would find themselves frustrated by the challenge. Obama and Romney simply appear incapable of rising to meet the challenges of this historic moment.
ROMNEY'S TERRIBLE CHOICE
BY DANA MILBANK
If the [sequestrian] defense cuts are Obama’s, they are also John Boehner’s, Eric Cantor’s, Mitch McConnell’s and Jon Kyl’s. The bill passed with the votes of a majority of House and Senate Republicans and the encouragement of — wait for it — Mitt Romney. A Romney spokeswoman at the time said he applauded Boehner’s negotiating prowess. ...If Romney wants to keep his vow not to cut Social Security and Medicare for those age 55 and older, he’d need to shut down all functions of the departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Interior, Justice, Labor and Treasury as well as the National Institutes of Health. That hardly seems plausible; nobody would be left to collect tax revenue for the Pentagon. So which one will Romney choose: defense spending or tax cuts?
WHO WILL GET TOUGH ON CHINA?
BY MATT MILLER
If our presidential candidates can’t say “boo” to the National Rifle Association, how will they ever stand up to China? ...China’s rise as an economic power is a good thing for the world, and a great thing for the Chinese people. China is not the source of all our economic woes. But China’s brazen currency manipulation and routine theft of American intellectual property has tilted the playing field unfairly against U.S. jobs. ...When the other guy isn’t playing fair, after all, standing up to them isn’t “protectionism” — it’s economic self-defense. Doing nothing in the face of China’s behavior means playing the patsy.
AMERICA'S TWO ECONOMIES
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL
For a long time, the United States had one economy. Now we have two economies that compete for America's wealth: A private economy and a public economy. The 2012 election will decide which will be subordinate to the other. One economy will lead. The other will follow. ... President Obama is right: This is a choice between two paths into the American future, the clearest choice since the end of World War II. It is a mandate election. Barack Obama is explicitly seeking a mandate to make the public economy pre-eminent. That is the unmistakable meaning of "You didn't build that." His opponent so far is talking about, but not seeking a mandate for, the other economy. One expects that in time Mitt Romney will seek a mandate equal to Mr. Obama's.
A TALE OF TWO WORLDS
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Mr. Romney was right to score President Obama for ordering a premature pullout from Afghanistan this summer to satisfy his left-wing base in time for the election. But the Governor left the details of his own Afghan policy vague, opening himself up to Vice President Joe Biden's counterpunch that "it is hard to know where he stands."...With little to show for its main foreign policy initiatives, the Obama campaign will play to war fatigue. The public may be tired of conflict, but Americans still expect a President to lead the world and shape it. The Obama policy of disengagement abroad is merely storing up trouble that a President Romney would have to address immediately.