FOUR LITTLE WORDS
BY KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
WALL STREET JOURNAL
"You didn't build that" is swelling to such heights that it has the president somewhere unprecedented: on defense. Mr. Obama has felt compelled—for the first time in this campaign—to cut an ad in which he directly responds to the criticisms of his now-infamous speech, complaining his opponents took his words "out of context." ... The Obama campaign has elevated poll-testing and focus-grouping to near-clinical heights, and the results drive the president's every action: his policies, his campaign venues, his targeted demographics, his messaging. That Mr. Obama felt required—teeth-gritted—to address the "you didn't build that" meme means his vaunted focus groups are sounding alarms.
US MUST REMEMBER IT IS NOT JUST ANY COUNTRY
BY CONDOLEEZZA RICE
If Americans want the tectonic plates of the international system to settle in a way that makes the world safer, freer and more prosperous, the US must overcome its reluctance to lead. We will have to stand up for and promote the power and promise of free markets and free peoples, and affirm that American pre-eminence safeguards rather than impedes global progress. ...The American people have to be inspired to lead again. They need to be reminded that the US is not just any other country: we are exceptional in the clarity of our conviction that free markets and free peoples hold the key to the future, and in our willingness to act on those beliefs. Failure to do so would leave a vacuum, likely filled by those who will not champion a balance of power that favours freedom. That would be a tragedy for American interests and values and those who share them.
HOW TO BREAK NRA'S GRIP ON POLITICS
BY MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
The NRA is a $200 million-plus-a-year lobbying juggernaut, with much of its funding coming from gun manufacturers and merchandising. More than anything, the NRA is a marketing organization, and its flagship product is fear. Gun sales jumped after Obama was elected president, based on the absurd -- and now demonstrably false -- fear that he would seek to ban guns. There is one particular fear the NRA manufactures with great success: fear of electoral defeat. Romney has walked away from the assault-weapons ban he once supported, and in nearly four years, Obama has offered no legislation to rein in illegal guns. In Congress, the NRA threatens lawmakers who fail to do its ideological bidding, although its record in defeating candidates is much more myth than reality.
LONDON STRUTS ON THE WORLD STAGE
BY SERGEI LOBANOV-ROSTOVSKY
NEW YORK TIMES
It’s no accident that all this theater is taking place in a Britain staggered by economic meltdown, a controversial austerity budget and a crisis of political legitimacy following the hacking scandal, which exposed the cozy relationship between News Corporation and the nation’s elite. At times of political or economic crisis, the British have always turned to spectacles as a way of projecting — or creating — power. ... When London last staged the Olympics, in 1948, the capital was still scarred by bomb damage, ration cards were required to buy food, and the athletes were housed in the homes of volunteers. But these “Austerity Games” showed the world the city’s resilience at a time when postwar rebuilding had only just begun. In contemporary Britain, austerity may once again be the political reality, but where there’s no bread, there can apparently be circuses.
WHY HE'S GOING WHERE HE'S GOING
BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
Unlike Barack Obama, Romney abroad will not be admonishing his country, criticizing his president or declaring himself a citizen of the world. Indeed, Romney should say nothing of substance, just offer effusive expressions of affection for his hosts — and avoid needless contretemps, like his inexplicably dumb and gratuitous critique of Britain’s handling of the Olympic Games. The whole point is to show appreciation for close allies, something the current president has conspicuously failed to do.