THE BEST VP FOR ROMNEY
BY MICHAEL GERSON
...The trend of the last few weeks favors Chris Christie. The 2012 election has already proved to be a vicious, negative slugfest. In the last few weeks, Romney has been accused of committing a felony, avoiding taxes for a decade and contributing to the death of a woman with cancer. ...Romney, his family and staff are likely to feel offended and aggrieved. The question they are probably asking themselves is not: Who is the best vice presidential pick? Rather, it is: Who is the best wartime vice presidential pick? Christie would clearly play it best. He is the only one who seems to relish this sort of political conflict. And he has good reason to relish it. He is a natural, a prodigy, at the art of confrontation. It is one thing to pit Ohio or Minnesota or Wisconsin against the Chicago way. I predict that Romney will want — and Republicans will welcome — Jersey vs. Chicago.
THE DO-NOTHING DOCTRINE
BY MICHAEL GERSON
Obama’s foreign policy team is sometimes praised for its pragmatism, realism, restraint and strategic modesty. Obama himself is said to transcend old ideological divisions. ... But there is a point when ideological detachment becomes inconsistency and irresolution... In many parts of the world, the Obama doctrine has become an exercise in kicking the can down the road, avoiding or playing down problems that will only grow more complex and dangerous with time. ... They make a virtue of ceded leadership. And these convictions are reinforced by a political calculation: Who wants to make tough, perilous foreign policy choices in the middle of an election season? But the result is relevant to the election. Obama’s doctrine of deferred decisions will leave a series of risky endgames for whoever is elected in November, even if it is Obama himself.
HOW TO CUT $4 TRILLION
BY ERSKINE BOWLES
This month, Romney said that his tax reform proposal is “very similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan.” How I wish it were. I will be the first to cheer if Romney decides to embrace our plan. Unfortunately, the numbers say otherwise: His reform plan leaves too many tax breaks in place and, as a result, does nothing to reduce the debt. ... although I give Romney credit for pledging to reform the tax code to reduce loopholes, his current proposal will not take us to the promised land. Our commission’s tax plan broadens the base, simplifies the code, reduces tax expenditures and generates $1 trillion for deficit reduction while making the tax code more progressive. The Romney plan, by sticking to revenue-neutrality and leaving in place tax breaks, would raise taxes on the middle class and do nothing to shrink the deficit.
ROMNEY'S VP: THE CASE FOR A REFORMER
BY KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
WALL STREET JOURNAL
...The Romney opportunity here is to use his veep pick to add to his campaign, to define it and inspire it. By picking one of the party's new-generation stars—Mr. Ryan, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Christie—Mr. Romney would firmly place himself in the camp of the forward-looking reformers. He would reassure voters that he is not just voicing platitudes about fiscal responsibility, entitlement reform or tax overhaul—but that he is committed to them. It would help emphasize Mr. Romney's contrast with Mr. Obama. It would blunt the left's argument that Mr. Romney wants a return to the Bush years, since the Ryans and Rubios of the world were themselves critics of that time. It could lift the campaign with all walks of voters, not just those in one state or demographic.
RON PAUL AND THE TEA PARTY PLAYBOOK
BY DAVID KIRBY
Republican candidates must increasingly win over both Paul and tea party supporters on economic issues. Libertarians and the tea party movement are intertwined in ways the campaigns and the media have yet to fully appreciate. Tea party supporters are actually united on economics, but split on social issues... Left-leaning pundits are anxious to dismiss the tea party as the same old religious right. But the evidence shows they are wrong. Functionally libertarian candidates who focus on fiscal, not social, issues increasingly unite the tea party in primaries and then win general election voters concerned about the economy. The tea party playbook is more Paul than Santorum: Libertarianism is becoming a winning strategy for candidates of a major party.