wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

The Post Most: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program.

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share

Join a Discussion

There are no discussions scheduled today.

Weekly schedule, past shows

Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 02/02/2012

Morning Bits

The best nemesis for Mitt Romney. “A central component of [Newt] Gingrich’s argument for his candidacy is that he would be able to stand up to Obama in a debate — regularly drawing cheers at campaign stops when he challenges the president to seven Lincoln-Douglas style debates. But Romney has turned those expectations around, schooling Gingrich in the two most recent debates, and showing the base he has the mettle to take on Obama. Gingrich’s attacks on Romney’s Bain Capital record, especially, have prepared him for the attacks certain to come from the Obama campaign.”

The best you can say is that it’s no worse than the other 45 remaining states. “Newt Gingrich’s Nevada campaign appears in disarray.”

Jim Pethokoukis puts it best: “[President Obama is] not a victim. There’s nothing stopping him from proposing deep spending cuts to reduce the continuing deluge of debt. The true cost of Obama’s fiscal policies isn’t just what he proposes but what he doesn’t propose. What is the cost of Obama’s decision to reject the findings of his own debt panel? If the Bowles-Simpson plan kicked in this year, projected deficits would fall by $3 trillion through the end of Obama’s second term. Should the president not be blamed for that, blamed for not leading, blamed for not ever proposing a long-term budget plan like Representative Paul Ryan has?”

The best you can say for the Obama economy is that it’s no longer shedding jobs. “U.S. economic growth is widely expected to slow in early 2012 from the 2.8 percent pace in the final quarter of 2011, an outlook backed up by Wednesday’s data. . . . [J]ob growth among private employers slowed as companies added 170,000 jobs last month, the ADP National Employment Report showed. It was shy of economists’ expectations for a gain of 185,000 jobs. It was the smallest gain in three months, though it was still in line with economists’ forecasts for private job gains in the more comprehensive U.S. government labor market report . . . .

The calendar is Romney’s best friend now. “[Rick] Santorum’s enemy is the calendar. Romney has a campaign that is built to compete in multiple states and media markets simultaneously. Santorum does not. He needs to grind it out in states, taking advantage of free media and retail politics. We are entering the phase of the race where the candidates won’t have weeks to work a single state. That’s why it was important for a conservative candidate to emerge in the early states, while everyone was competing on more or less even terms. Both Gingrich and Santorum have failed to qualify for the ballot or submit full slates of delegates in states they could conceivably win.”

Not the best news for Gingrich. Jon Ward found among Tea Party leaders around the country “a striking lack of enthusiasm for Gingrich, even among those who supported him in South Carolina, where grassroots support clearly drove Gingrich’s big win.”

The best thing about Romney’s campaign is that it shows significant executive prowess. “So for all the talk about volatility, unpredictability, twists and turns and surprises, the race is just about where Romney’s team had hoped it would be. That speaks to the patience and discipline of the leaders of the operation, and the candidate’s ability to make adjustments when they are required. Long ago, Romney’s advisers said they would run their own race, regardless of what challengers emerged. They stuck to that plan and it has paid off.”

James Taranto makes the best, unabashed defense of Romney’s “very poor” remarks: “Romney’s approach actually is hardheaded and realistic. The current difficulties of the economy are much more urgent, and more tractable, than the social problems associated with the ‘underclass,’ which, as we argued last month, have their origins in deep cultural changes that are beyond the capability of any president to undo.” In other words, he’s right. (Moreover, if conservative critics, as Santorum does, ever concerned themselves with the poor, when not beating Romney over the head on the issue, their complaints might sound more sincere.)

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 02/02/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company