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Top 5 Articles: Weekend Reading

   Posted by: Pat    in Budget/Economy, Middle East, Top Articles   Print Print

Here are this week’s top articles that GPP recommends highly.

1. Falling Between Two Stools – Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest

Mead argues that the Obama team needs to get itself together and soon or it faces a failed presidency and a diminished United States:

Finally, there is a kind of temperamental caution that has not, so far, served this President well.  Unlike George W. Bush, who liked to place large and even reckless bets, President Obama likes to hedge.  If he puts four chips on black, he almost immediately wants to put three chips on red.  He surges in Afghanistan, but time limits the surge.  He bombs Libya, but vows to keep the boots offshore.  This can look like a prudent step to limit losses; in some cases it may make bigger losses inevitable.

2. Fleecing the Facebook Generation – Bill Frezza, Forbes

A brilliantly snarky take on the young adults of America’s stubborn support for the current entitlement system:

Let me get this straight. You kids from Generation Twit, or whatever they call 20-somethings these days, are rallying to keep Washington’s Ponzi-as-you-go entitlement systems alive despite the fact that you will never see a dime for yourselves. And, stupid me, I’m wasting my breath trying to talk sense into you.

Sitting here a mere eight years from sticking my snout into the public trough, maybe I need to rethink this. Perhaps I should back off criticizing all those liberal college professors who charged your parents $50,000 a year to fill your heads with mush. Maybe they did me a favor. You graduated so brimming with altruism that you’re willing to sacrifice your own economic well-being so my college buddies and I can keep ourselves in expensive wines and fine single malts until we’re sucking them down through feeding tubes.

3. US Must Stop Libya From Becoming a Farce – Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Cordesman, one of America’s most sober and sharp foreign policy analysts, finds much to worry about in the current US-France-UK led approach in Libya:

What is already certain is that the end result was a set of decisions that focused on short term considerations and bet on the come. French, British, and US leaders do not seem to have fully coordinated, but it is clear that they sought and got international cover from the UN by claiming a no fly zone could protect civilians when their real objective was to use force as a catalyst to drive Qaddafi out of power. They seem to have assumed that a largely unknown, divided, and fractured group of rebels could win through sheer political momentum and could then be turned into a successful government. They clearly planned a limited air campaign that called for a politically safe set of strikes again against Qaddafi’s air defense and air force, and only limited follow-up in terms of ground strikes against his forces. And then, they waited for success…

4. Obama’s Sophistry on the Budget Deficit – Jay Cost, Weekly Standard

When it comes to dissecting modern politics and politicians, no one is better than Mr. Jay Cost:

Obama regularly praises some value that is expounded mostly by conservatives, then turns around to qualify or balance it with a point made by the left. This is designed to create the impression that he is in the political center, or better yet at the final stage of a dialectical process: conservatism the thesis, liberalism the antithesis, Obama the synthesis.

However, this rhetorical move is inevitably a non sequitur, and always promulgated for the same, political purpose. In the case of the deficit, and what to do about it, the president’s “faith” in the free market is completely abstract and is unrelated to the real world of political debate. Sure, he’s pro-free market in the sense that he prefers it to socialism or communism, but that has nothing to do with the contemporary political divide. Most everybody in the mainstream political discourse agrees that free markets – of some sort – are good. The country is not debating whether to become a communist country. Instead, it is debating how much the government should involve itself in the free market.

Obama knows this, of course, and his speech is intended to confuse the issue, to make it seem like his policy proposals are not as liberal as they actually are. He starts out at 30,000 feet, above the political fray, to explain and praise our shared American values, some emphasized by conservatives and others by liberals, then he quietly zooms down to the ground level to stake out a position on the left hand side of the divide, arguing speciously that this final spot is consistent with where he started out. His hope is that you will not notice the transition, and thus assume that his decidedly left wing position is in fact the one that synthesizes liberalism and conservatism.

5. Union Busting, Massachusetts Style – Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal

It appears that Wisconsin’s efforts to curb public union power is becoming more the norm, rather than the exception:

Pop quiz: What political party, in what state, this week passed a bill in the dead of night stripping public-sector unions of their collective- bargaining powers? Republicans in Wisconsin? The GOP in Ohio or Indiana?

Try Democrats in Massachusetts. Maybe the debate over public-sector benefits isn’t all that ideological after all.

What did you like? Hate? Feel free to offer your own recommendations in the comments.

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