Bob Woodward in The Washington Post on why Obama chose Hagel He might have more access to the White House's most guarded conversations than any other journalist, and in today's Washington Post opinion pages, Bob Woodward uses his insight to divine why, exactly, President Obama settled on Chuck Hagel as his next secretary of defense. "The two share similar views and philosophies as the Obama administration attempts to define the role of the United States in the transition to a post-superpower world," Woodward writes, citing conversations Hagel and Obama held early in the president's first term. "This worldview is part hawk and part dove. It amounts, in part, to a challenge to the wars of President George W. Bush. It holds that the Afghanistan war has been mismanaged and the Iraq war unnecessary. War is an option, but very much a last resort ... Applying such a doctrine in today’s dangerous and unpredictable world will be daunting—but on these issues Obama seems to have found a soul mate."
Paul Krugman in The New York Times on so-called takers The way Paul Krugman sees it, the term "class warfare" has undergone a shift in recent years. It used to be a defense mechanism for an upper class that felt besieged by populists. But now it's been turned around on elites, and liberals are becoming more class conscious than ever. Republicans, in response, have been trying to appeal to middle-class Americans by distancing themselves from previous statements. "Paul Ryan, for example, has lately made a transparently dishonest attempt to claim that when he spoke about 'takers' living off the efforts of the 'makers' ... he wasn’t talking about people receiving Social Security and Medicare," writes Krugman, who isn't buying it. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal also recently tried to describe the GOP as "a populist party," to which Krugman replies, "No, you aren’t. You’re a party that holds a large proportion of Americans in contempt. And the public may have figured that out."