Margaret Carlson on why Cain's moment could last "In the nontraditional-campaign-cum-performance-art that is Herman Cain's quest for the presidency, what doesn't kill him may make him stronger," writes Margaret Carlson in Bloomberg View. Cain's campaign is "in crisis mode" after a Politico story revealed the National Restaurant Association paid settlements to two women who accused Cain of sexual harassment. But in campaign events, Cain has maintained his "sunny salesmanship act." So maybe, Carlson admits, the "infatuation" with Cain won't end as it has with other candidates, especially in light of many conservatives' continued resistance to a Romney candidacy. So far, Cain is simply the newest "anti-Romney" candidate, and his many gaffes at least remind us "that Cain isn't a member of the detested political elite." Polls also show him to be in the lead. So a sexual harassment allegation might just fuel supporters who think the world is out to get him. Some pundits have rallied to him, accusing the media of "lynching" him, but others have serious doubts about nominating someone so unvetted to take on the vulnerable President Obama. Perry has enough money to stay in the race awhile longer, but he'll have a tough time making voters forget he can't "form simple declarative sentences," especially after a New Hampshire campaign speech that had many wondering if he'd been drinking. "So Cain's moment may persist -- if for no other reason than that the base is plum out of alternatives," Carlson writes. Except, of course, for Jon Huntsman, who if he weren't already losing the race, would probably have a lot of Republicans "begging him to get in."
Steven Rattner on propping up the euro Nothing in last week's European rescue plan "addresses the endemic economic weaknesses that nearly propelled the euro zone into a meltdown," writes Steven Rattner in The New York Times. The plan might have calmed financial markets (only to have them roiled by a potential Greek referendum), but it didn't take on the challenge of restructuring the Eurozone to prevent a recurring crisis. "The initial misstep by European leaders, of course, was lashing their nations to a common currency without integrating other critical policies." That allowed for different growth rates to persist such that Germany's productivity and output grew in the past decade while Italy's stagnated. Other countries, too, face similar problems. "By having a single fiscal policy and regulatory framework, the United States has experienced far fewer internal stresses and strains," Rattner notes. The federal government reimburses states for half their extended unemployment payouts, a system of "transfer payments" that rich European nations dislike. We also have a much more mobile labor market that allows people to move toward the jobs, whereas cultural and linguistic barriers make Europe's labor markets more rigid. "To date, European leaders have focused on treating the symptoms of what ails the common currency, rather than the disease itself." The alternative now is to abandon the Euro, an exit that would "entail unimaginable complexity and bring its own form of chaos." Better though, would be to move Europe toward "true integration," including transfer payments, a single fiscal policy, "and a harmonized approach to competitiveness." If they continue to resist, they threaten their "vision of an integrated continent spawned in the post-World War II ashes."