Gideon Rachman in The Financial Times on the French election President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande will compete in a runoff election in a few weeks. "This election has already revealed a deep French anxiety about globalization, austerity and national identity that all candidates pandered to. That will be reflected in France's behavior in Europe," Rachman writes. He describes the various forces throughout Europe putting pressure on the French, and the changes both candidates have proposed to combat those forces. Hollande, the probable winner, has solutions that will put him at the greatest odds with other European countries. "The French exception is clearly alive. But it does not seem to be very well. That could soon become a problem for Europe as a whole."
Ramesh Ponnuru in Bloomberg View on abusing the Reagan record Arguing for his proposed "Buffett Rule," President Obama often mentions Ronald Reagan's belief that 'the wealthiest should pay their fair share." Ponnuru writes, "The wrangling over Reagan's legacy is evidence of his rising historical reputation ... But while politicians in both parties offer him praise, they also ransack his record for their present-day purposes." Obama and Democrats often praise Reagan's willingness to raise taxes, when in fact he mostly lowered them, choosing instead to close loopholes. Meanwhile, conservatives borrow his policy prescriptions from foreign diplomacy to Federal Reserve policy, even though they were designed for the situation in 1981. "The top tax rate is now 35 percent, not 70 percent. Yet many conservatives act as though the current tax rate is just as much an impediment to growth as the old one."