Five Best Friday Columns
Dana Milbank on Obama's Ohio speech, Peggy Noonan on national security leaks, John Cassidy on Obama's reelection strategy, Nikos Konstandaras on Greece's election, and Alicia Shepard on the Nixon tapes.
Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on Obama's Ohio speech Milbank gives a bad review to President Obama's economic speech in Ohio. "[I]nstead of going to Ohio on Thursday with a compelling plan for the future, the president gave Americans a falsehood wrapped in a fallacy," Milbank writes. "The falsehood is that he has been serious about cutting government spending. The fallacy is that this election will be some sort of referendum that will break the logjam in Washington." Milbank doesn't support Republican solutions to our problems, but he says Obama should propose bolder ones rather than rehash tepid ideas.
Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal on national security leaks Noonan recounts the many recent national security leaks in news stories and in David Sanger's new book. "It's a good thing our enemies can't read. Wait, they can! They can download all this onto their iPads at a café in Islamabad." She worries about the leaks' implications, wonders at their origins, and applauds Congress for investigating who is responsible. "One way to get at that is the classic legal question: Who benefits? That is not a mystery. In all these stories, it is the president and his campaign that benefit," she writes, adding that in most of them Obama comes across as "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer."
John Cassidy in The New Yorker on Obama's winning strategy Cassidy has a longer piece musing on the factors that win presidents their elections, noting that it is not always campaign strategy. In 2012, though, strategy will be important, and Cassidy says Obama should do all he can to attach Romney to the rest of the Republican party. "Obama can win reelection," he writes. "If he is to do so, though, he needs to quit complaining about G.O.P. attacks and come out slugging, all the while reminding people what will be in store for the country if he loses and the Republicans take over."
Nikos Konstandaras in The New York Times on Greece's bad choices As Greece faces a defining election that may determine their continued membership in the Euro zone, newspaper editor Konstrandaras ponders the road that brought them to this moment. "The widespread feeling of loss is worsened by the understanding that we wasted most of the past four decades -- the longest period of peace and prosperity that the country has known," he writes."We lost the self-discipline, moderation and inventiveness that once helped the Greeks achieve great things, and we succumbed to political expediency, delusions of grandeur and a fatal sense of entitlement."
Alicia Shepard in The Washington Post on the man who revealed Nixon's tapes As we mark the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in this week, Shepard remembers White House deputy chief of staff Alexander Butterfield, a relatively little noted man essential to the investigation that brought down Nixon. "On July 13, 1973, Butterfield told Senate investigators that Nixon had a taping system," she writes. She describes Butterfield's knowledge about the secret tapes and his dilemma about what to do with it. Finally, when a Congressional investigators asked him point blank if Nixon used devices to record conversations, he answered honestly. "His mother thought Butterfield a hero. Butterfield, however, knew he had burned bridges. Eight months later, he was out as chief of the FAA."