Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

Category: Republican Party

Candidates go PG-13 on the press

Rick Santorum
It may become part of the decathlon known as the Republican road to the White House -– to get down and potty-mouth about the news media.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum's base is probably cheering him to the rafters after he took a vulgar swipe at a New York Times reporter's question Sunday following a Santorum speech in Wisconsin to the effect that Mitt Romney's Massachusetts healthcare law made him "the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama."

After Santorum's remarks, New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny zeroed in on that remark, asking Santorum to elaborate:  "You said that Mitt Romney is the worst Republican in the country. Is that true?"

Santorum asked, "What speech did you listen to?"

Zeleny asked again, and Santorum, jabbing a finger toward Zeleny, said "stop lying" and "quit distorting my words. If I see it, it's bullshit. C'mon, man, what are you doing?"

The next day, and evidently in a more cheerful frame of mind, he used the incident as a kind of campaign medal, telling the Fox News Channel, "If you haven't cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you're not really a real Republican, is the way I look at it." And he told CNN that he was making the case that Romney could not criticize President Obama’s healthcare law because Romney "wrote the blueprint" for it. "And to then say, you know, spin this as Rick Santorum said he's the worst Republican in the country." 

Candidates can never go wrong slamming the news media. Santorum may have been referring to an incident during the 2000 presidential campaign when then-Gov. George W. Bush, talking to his running mate Dick Cheney at a Labor Day event, was picked up by an open mike when he indicated the press corps and said, "There’s Adam Clymer, major-league asshole from the New York Times." Cheney evidently agreed and said, "Oh yeah, big-time."

Bush said he didn't realize the mikes would pick up his voice, but he did not apologize.

(Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry made a vulgar comment about a Secret Service agent during the presidential campaign, but he made it on the record to a reporter, after the agent on Kerry's detail accidentally knocked him down on a ski slope in Idaho. "I don't fall down. The son of a bitch" -- the agent -- ran into him, Kerry told the reporter. Different circumstance from Obama's gaffe to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, caught on an open mike in South Korea on Monday: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.")

Maybe one of the most renowned press attacks was President Nixon's, heard on White House tapes siccing the IRS on L.A. Times Publisher Otis Chandler.

On Oct. 7, 1971, more than a year before election day, Nixon ordered the attorney general to check on whether Chandler's gardener was a "wetback," and mentioned that he had ordered an Internal Revenue Service investigation of the Chandler family. "I want this whole goddam bunch gone after.... Every one of those sons of bitches," Nixon said.

He also told the attorney general, John Mitchell, to have the Immigration and Naturalization Service raid The Times looking for illegal immigrants.

A day earlier, The Times had reported on 36 illegal immigrants taken into custody during an immigration raid at a tortilla factory owned by Romana Banuelos, whom the White House had just nominated for the position of U.S. Treasurer (she would become the highest-placed Mexican American in government).

The president told Mitchell that "as a Californian, I know. Everybody in California hires them. There's no law against it, because they are there, because -- for menial things and so forth. Otis Chandler -- I want him checked with regard to his gardener. I understand he's a wetback. Is that clear?"

The Times had decades earlier steadfastly supported and encouraged Nixon; in the midst of Nixon's 1952 ''slush fund'' scandal, The Times' headline had been "Sen. Nixon's Defiance of Smear Hailed."

And George McGovern, the Democrat running against Nixon in 1972, didn't say it to a reporter but to a heckler. McGovern leaned forward and whispered in the man's ear, "Listen, you son of a bitch, why don't you kiss my ass?"

Like Santorum, McGovern too made some political capital out of the incident.

By the next day, McGovern supporters were showing up at rallies with buttons reading "KMA." 


Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform

Dick Cheney's new heart awakens Times' letter writers

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS: Presidential Election 2012

-- Patt Morrison

Photo: Rick Santorum speaks on March 25 at South Hills Country Club during a public rally near Racine, Wis. Credit: Gregory Shaver/Journal Times, AP Photo

Gov. Brown's tax-the-rich pitch looks like a winner

California Gov. Jerry Brown
Californians don’t actually hate taxes. They just don’t want to pay taxes.


No, that’s not a contradiction. As my colleague Anthony York reported in Sunday’s Times:

California voters strongly support Gov. Jerry Brown's new proposal to increase the sales tax and raise levies on upper incomes to help raise money for schools and balance the state's budget, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they supported the governor's measure, which he hopes to place on the November ballot. It would hike the state sales tax by a quarter-cent per dollar for the next four years and create a graduated surcharge on incomes of more than $250,000 that would last seven years. A third of respondents opposed the measure.

Brown's new plan, rewritten recently amid pressure from liberal activist and union groups that had a competing proposal, relies on a larger share of revenue from upper-income earners than his original measure. Correspondingly, it leans less upon sales taxes, which are paid by all California consumers. The poll shows that taxing high earners is overwhelmingly popular.

You see: Californians aren’t opposed to tax increases — as long as it is someone else being taxed.

You want to raise my taxes?  Over my dead body!

You want to raise taxes on the rich?  As Oliver Twist might say, “More please.”

Or, as The Times story said:

"These poll results illustrate that Brown was very smart to put together this initiative the way he did," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

Well, yes. Go ahead with all those “Gov. Moonbeam” jokes if you want, but Brown is no dummy. The state needs money. Republicans in the Legislature act as if raising taxes violates one of the Ten Commandments. Californians believe, wrongly, that they are taxed to death (or rightly, that the Legislature needs to get a grip on how it spends tax dollars).

The solution?  Pick on the rich. Because here’s what that strategy buys you:

Shirley Karns, 74, an independent voter from the Northern California town of Lakeport who backs the governor's new plan, said the wealthy should pay more.

"Those who have an unbelievable amount more than those who do not should contribute more," she said. "And on the sales tax, the more you buy, the more you pay. It's pretty tough on low-income people who have to pay an extra nickel here and there, but we've got to get the money from somewhere."

Shirley, we can safely assume, does not qualify for membership in the California millionaires club. (Nor, apparently, does she buy a lot of big-ticket items.)

Of course, these are just poll results. Poll results don’t matter as much as what happens when people step into that private little place called a voting booth. (See: L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, governor’s race, 1982.)

But with the state’s education system crumbling, its infrastructure eroding and its budget bathed in red ink, a tax increase certainly appears to be at least one part of the solution.

And here’s betting that most Californians will agree in November — especially if they’re not the ones who’ll feel the pain.


Dick Cheney's new heart awakens Times' letter writers

Justices take on healthcare reform law's 1st issue: What's a tax?

Mankind's great mysteries -- baldness and Amelia Earhart -- solved? 

— Paul Whitefield

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference at a Boeing plant in Long Beach. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Before the iPad, there was the Etch-A-Sketch, and I was an ace

Besides fortifying his boss' flip-flop credentials, Mitt Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom took me and lots of baby boomers on a nostalgia trip Wednesday when he likened the Romney campaign to an Etch-A-Sketch. As my colleague Morgan Little describes in more detail, Fehrnstrom suggested Romney could tack to the center in a general election because the campaign was like the red-bordered screen with the two white knobs.  "You can kind of shake it up," he said, "and we start all over again."

As a child, I developed two un-marketable skills: writing backward (also known as mirror writing) and drawing better on the Etch-A-Sketch than I could with pen and paper, which was pretty good. Somewhere in the clutter in my apartment is an Etch-A-Sketch a relative presented me a few years ago to see if I still had it. I did a not-bad self-portrait and signed my name. (I'm not in the league of Sketchers who can reproduce artistic masterworks.)

Etch-A-Sketches still exist. (They even have their own website.) But a lot of kids, if offered the choice, would probably choose an iPad. The Etch-A-Sketch, after all, has exactly one app.

It's too bad. The Etch-A-Sketch tested and taught manual dexterity and forced the Sketcher to mine his own imagination for images.

I also liked what will now be called the Romney feature: Destroying your work and starting over is a good habit for a writer, if not a politician.


Romney's car problem

Regulation or rule of law, Gov. Romney?

Americans Elect -- bring democracy into the digital world

--Michael McGough

Photo: Matt Ortega's Etch-A-Sketch Romney site is one of the many responses to a Mitt Romney aide's comments comparing the candidate's transition into the general election to the children's toy. Credit: Matt Ortega / www.etchasketchromney.com

Illinois Primary: Live coverage

Illinois Primary
The Republican presidential primaries continue Tuesday in Illinois, the land of Lincoln and of President Obama -- although, it should be noted, neither was born there. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hopes that Illinois will give him the kind of head-snapping victory that will make his long-rumored inevitability more distinctly inevitable. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, hopes to confound the pundits yet again, although his past successes have raised expectations significantly.

What’s really different this time is that Illinois feels like the kind of one-on-one, mano-a-mano battle between Romney and Santorum that the latter has coveted for months. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have kept a low profile in Illinois. Nevertheless, polls show that Gingrich and Paul continue to attract roughly the same amount of support from likely voters in the state that they do nationally – about 13% and 8%, respectively.

If Romney manages to grab more than 50% of the vote, that would be a sign that he may finally be wrapping up the nomination. On the other hand, if Santorum wins, that would be yet more evidence that conservatives are rallying around him rather than resigning themselves to a Romney candidacy. No matter what the result, don’t expect Gingrich or Paul to drop out, at least not tonight.

The Times’ Doyle McManus, Michael McGough, David Horsey and I will be following the returns and sharing our thoughts 140 characters at a time. Read our tweets below and interact with us here and on Twitter.

--Jon Healey

GOP Primary overview

Illinois GOP Primary: Results map

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS: Presidential Election 2012

Photo: A Voter enters the fire station polling place on Tuesday in Magnolia, Illinois. Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Gingrich and Karzai, a couple of never-say-die guys

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with Afghan President Hamid Karzai

What is it about politics that makes some people lose all perspective?

Today's two examples come from near -- and far.

In the United States, we have Exhibit A, also known as Newt Gingrich.  

Exhibit B comes from Afghanistan: one Hamid Karzai.

Gingrich wants to be president, but he has no shot.  Karzai is a president, but if he's not careful, he will be shot.

Of course, one doesn't enter politics without a healthy -- some might say overinflated -- ego. The best politicians are, by nature, risk-takers. Where others hold back, they charge ahead.  It takes them to great heights sometimes but also brings great falls: see Clinton, Bill, and Nixon, Richard. 

(Thursday brought another reminder:  Former Illinois Gov. Rod Rod Blagojevich left Chicago for Colorado, where he'll be serving a sentence on corruption charges in federal prison.)

And ego certainly applies to Gingrich. Times staff writer Paul West on Thursday summed up Gingrich's motivation for staying in the GOP presidential race:

At 68, the former House speaker is making what figures to be his last fling at elective politics.  But it is his sense of himself as an epic figure that may well be what's keeping him going.

Gingrich hopes for a brokered convention, something that hasn't happened for decades but that appeals to the historian in him.  It may be a figment of his imagination, but it's a harmless fantasy -- unless you're Mitt Romney and hoping to wrap up the nomination.

Karzai, on the other hand, is playing a much more dangerous game.  On Thursday, Times staff writer Laura King reported from Kabul that the Afghan president "had demanded a quicker end to the Western combat mission and a pullback of NATO troops from rural areas."

Karzai's office said he told visiting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that by year's end, U.S. troops should be garrisoned only in large bases, abandoning outposts in rural districts like Panjwayi, the scene of Sunday's shooting deaths. 

"Afghanistan's security forces have the capability to provide security in the villages of Afghanistan," said a statement from Karzai's office.

Which makes one wonder what country Karzai thinks he's living in. Especially because the Taliban announced Thursday that not only was it suspending talks with the United States on the war but that it would be "pointless" to engage in any talks with the Karzai government.

Karzai's response?

The president also called for a significant acceleration of the handover of security responsibilities to Afghan forces, saying NATO should wind down its combat role in 2013 instead of 2014. "Our demand is to speed up this process, and authority should be given to Afghans," the presidential palace's statement said.

Perhaps Karzai could take a lesson from Gingrich and read up on his history.  Here's a name he might want to check out: Najibullah.

After the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan, Najibullah was president.  Forced from office during the ensuing civil war, Najibullah took refuge in the U.N. compound in Kabul for four years.  But in 1996, the Taliban seized power. 

A Times' story from Friday Sept. 27, 1996, records his fate:

The bloated, beaten body of the man who also once headed the hated Afghan Communists' security service was strung up from a lamppost outside the presidential palace, reports said.

The Times' Doyle McManus wrote Thursday that given recent events, President Obama needs a Plan C for getting out of Afghanistan.  So Karzai may get his wish for a sped-up withdrawal.  

But if that's the case, Karzai's name just might end up listed next to Najibullah's in the history books of the 21st century.


Murohama enshrined [The reply]

Save the American West [Blowback]

Big government won't build you a snore room, that's for sure

-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, meets with Afghan President Hamid Karza in Kabul on Thursday. Credit: Mohammad Ismail / EPA


Big government won't build you a snore room, that's for sure

Del Webb home offers snore roomWhen it comes to domestic issues, Americans should trust the private sector.

That's a Republican Party mantra, and two stories in The Times this week have me convinced as well.

Now, I know you think one concerns gasoline prices. Really, though, who cares about that? Snore.

That's right: I'm talking about snoring.  As The Times' Lauren Beale reported:

A so-called snore room is the latest offering from Del Webb, which builds communities for people 55 and older.

Buyers whose marriages are plagued by a spouse who snorts, grunts and wheezes while he or she sleeps can opt for an adaptable bedroom plan marketed as the "owners retreat" at Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio. Designed for couples who start out in the same bed but end up apart because of ear-piercing snoring, insomnia or late-night TV viewing habits, this secondary bedroom is connected to the bathroom of the master bedroom.

See?  Big problem; private-sector solution. You leave that to government, and pretty soon you've got government-run snore insurance instead.

Still, even the private sector can stumble. For example, I'm a bit puzzled by Del Webb's logic:

"A nice enclave that shares the master bathroom provides a civilized alternative to the family room sofa," said Jacque Petroulakis, corporate communications spokeswoman for PulteGroup Inc., the parent company of Del Webb.

About a quarter of couples in the 55-and-older age group sleep apart to get a good night's rest, according to PulteGroup, which got the data from a third party but also conducted focus groups and interviews as it developed the bedroom plan.

Now first of all, the sofa isn't for snoring husbands; it's for misbehaving husbands, or came-home-late-drunk husbands -- which, come to think of it, is redundant. (It's never for wives, of course, who are too savvy to choose the sofa, regardless of their transgressions.)

Second, if you're 55 or older and still married to someone who snores, isn't it a bit late to be dealing with the problem? Seems to me the snore room should be marketed at 30-year-olds, who need all the help they can get keeping their marriages together.

But, staying true to the private sector's can-do spirit, in addition to the snore room, Del Webb is offering other conveniences:

Among other new life-easing features the builder is offering are pass-throughs from the closet to the laundry room. A door large enough to push a hamper through connects the two spaces.

Which brings me to my second domestic issue story of the week: widespread thievery of Tide detergent.

The Times Dalina Castellanos reported:

Thieves seem to be embarking on an anti-grime spree, some media outlets are reporting, saying thousands of dollars in Tide detergent is being swiped from shelves across the country.

One Minnesota man stole about $25,000 worth of the liquid laundry detergent from a West St. Paul Wal-Mart over 15 months, authorities there say.

And who's to blame for this crime wave?  Sadly, dear liberals, it appears that Rush and Sean and Glenn are right: It's the government -- or, in this case, at least one peson who apparently has fallen prey to the liberal-nanny-state mentality.  

Lt. Matt Swenke of the West St. Paul Police Department said in an interview with The Times that Patrick Costanzo, 53, was the suspect in the Minnesota thefts.

"He told [police] he didn't have a job and the state didn't help him in any way so he did what he had to do to get by," Swenke said.

Yes, it's true, liberals: You do a man's laundry, he's clean for a day. You teach him to do his own laundry, and he won't steal Tide.

Which doesn't make a lot of sense, I'll admit. But then again, my wife keeps me awake a night -- either snoring or doing the laundry.

Speaking of which:  Why do we have so much Tide?


Red meat will kill you? Stick a fork in me, I'm done!

Sherwood Rowland, the scientist who saved the world 

Poll: What does Newt Gingrich need to do to stay in the race?

--Paul Whitefield

Photo: A so-called snore room is the latest offering from Del Webb, which builds communities for people 55 and older. Credit: Handout

Live coverage: Primary results from Alabama and Mississippi


Last week was Super Tuesday. This week: Deep South Tuesday.

Tuesday’s Republican primaries in Alabama and Mississippi could be a turning point in the GOP’s long battle to anoint a presidential nominee – or, depending on the results, no turning point at all.

Let’s begin with a confession of ignorance: There hasn’t been much polling in the two states, and what polling there has been hasn’t produced clear forecasts. Surveys have shown Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum closely bunched; any of the three could win.

If Romney wins in one or both states, that would be an upset and a big boost for his campaign because it would dispel the argument that he can’t attract much support in the conservative South.

If Gingrich wins in one or both states, he’ll have a good argument for staying in the race -- something he has promised to do in any case. But if Gingrich loses both Alabama and Mississippi, he’ll face more pressure from party elders and the media to get out.

And if Santorum wins both states, he’ll cement his growing status as the main conservative alternative to Romney.

On the other hand, if the Deep South primaries end up in a three-way tie, we’ll just have to march on to the next contests – in Missouri (March 17), Puerto Rico (March 18), Illinois (March 20) and Louisiana (March 24) – in search of more clarity there.

My colleagues David Horsey, Michael McGough and I will offer more comments and analysis once the returns start coming in at 5 p.m. PDT. Read our tweets below and interact with us here and on Twitter.

--Doyle McManus

ALSO: Romney and the Mormon factor

Romney's Southern strategy: Admit he's a stranger

Poll: What does Newt Gingrich need to do to stay in the race?

Photo: Natalie Collins cast her vote in the Republican presidential primary at a polling station in Gulfport, Mississippi on March 13. Credit: Dan Anderson / EPA

Poll: What does Newt Gingrich need to do to stay in the race?

Newt Gingrich bus
I've already expressed my hope that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stay in the GOP presidential race to the (presumably bitter) end. And Gingrich has said repeatedly that he has no plans to drop out before the Republican convention in August.

But of course he would say that. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy to suggest to voters that you're poised to drop out -- it discourages your supporters from making the trip to the voting booth. And besides, he's still polling pretty well in Alabama and Mississippi, which are holding primaries Tuesday night (Hawaii Republicans are holding a caucus).

But Gingrich's standing hasn't seemed to improve nationally in weeks, and at least some conservatives who are his target audience seem to be making peace with the idea of (shudder!) Mitt Romney as their nominee. Others are rallying behind rival Rick Santorum, who's more socially conservative than Gingrich but less of a Big Ideas Guy (which may be a good thing in their book).

So the conventional wisdom bubbling up before Tuesday's primaries is that this is a make-or-break evening for Gingrich. If he can't beat Romney in the conservative Deep South, which is effectively his home turf, he'll be forced to admit that there's no point in going on.

That's the theory, at least. Even if he doesn't win, Gingrich may cling to the hope that Romney won't get a majority of the delegates before the convention, setting the stage for an anything-goes scenario in which the best debater in the group has a fighting chance to win.

But what do you think? Is there a threshold Gingrich needs to pass Tuesday night? Take our scandalously unscientific poll, leave a comment or both!


Mary Brown: "Obamacare" foe, and broke

Red meat will kill you? Stick a fork in me, I'm done

Be afraid: Robot experts say machines are catching up

-- Jon Healey

Credit: David Goldman / Associated Press

Time for Mitt Romney to change his tunes

Mitt Romney in Mississippi
The bigger the campaign, the lamer the playlist.

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign released a 19-song Spotify playlist on Friday, and in the grand tradition of presidential candidates, it was chock full of inoffensive hits. Not that the songs were bad (well, maybe this one is) or that it strains credulity to think of Romney listening to country music. It's just that nothing about the collection of tracks said, "Mitt Romney." It's the kind of stuff just about anybody might listen to between stops by the tour bus.

Frankly, publishing any kind of playlist is a lose-lose proposition for a candidate. The musicians included may not like having their music associated with the campaign. And the ones who embrace the candidate may do things that embarrass the campaign. Maybe that's why Romney included only one rock 'n' roller (The Killers) and one rapper (the often noncontroversial Kid Rock). But then, Willie Nelson and Toby Keith aren't exactly choirboys.

The one good thing that might come out of such an exercise is if a candidate succeeds in being at least a little bit hip. That wouldn't be the case with Romney's selections, which tend toward the familiar and time-honored. President Obama's Spotify playlist has a few songs that come within hailing distance of the cutting edge -- a little Arcade Fire, a little Florence + The Machine. But by gathering tunes from a wide variety of genres, Obama's campaign just seemed to be pandering.

Speaking of which, I wonder why Newt Gingrich hasn't offered a different playlist for every state he's visited?

Look, I want to be helpful, not just critical. So I took the liberty of pulling together a new Spotify playlist for  Romney. It's more rockin' than the one his campaign put together -- how could it not be? -- but it's not going to rattle the windows of the bus. There are some tracks from genres he missed in his selections, just to spread the love a little. And there's enough hip to more than match the incumbent's offering.

Let me apologize in advance for including a song -- "Having an Argument With Myself" by Jens Lekman -- that includes a profanity that probably never sullies the candidate's lips. But look at the title! It's perfect for Romney. And to think Lekman is from Sweden, not Rick Santorum's campaign staff....

A track-by-track accounting of Romney's original playlist and my suggested alternative appear after the jump.


Rush Limbaugh's blind spot

McManus: No quit in these candidates

California's phone ban: Maybe not such a bad idea after all

-- Jon Healey

Photo: Mitt Romney, campaigning in Mississippi on Friday, indicates how many hours it took him to come up with his new playlist. Credit: Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press

Continue reading »

It's not time for Newt Gingrich to go

Newt Gingrich in Atlanta on Super Tuesday
In the aftermath of Super Tuesday, many Republicans were pained to see that the day's 10 primaries and caucuses did nothing to unify the party. Mitt Romney widened his lead in delegates, but his rivals did well enough to keep their campaigns going -- possibly all the way to the national convention in August.

Libertarian Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) probably would have continued his campaign regardless of his showing Tuesday, even though he's never had much of a chance to win. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, on the other hand, are arguably preventing each other from unifying mainstream conservatives into a winning base of support. Under this view, Gingrich should bow out and let Santorum, who has won significantly more states and delegates, make an unencumbered run at Romney.

Personally, I'm hoping Gingrich sticks it out. Not because he's entertaining, although he is that. It's because Gingrich uniquely forces the other candidates to elevate their game. He is the self-described candidate of big ideas, and that's what a presidential campaign should be about. He's the antithesis of Romney, a Mr. Fix-It who talks often about his ability to turn around troubled enterprises but rarely about what a retooled federal government could accomplish.

Some of Gingrich's ideas are wacky, and it's not clear that he has the managerial acumen to realize even his more rational ambitions. But it's clear that he's thought a great deal about the federal programs that need to be overhauled and how to go about doing it. His experience working with the Clinton administration to reinvent welfare helps him considerably in that regard.

Admittedly, Paul is an ideas candidate too. Not only are some of his ideas bolder than Gingrich's, his view of government is more coherent and seemingly less impulsive. All the same, Gingrich is the guy who really sells the notion of having a governing vision. He makes wonkery interesting, even as his ego and acknowledged grandiosity make him seem like the wrong guy to trust with the keys to the White House.

George H.W. Bush famously dismissed the "vision thing" before running for president in 1988, so it's not a prerequisite for winning the Oval Office. On the other hand, the senior Bush's tenure will be forgotten long before his predecessor's.


Goldberg: Birth control agitprop

The legal case against attacking Iran

Kinsley: Limbaugh and the hypocrisy on both sides of the gaffe

-- Jon Healey

Credit: Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images



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Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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