US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. School lunch policy: Let them eat crud (Chicago Tribune)

Mary Sanchez thinks that if anyone needs more evidence that Congress is working on behalf of lobbyists, this school-lunch charade is it.

2. Occupy our consciences (Washington Post)

We must acknowledge that the Occupy movement has accomplished things that the more established left didn't, writes E.J. Dione Jr.

3. Fixing Medicare (New York Times)

Its problems are profound, admits this editorial -- but beware of anyone promising quick fixes.

4. Newt 2.0 still has faults of Newt 1.0 (Politico)

Martin Frost writes: "I wouldn't vote for Gingrich, but I do have an appreciation for his strengths and weaknesses."

5. To stop the slaughter (New York Post)

The United Nations must act now to stop civilian deaths in Syria implores Amir Taheri.

6. Apple's American job disaster (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Manufacture of its products meant good-paying jobs in the U.S. But a move to China took them away, point out Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele.

7. How China Can Defeat America (New York Times

China's growing influence over the global economy means increasing competition with the United States is inevitable, a theme which is explored in this editorial.

8. Rising from the pack, Gingrich invites scrutiny (USA Today)

In light of Newt Gingrich's increasing popularity, Susan Page places the GOP candidate under close examination.

9. IRS should review Scientology tax-exempt status (St Petersburg Times)

The Church of Scientology's coercive funding methods warrant investigation by the Internal Revenue Service according to this editorial.

10. For children's sake, don't just slash Medicaid (Denver Post)

Jim Shmerling warns cuts to the Medicaid health programme will disproportinally harm the young.

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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.