US Press: pick of the papers

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

1. The false Iran debate (New York Times)

In this sense, the whole Iran debate - with its receding "red lines," its shifting "zones of immunity," its threats and counter-threats, its bad metaphors and worse similes - is false, writes Roger Cohen.

2. What Could Be Next in the Race for President? (Roll Call)

Increasingly, former Speaker Newt Gingrich has become the Mr. Irrelevant in the GOP race for the presidential nomination, says Stuart Rothenberg.

3. Europe According to Hayek (Wall Street Journal) ($)

Twenty years after his death, the Austrian thinker still offers the most compelling explanation for the meltdown of the welfare state, writes Alberto Mingardi.

4. The economy, generically oversimplified (The Boston Globe) ($)

With the US economy steadily improving, Romney is now arguing that the recovery would be stronger but for the president's policies. Yet Romney would sound more convincing if his indictment of Obama weren't so familiar and generic, writes Scot Lehigh

5. Stand Your Ground tramples justice (Politico)

Trayvon Martin, a black child of 17, died at the invisible intersection of racial hatred and hating government, writes David Dante Troutt

6. The Descent of Hungary (Wall Street Journal)

How much can the European Union, by law a club of democracies, actually do to stop a freely elected government within its borders from turning its democracy into an autocracy? asks Raymond Zhong

7. When Did Hoodlums Start Wearing Hoods? (Slate)

London was plagued by young, unsupervised apprentice boys during the 12th century. They were always rioting over some political or religious issue, and they often wore hoods to hide their identities, says Brian Palmer

8. Ryan's challenge, Part 2 (Chicago Tribune)

By tackling entitlement costs, Paul Ryan asks Americans to choose their nation's future, says this Editorial.

9. Paranoia Strikes Deeper (New York Times)

Whatever Mr. Romney may personally believe, the fact is that by endorsing the right's paranoid fantasies, he is helping to further a dangerous trend in America's political life, writes Paul Krugman.

10. General Optimism (Slate)

Gen. John Allen believes that America will prevail in Afghanistan, writes Fred Kaplan

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Commons Confidential: When Corbyn met Obama

The Labour leader chatted socialism with the leader of the free world.

Child labour isn’t often a subject for small talk, and yet it proved an ice-breaker when Jeremy Corbyn met Barack Obama. The Labour leader presented the US president with a copy of What Would Keir Hardie Say? edited by Pauline Bryan and including a chapter penned by Comrade Corbyn himself.

The pair, I’m informed by a reliable snout, began their encounter by discussing exploitation and how Hardie started work at the tender age of seven, only to be toiling in a coal mine three years later.

The book explores Hardie’s relevance today. Boris Johnson will no doubt sniff a socialist conspiracy when he learns that the president knew, or at least appeared to know, far more about Hardie and the British left than many MPs, Labour as well as Tory.

***

Make what you will of the following comment by a very senior Tory. During a private conversation with a Labour MP on the same select committee, this prominent Conservative, upon spotting Chuka Umunna, observed: “We were very relieved when he pulled out of your leadership race. Very capable. We feared him.” He then, in
a reference to Sajid Javid, went on: “We’ve got one of them.” What could he mean? I hope it’s that both are young, bald and ambitious . . .

***

To Wales, where talk is emerging of who will succeed Carwyn Jones as First Minister and Welsh Labour leader. Jones hasn’t announced plans to quit the posts he has occupied since 2009, but that isn’t dampening speculation. The expectation is that he won’t serve a full term, should Labour remain in power after 5 May, either as a minority administration or in coalition in the Senedd.

Names being kicked about include two potential newcomers: the former MEP Eluned Morgan, now a baroness in the House of Cronies, and the Kevin Whately lookalike Huw Irranca-Davies, swapping his Westminster seat, Ogmore, for a place in the Welsh Assembly. Neither, muttered my informant, is standing to make up the numbers.

***

No 10’s spinner-in-chief Craig “Crazy Olive” Oliver’s decision to place Barack Obama’s call for Britain to remain in Europe in the Daily Telegraph reflected, whispered my source, Downing Street’s hope that the Torygraph’s big-business advertisers and readers will keep away from the rest of the Tory press.

The PM has given up on the Europhobic Sun and Daily Mail. Both papers enjoy chucking their weight about, yet fear the implications for their editorial clout should they wind up on the losing side if the country votes to remain on 23 June.

***

Asked if that Eurofan, Tony Blair, will play a prominent role in the referendum campaign, a senior Remainer replied: “No, he’s toxic. But with all that money, he could easily afford to bankroll it.”

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 28 April 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The new fascism