• E. J. Dionne on Progressives and Big Business With the balance of power in Washington poised to shift rightwards, the Washington Post columnist argues that the left must find common ground with the nation's business interests, if only as an exercise in political survival. Dionne understands this tactic holds little appeal for those on the left. Wall Street executives, in particular, have developed reputations as "grossly irresponsible stewards of the power surrendered to them through deregulation." Still, he says: "We live in a market economy. Businesses create jobs, and a healthy business climate is one key to a healthy society." Obama "should figure out which parts of the private sector share an interest in reducing the dreadful inequalities that have metastasized over nearly four decades and in creating an economy that produces well-paying jobs."
  • Robert McDowell on Keeping the Web Free  On the eve of the Federal Communication Commission's attempt to implement Internet regulations, McDowell, the FCC's Republican commissioner, argues against the interventionist move. In today's Wall Street Journal, McDowell looks back at the idea of Internet regulation from its inception and the bipartisan opposition it has always received from Congress. McDowell questions the utility in the FCC imposing unnecessary rules on something that already functions as it should. "Nothing is broken and needs fixing," he writes. "The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure."
  • The Guardian on European Reproductive Rights  The European Court on Human Rights ruling last week that Ireland's abortion laws "violated woman's rights" prompts The Guardian's editorial board to examine the inconsistent policies toward reproductive rights across the European continent. While "the greatest achievement of Europe's human rights framework has been to banish the death penalty from its shores," The Guardian bemoans the fact that "the same continental unanimity is entirely lacking in other matters of life and death." By "agreeing to disagree" on the subject, Europeans have avoided taking a stand one way or another on abortion. Europe may chuckle at "the loony tunes that emanate from culture wars of the United States," but "the Roe v. Wade decision still provides American women with a right to abortion which has no European counterpart."
  • Andrew Sullivan on Underrating Obama  It seems no matter who Barack Obama pleases, he is always disappointing someone. The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan comments that certain liberal columnists who disapprove of the President's decision-making are "profoundly resistant to the core rationale of the Obama presidency." Sullivan considers this presidency one that transcends party lines in order to get things done. In contrast to other recent presidents, Obama doesn't "repel or disparage those who voted against him or those who have grown to despise him." Sullivan acknowledges the many accomplishments of the first half of Obama's term and compares his ideals to that of leader of the British Tory party. "I occasionally used to day-dream about a 'one-nation' Tory U.S. president, a second Eisenhower of a sort," he notes. "Little did I know he would be a black man with a funny name."
  • Ross Douthat on Christmas and Christianity  It wouldn't seem like it, writes the New York Times columnist, but it's tough being a Christian at Christmastime. Along with the incursion of "materialist ticky tack" into a religious holiday, culture warriors on the right and left have taken to exploiting the season for "cynical purposes." For truly pious Christians in America, the season offers a reminder of just how many Christians in this country treat "religion as just another form of  midwinter entertainment." Instead of getting angry about America's declining religiosity, Douthat believes Christians must adapt  their faith to these new surroundings. "Or to put it another way," he writes, "Christians need to find a way to thrive in a society that looks less and less like any sort of Christendom--and more and more like the diverse and complicated Roman Empire where their religion had its beginning, 2,000 years ago this week."