Ezra Klein in Bloomberg View on how Obama launched Ryan to the top Paul Ryan used to be as unknown as his predecessor on the House Budget Committee, and Republicans wanted to keep it that way, Klein says. But the Obama administration drew attention to the budget in hopes of then tearing it down with a long-term strategy of discrediting it as a political document. The problem is that if Obama loses, Republicans must enact a deeply conservative agenda. "Left to his own devices, Romney might have been a relatively pragmatic and cautious president," Klein writes. Instead, Obama's efforts "prove to have been a crucial push toward enacting that budget into law."
Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal on GOP's Medicare advantage Rove, former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, writes about why the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan is better. In spite of Democratic cries of the GOP cutting Medicare spending, the truth is it will only be 3 percent less than what Obama proposes, Rove says. And while Obama's cuts to the the financially ailed Medicare will pay for ObamaCare, Romney would repeal ObamaCare and fix Medicare's finances. Rove advocates for Ryan's plan, where in ten years Americans will be able to choose traditional Medicare or private insurance. Some Republicans would rather talk about jobs, but Rove says the Medicare debate was going to come at some point. "Democrats have long had an issue advantage on Medicare," Rove says. "Republicans cowered in fear. This time it's different."
Charles K. Armstrong in the New York Times on changes in North Korea Capital of North Korea Pyongyang is busier and more affluent than it was just a few years ago. The streets are now filled with an increasing number of luxury cars, and people walk around with cell phones and Western clothing. Under Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang is moving, and Jong-un is making his rule clear. But Armstrong says the commercial changes mean little. The countryside is still in poverty. Locally made cars are battered. "The status quo remains and is unlikely to change any time soon."
Victor Davis Hanson in National Review on the culture divide in California Two vastly different California cultures exist: One in which intellectuals and professionals worry about the environment and tech start-ups, and the other, where unemployment is at 15 percent and an epidemic of copper wire theft is going on. Certain numbers reflect such dysmorphia, Hanson says. California's income and sales tax are one of the nation's highest, but the deficit is about $16 billion. The teachers are highly paid, but public school students test near the bottom of the nation. "Driving across California is like going from Mississippi to Massachusetts without ever crossing a state line," Hanson writes.
Dana Milbank in the Washington Post on how Democrats are finally dirtying their hands Republicans have expressed outrage about the ugliness of the campaign. Milbank: "But is this worse than four years ago, when Obama was accused by the GOP vice presidential nominee of “palling around with terrorists”?" What's different this time is that usually Democrats assume "the fetal position when attacked." Now, they're using "the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with much success." Even with Biden's distasteful "chain" comments, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter says they stand behind the vice president. "Cutter, like other Democrats, learned a hard truth back then: Umbrage doesn’t win elections. Ruthlessness does," Milbank writes.