Richard Cohen in The Washington Post on the Republican brain drain When Reagan won the Republican nomination, he beat out a group that included the party's future leaders. Romney was the best of a bad bunch. The problem is Republicans "do not have the courage nor the intellectual integrity to stand up to the know-nothing (dominant) wing of the Republican Party," Cohen writes. "They have designed a system where, politically speaking, the lowest common denominator wins."

David Brooks in The New York Times on conservative mentality There used to be two conservative minds: The economic, free market ones and the traditional ones, who wanted to preserve society from the bottom-up. But now the economic conservative one rules. The result: "Since they no longer speak in the language of social order, Republicans have very little to offer the less educated half of this country."

Jeffrey Goldberg in Bloomberg View on the real "Muslim Rage" Obama bought $70,000 worth of Pakistan airtime to denounce the infamous YouTube video. But the video alone did not cause the protests; it was an excuse. "So why won’t the administration acknowledge this fact? Because that would mean acknowledging that the killing of Osama bin Laden and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq didn’t bring to an end the unhappy U.S. entanglements in the Middle East."

Michael Gerson in The Washington Post on an opening with Hispanics The most depressing trend for Republicans is in New Mexico, where a popular Latina Republican is governor but Romney is behind in polls. Slowing Hispanic enthusiasm for Obama leaves Romney an opening, but Romney chose to turn right. "If Romney loses a tight election—not a foregone conclusion—his support for 'self-deportation' and ill-advised promise to veto the Dream Act may prove major contributing factors."

Naomi Wolf in Time on the way her critics talk about sex Author of Vagina: A New Biography says the criticisms of her book suggest society "still has problems discussing women’s sexuality in a positive, empowering way." Informed discussion has devolved into raunch without noting female desire. "We deserve a climate in which women’s sexual self-knowledge is valued and in which new information is welcomed into mainstream discussion"