Ross Douthat at The New York Times argues conservatives didn't really love Reagan. Douthat claims that there is a "deep, abiding gulf between the widespread conservative idea of what a true Conservative Moment would look like and the mainstream idea of the same." During the Reagan era, Republicans didn't actually go after what they wanted: a truly smaller government. "This goal only ends up getting labeled as 'extreme' in our debates, conservatives lament, because the right has never succeeded in dislodging certain basic assumptions about government established by F.D.R. and L.B.J." And "when it comes to the question of whether the state should meaningfully shrink its footprint in our society, American political reality really does seem to have a liberal bias." So conservatives hold back or get defeated at the polls. The Tea Party conservatism playing out in Congress now is a result of the frustration conservatives feel for never succeeding in fundamentally shrinking the government. MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes calls the piece "very astute." Matt Yglesias, an economics writer at Slate, tweets, "Working on a #Slatepitch about how @DouthatNYT is wrong and actually Republicans really like Ronald Reagan."
Greg Sargent at The Washington Post sees that Republicans are stuck in 2011. Liberal columnist Sarget argues that the current shutdown boils down to this: "Many House Republicans won’t let go of the idea that they still retain the leverage over Obama they enjoyed in 2011." Boehner is uniting Republicans by rolling the debt limit debate into shutdown talks and giving the party more "leverage." Obama bowed to the GOP in the 2011 debt ceiling fight, but Sargent argues that "those conditions are no longer operative. … What’s particularly worrisome is that many House Republicans don’t seem to understand or accept any of this." So, "this makes the basic give and take of governing impossible, but these lawmakers have no incentive to drop this basic posture, because if they do, they risk a primary." New Republic contributor Richard Yeselson tweets, "Key point via @ThePlumLineGS: radical R's didn't understand leverage/power relationship situation in '11--or now." Daily Beast economics writer Daniel Gross says Sargent "goes to the front of the class."
Illan Berman at The National Review on the limits of Iranian enthusiasm for diplomacy. Berman, the vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in D.C., claims that Iran-U.S. relations are like Charlie Brown and Lucy playing football, and Iran is Lucy. "Time and again, the Iranian regime has succeeded in frustrating the White House’s earnest attempts at diplomatic 'engagement.'" Berman insists that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is not in charge, and that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has "ultimate control." It's "far from clear that Khamenei, the final arbiter of Iran’s strategic direction, is willing to make meaningful concessions — even if Rouhani himself is." Ali Gharib, who covers Middle East issues for The Daily Beast, tweets, "Can @ilanberman point to other examples of the U.S. "perennially tak(ing) the bait" from #Iran?" Fox News contributor and foreign policy writer Richard Grennell responds to Gharib, "the last freeze [and] most P5+1 mtgs."
Vali R. Nasr on why the U.S. should be wary of Iran. Nasr, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, explains: "Enforcing America’s 'red line' in Syria is only a prelude to dealing with the thicker, redder line around Iran's nuclear program." However, the U.S. shouldn't assume Iran is negotiating from a place of weakness. "Iran has come out of the Arab Spring better positioned than any of its regional rivals, and the turmoil in Syria, its ally, has paradoxically strengthened it further." Bottom line? "Iran’s diplomatic flexibility is serious, but should not be mistaken for willingness to surrender." Jeffrey Goldberg, a contributor to The Atlantic and Bloomberg View, tweets, "We knew this already, but @vali_nasr really believes the Obama Administration is bad at foreign policy."
Hanna Rosin at Slate on the rise of the fiancés that will never get married. Rosin writes, "I have come across this phenomenon dozens of times, almost always in working-class couples, and usually younger ones. Someone will introduce me to his or her fiancé. But what they mean is more like my 'steady lady' or my 'steady man.'" Despite the use of the term for a spouse-to-be, she says there is no immediate plan to get married. "The aspiration for marriage won’t die in America, even though fewer people are getting married or think they can afford to get married." Americans now consider marriage a "capstone" — something you get after landing a good job and home. But if you never get the job or the home, Rosin argues, "many … get lost in a free-floating longing for marriage that never gets fulfilled but finds temporary home in the liberal use of the term fiancé." Alicia Menendez, an anchor of the forthcoming Fusion network, recommends the post, as does Harvard Business Review editor Sarah Green.