After a week dominated by the devastation and aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti,
many writers are using the weekend to take a step back and evaluate the
crisis. They have stiff competition: Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton
have all taken to the opinion pages to explain how they see Haiti and
its future. Clinton weighed in
Thursday and does so again today. Of course, the columns were likely
written by staffers and not the Presidents themselves, who are busy
with relief work, but they reflect sincere policy discussion and,
perhaps, policy action. Also making waves in Sunday's opinion sphere
are the Google-China dispute, health care reform, which could be coming to a close, and the Tea Party movement, which is shaking up the Senatorial race in Massachusetts.
- Appealing Americans to Help Haiti Former Presidents Clinton and Bush write in the New York Times, "Throughout both our careers in public service, we have witnessed firsthand the amazing generosity of the American people in the face of calamity." They plead with Americans to give to help Haiti, writing, "We know the American people will respond again. Just as any of us would reach out to a neighbor in need here at home, we will do everything we can to give aid, care and comfort to our neighbors in the Caribbean, now and in the months and years to come." They add, "It’s a long road to full recovery, but we will not leave the Haitian people to walk it alone."
- Why We Care About Haiti President Obama writes for Newsweek:
But above all, we act for a very simple reason: in times of tragedy, the United States of America steps forward and helps. That is who we are. That is what we do. For decades, America's leadership has been founded in part on the fact that we do not use our power to subjugate others, we use it to lift them up—whether it was rebuilding our former adversaries after World War II, dropping food and water to the people of Berlin, or helping the people of Bosnia and Kosovo rebuild their lives and their nations.
- Are Tea Parties a Rip-Off Scam? The New York Times's Frank Rich thinks so.
He cites Sarah Palin and Michael Steele as evidence of "the rise of
buckrakers who are exploiting the party’s anarchic confusion and
divisions to cash in for their own private gain." He explores Palin and
Steele's personal profits, then goes after the organization as a whole.
The entire Tea Party Convention is a profit-seeking affair charging $560 a ticket — plus the cost of a room at the Opryland Hotel. Among the convention’s eight listed sponsors is Tea Party Emporium, which gives as its contact address 444 Madison Avenue in New York, also home to the high-fashion brand Burberry. This emporium’s Web site offers a bejeweled tea bag at $89.99 for those furious at “a government hell bent on the largest redistribution of wealth in history.” This is almost as shameless as Glenn Beck, whose own tea party profiteering has included hawking gold coins merchandised by a sponsor of his radio show.
- Is Health Care Reform Good Enough? The Washington Post's Ezra Klein gets wonky, looking closely at the numbers. He concludes, "It's time for some real talk on health-care reform. By the standards of what Congress generally does in a year, this bill is very big. But by the standards of the health-care system, it's not that big at all. It goes two-thirds of the way on covering the uninsured. It makes a courageous, but insufficient, start on cost control. This is the beginning, not the end, of reform."
- The Web's 'Berlin Wall Moment' That's what the Guardian's Rafael Behr calls Google's decision to end censorship in China. "Google takes seriously its founding principle – 'Don't be evil' – even if outsiders are sceptical," he writes. "Freedom is not hard-wired into the net. That is the lesson that Google has learned and it comes as a shock to the whole digital culture. This is the web's Berlin Wall moment."