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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Sunday, July 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Editorial sampler: Mitt abroad ...

- Enabling Israel: Romney, Obama trapped in pattern - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The other day in this space, we lamented that, in the wake of yet another mass shooting, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney showed the least interest in reviewing the sad state of U.S. gun laws.

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There is another issue, though, on which neither the president nor his challenger wishes to be silent. Neither candidate, apparently, feels that he can afford to come in second in the race to be seen as the most determined defender of the state of Israel. Like the candidates’ stereophonic silence on gun issues, their bidding war over the American Jewish vote is an embarrassing display that may win votes but does not serve the public interest. Or Israel’s.

In just the last few days, Romney has traveled to Israel, met top government officials, visited the Wailing Wall, insulted the Palestinians, threatened Iran and generally tried to make himself beloved of the Israeli people. No matter that much of what he was saying — from suggesting that Israel’s wealth is a sign of a culture superior to that of the Palestinians, to declaring that no option would be excluded from the effort to make sure Iran never becomes a nuclear power — can only undermine any chance of turning the weak Arab Spring into a long-term move toward modernity.

Obama, for his part, was hardly less transparent. He chose this particular moment to release a previously approved $70 million in U.S. military aid for Israel, as he signed a new bill expanding U.S.-Israeli military and civilian cooperation. [Read the rest ...]

Something else both candidates are messing up:

- Presidential contenders can't duck climate change - Sacramento Bee Editorial

Also:

- Mitt trips, again - San Francisco Chronicle Editorial

It's the slow season, a drowsy summer between the primaries and formal nomination in a month. Why not take a quick trip overseas, stocked with photo-ops and foreign flags?

Mitt Romney is showing why not in a series of road trip gaffes. They may not be monumental, but each chips away at his desired image as sure-handed and informed. ...

- Romney’s pilgrimage to Israel - Washington Times Editorial

Mitt Romney’s trip to Israel was spun by most commentators as an attempt to appeal to American Jewish voters. More importantly, though, it sent a message that under Mr. Romney’s leadership, the United States would no longer be ashamed to seek peace through strength. ...

- Mitt abroad - New York Post Editorial

Say this for Mitt Romney, who wraps up his three-country tour in Warsaw today: He knows who America’s allies are — and is ready to say so out loud.

Unlike a certain US president. ...

- Romney’s visit -Jerusalem Post Editorial

There is no doubt that Mitt Romney is a great friend and supporter of Israel.

- Mr. Romney stumps in Israel - New York Times Editorial

Mitt Romney made a point of insisting that he would adhere to an unwritten rule and often violated rule about candidates not criticizing each other or contradicting American foreign policy on foreign soil. About the only effort he made to keep that promise during his stop in Israel was to avoid mentioning President Obama by name.

Beyond that, with some of the biggest investors in Republican politics in tow, Mr. Romney made no effort to disguise the target and intent of rhetoric that was certainly inflammatory but largely free of any sense of how we would carry out policies he was championing....

- Romney praises health care in Israel, where research says ‘strong government influence’ has driven down costs - Sarah Kliff, The Washington Post/Wonkbook

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