Morning Must Reads: Holbrooke

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(REUTERS/Mian Khursheed)

–Richard Holbrooke’s passing has prompted an outpouring of retrospectives full of awe and appreciation. Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s obituary, warm remembrances from Michael Elliot and Jeffrey Goldberg, George Packer’s recent profile, statements from countless public officials, and TNR’s compilation of works about and by Holbrooke are all well worth reading, as is Massimo:

Holbrooke was not just a prominent American diplomat who engaged in some of the most consequential international events of his time. In the same way that Shakespearian characters still seem to live with us today as the archetypes for human nobility, vanity and ambition, so Holbrooke seemed to be the very human version of American diplomacy itself: pile-driver powerful yet subtly persuasive; brash, volcanic and occasionally offensive, but tactically brilliant and capable of the finest strategic judgment; cold-eyed and sometimes heartlessly realistic, but possessing high principles and real, deep compassion.

–Mitt Romney comes out against the Obama-McConnell tax cut compromise in USA Today. The medium of the targeted op-ed has been his modus operandi throughout the Obama presidency, but his message breaks some new ground this time. His critiques reflect a very conservative line: Because the Bush extensions are temporary, he argues, the deal will exacerbate uncertainty in the private sector and, more notably, add too much to the deficit (he suggests permanent extensions would increase government revenue, a claim that many Republican economists find questionable.) Romney posits that extending jobless benefits will provide the unemployed a disincentive from finding work (Congressional Republicans for the most part favor extending UI, but simply want it offset with spending cuts) and even recommends establishing private “unemployment savings accounts.” The op-ed not only puts Romney, a former moderate governor of Massachusetts, at odds with much of the Republican Senate caucus; it positions him to the right of them.

–Some worthwhile thoughts on yesterday’s ruling against the individual mandate: Ilya Somin writes it confirms that legal challenges are more than an afterthought and the law is likely headed to the Supreme Court. Orrin Kerr argues Henry Hudson’s ruling had a glaring flaw related to the the Necessary and Proper clause. Ezra Klein is just happy that the individual mandate is being targeted separately from the law writ large. The Times has more.

–Michael Steele will seek another term atop the RNC. In classic Steele form, he was out there within hours explaining his flare to Greta Van Susteren:

My style is a little bit different than most conventional party chairmen; my style is more grassroots oriented, I’m much more of a street guy.

I love hanging out in boardrooms, but I prefer to be in the neighborhoods and communities.

–Crossroads GPS is already spending on 2012.

–Rahm Emanuel is still struggling with residency issues.

–Stan Collender is bearish on significant deficit action.

–And the same percentage of Americans that think Wall Street bonuses should remain an incentive believe Elvis lives.

What did I miss?

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