Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Nov. 19
President Barack Obama repeated over the weekend a past statement that Israel has a right to defend itself against hundreds of missile attacks that have been launched against it from Gaza. The danger in that declaration of support is that it allows room for Israel's most right-wing elements to define the lengths to which they will go in the cause of "defense."
And so, on a day the Israeli military carried out dozens of airstrikes while naval forces bombarded targets along Gaza's Mediterranean coast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to talk about escalating the conflict with an incursion of ground troops into Gaza. A similar offensive four years ago left hundreds of civilians dead, many of them children, which is inevitable in an impoverished strip of land where large, young families are the norm.
While Netanyahu's threat is troublesome, it is even more alarming that Hamas, the anti-Israel political movement that won elections in Gaza in 2006, continues to aggravate Israel and endanger Israelis by firing ever-more-powerful missiles ever deeper into Israel....
Whether or not U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon can negotiate a cease-fire, it is going to become necessary for President Obama to take a position beyond his statement that Israel has a right to defend itself. That will be interesting to watch, given that Netanyahu injected himself to an unprecedented level in the 2012 presidential election, giving his endorsement to Obama's losing challenger, Mitt Romney.
That said, the looming crisis should transcend recent partisan politics.
The Ironton Tribune, Nov. 18
For more than a year Congress has taken an approach of "why solve today what can be pushed off until tomorrow," hence the looming so-called "fiscal cliff" the country could plummet off if a greater commitment to compromise doesn't take hold.
But, based on (the) meeting between Senate and House leaders and President Barack Obama, all parties may finally be ready to put politics aside and start finding a middle ground on the billions of automatic spending cuts and expiration of income tax breaks that are set for the end of the year.
Many Americans may believe this is really not their problem and doesn't have anything to do with them.
They couldn't be more wrong.
Both the cuts and the expiration of tax cuts could hurt the average citizen and economists warn might throw us back into a recession.
Democrats remain adamant that any plan must include the wealthy picking up more of what is deemed to be their share of taxes....
Republicans insist that any plan must include reform of entitlement programs, also a legitimate concern in order to ensure they remain solvent for years to come and aren't being abused.
Much work remains to be done but for the first time in months, it seems that a possible solution is on the horizon.
This is what the American people want and what the economy needs.
The (Toledo) Blade, Nov. 19
Clueless to the end and beyond, defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney asserted last week that he lost the election because of the "gifts" President Obama gave voters in various demographic groups: African-Americans, Hispanics, young people, women. Mr. Romney's condescending view of the democracy he wanted to — and almost did — lead is breath-taking.
In remarks reminiscent of his earlier denunciation of "47 percent" of Americans as freeloaders addicted to government handouts, Mr. Romney told campaign donors that the Obama campaign's strategy was to "give a bunch of money to a group, and guess what, they'll vote for you . Giving away free stuff is a hard thing to compete with."...
Mr. Romney's own proposed "gifts" to the wealthiest and best-connected voters in the form of tax cuts and gutted regulations were, of course, just good public policy. No political payoff there.
Mr. Romney may actually believe his electoral analysis, although it's always hard to tell what he really thinks. But there appears a simpler, less sinister explanation: Mr. Obama was re-elected because more voters concluded that a second term for the President would better serve not just their interests, but also the nation's. Even Republican officials are dissociating themselves from Mr. Romney's narrow world view.
President Obama's campaign assembled a broad coalition of voters who agreed with his agenda and positions on key issues. Mr. Romney lost because he chose to base his campaign more on division and fragmentation than on his positive message of economic growth and opportunity for all Americans.
The Marietta Times, Nov. 17
Drawing new congressional and legislative districts, as required every 10 years, is controversial in many states. Accusations of gerrymandering are common. So is concern among voters that their wishes have not been considered by state officials.
Many Ohioans are well aware of the need to improve the redistricting process in the Buckeye State. Yet ... voters rejected a ballot measure, Issue 2, that was aimed at doing just that....
Fortunately, legislative and congressional district boundaries will not have to be redrawn again until 2020. That leaves plenty of time for state leaders — with the advice and consent of Ohio residents — to devise a new system.
Legislators and Gov. John Kasich's administration should begin work on proposals for a new redistricting system soon.
A critical concern about the process of doing that involves bipartisanship. Kasich is a Republican. Secretary of State Jon Husted is a Republican. The General Assembly is controlled by Republicans.
Democrat leaders can be pardoned, then, if they view the process with suspicion. That makes it important that Republican leaders do all in their power to ensure changing the redistricting system is a bipartisan effort. Doing otherwise would set any plan for change up for failure.