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National Commentary

LEONID BERSHIDSKY: Syriza’s triumph shows the power of big ideas

It may seem ironic that Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s extreme right Front National, rooted for the extreme left Syriza in yesterday’s Greek election and rejoiced at its landslide victory. Yet there’s nothing unusual about it: Syriza, Front National and other European anti- establishment parties are partners in a political revolution that appears to be about to sweep the continent, giving back the original meaning to political terms such as “left” and “right” - - and helping Russian President Vladimir Putin in the process.

CAL THOMAS: GOP abortion bill: right ends, wrong means

As thousands descended on Washington last week for the annual “March for Life,” the Republican House of Representatives was busy watering down an antiabortion bill that restricted abortions after 20 weeks, except in cases of rape or incest, with exemptions allowed only after a police report had been filed. This after a small group of moderate Republican female lawmakers challenged the bill and lobbied for a less restrictive measure.

Syriza’s triumph shows the power of big ideas

It may seem ironic that Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s extreme right Front National, rooted for the extreme left Syriza in yesterday’s Greek election and rejoiced at its landslide victory. Yet there’s nothing unusual about it: Syriza, Front National and other European anti- establishment parties are partners in a political revolution that appears to be about to sweep the continent, giving back the original meaning to political terms such as “left” and “right” - - and helping Russian President Vladimir Putin in the process.

GOP abortion bill: right ends, wrong means

As thousands descended on Washington last week for the annual “March for Life,” the Republican House of Representatives was busy watering down an antiabortion bill that restricted abortions after 20 weeks, except in cases of rape or incest, with exemptions allowed only after a police report had been filed. This after a small group of moderate Republican female lawmakers challenged the bill and lobbied for a less restrictive measure.

MEGAN MCARDLE: What do the states get out of pushing sin taxes?

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, R, has put his state in a bit of a pickle. The governor pushed through massive cuts to the state’s income taxes, which, in one of the least surprising developments in recent U.S. history, left the state hundreds of millions of dollars in the hole. Even the conservative citizenry of Kansas was not pleased, and Brownback barely squeaked to a re-election victory. Now he’s finally having to do something to close the budget gap, and the answer is: sin taxes. Levies on alcohol and cigarettes will rise substantially.

JAY AMBROSE: President’s cutesy speech omitted looming entitlement crisis

Unbelievable. President Obama, among the most divisive presidents in our recent history, gives an also divisive State of the Union speech, taking credit for things he did not do, producing a laundry list of mostly bad things he plans and at the end sounding oh, so nice. This country of ours? We’re a “tight-knit family.” Republicans? He wants to get along with them. To repeat a question he asked, really?

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SOTU roundup: Obama goes on offense

CNN asked for views on President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, in which he touted a reviving economy, laid out an agenda aimed at helping the middle class and appealed to Republicans to work across the aisle. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the authors.

Focus on growth for the middle class

The most challenging economic issue ahead of us involves a group that will barely be represented at this week’s annual Davos summit: the middle classes of the world’s industrial countries. As the Center for American Progress’s Inclusive Prosperity Commission, which I co-chaired with Ed Balls, the top economic official in Britain’s Labor Party, concludes in a new report, nothing is more important to the success of industrial democracies than sustained increases in wages and living standards for working families.

Why Guantanamo must be closed

Before the “war on terror,” many Americans knew about Guantanamo Bay only from its depiction in “A Few Good Men.” In the film’s most famous scene, the Marine colonel who commands the U.S. naval base, played by Jack Nicholson, declares during a court-martial: “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.”