The Netherlands

After months defending traditionally red states like North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Ohio, Romney has finally decided to launch an offensive. Where? Poland: The predictably undefended flank of Obama’s route to 270 electoral votes. Poland is the ancestral homeland of about 3 percent of the American population, but a higher share of a few traditionally Democratic but potentially competitive states, like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where Polish-Americans constitute between 7 and 10 percent of the population.

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Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year.

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 As I watch Poland-Greece, which is pretty good so far, it is time to make predictions for Euro 2012, thereby setting myself up for the undermining of my soccer authority  bound to occur toward the end. So: Winner: Germany In the final: Spain-Germany Semifinals: Spain-Holland; Germany: France Top scorers: Benzema (France), Lewandowski (who just scored for Poland) I would also like to note the consonant-cluster orgy taking place on the backs of players in the Poland-Greece game. The ESPN commentators, Macca and Ian Darke (I think) are doing a fine job of pronouncing the names.

Despite small gains during the last two years, the trend in U.S. manufacturing jobs for the last 30 years has been downward, leading some to argue that long-term manufacturing job loss is inevitable. But our research shows otherwise. There are two common versions of the “inevitability” argument. One holds that U.S.

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Where Do We Come From?

Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750-1790 By Jonathan I. Israel (Oxford University Press, 1,066 pp., $45) I. There’s something about the Enlightenment. Today, few educated men and women spend much time debating whether Western civilization took a disastrously wrong turn in the High Middle Ages. They do not blame all manner of political ills on Romanticism, or insist that non-Western immigrants adopt Renaissance values. But the Enlightenment is different. It has been held responsible for everything from the American Constitution to the Holocaust.

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Jakarta—Despite the boom of recent years, Indonesia is still the sort of place from which young people seek to escape. Nearly all Indonesians who can afford it send their children to study in universities abroad, and my parents were no different. But where many of my former classmates have since become Canadians and Australians, I am again in Jakarta. Like most of the Indonesians I know who studied in the United States, I had trouble staying there after graduating. Many of these would-be Americans are now doing exceptional things elsewhere.

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Another Dutch Treat

Critics of health care reform frequently warn that it will reduce the quality of medical care in this country, by stifling innovation and handing more control over to government bureaucrats. And to back up their case they like to cite the state of health care in Europe, which is supposedly inferior. But that argument really isn’t very persuasive – and a big reason is the state of primary health care here and abroad.

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When conservative opponents of health care reform aren’t talking about death panels, they’re talking about Europe. Their argument usually goes something like this: The Affordable Care Act will make our health care system like more like the ones across the Atlantic. And that would be bad: People will wait longer for treatments, pay more for it, and/or get inferior results. Reality is, well, a little different. And I have some first-hand perspectives on this.

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This article is a contribution to 'Is There Anything That Can Be Done? A TNR Symposium On The Economy'. Click here to read other contributions to the series. Various flashy stimulus packages—whether through the spending measures typically advocated by Democrats or the tax cuts regularly pushed by Republicans—remain a constant and tired refrain in our political debate. But if programs like George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts and Barack Obama’s Recovery Act tend to dominate the news, in the long run our living standards are determined by the compounded effect of productivity growth over decades.

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The Truman Show

It looks like President Obama really has found his inner Harry Truman, at least for the moment. On Thursday, Obama travelled to Holland, Michigan, to speak at a factory that manufactures batteries for electric cars. And, at least by Obama’s standards, the rhetoric was unusually combative, as he attacked Congress repeatedly for blocking his economic agenda: "There are some in Congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win," Obama said.  The substantive focus was different, too.

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