The Scrapbook has been reading, with great interest and profit, not one but two stellar recent publications of that stellar journal, National Affairs.

The first is the Spring 2012 issue. It features excellent pieces by frequent WEEKLY STANDARD contributors like James Capretta (with Robert Moffit) on “How to Replace Obamacare,” Adam White on independent federal agencies, and Peter Wehner (with Robert Beschel) on “How to Think about Inequality.” We were particularly struck by our staff writer Jay Cost’s essay on “The Politics of Loss,” emphasizing and explaining, in a big historical frame, the particular need for the GOP in 2012 to have a serious and comprehensive economic growth message. And then there’s George Weigel on “The Handwriting on the Wall,” using Pope Leo XIII’s “acute analysis of political modernity” as a guide to the crisis of our time—an unusually thought-provoking essay.

And next to that issue on our desk is a new compendium of essays from National Affairs, edited by Yuval Levin and Meghan Clyne. A Time for Governing is a sort of “best of” collection from the journal’s first three years, reprinting 18 essays focused on guiding us towards solutions to key policy problems. We enjoyed especially rereading Yuval Levin on the welfare state and Jim Manzi on “Keeping America’s Edge.” If Mitt Romney has room for only one book and one journal in his carry-on, this is the book, and this is the quarterly, for him to have at hand. (Along with the latest WEEKLY STANDARD, of course!) With these, he’ll have what he needs to read—and to win.

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