• With: Kim Strassel, Dan Henninger, James Freeman, Bret Stephens, Mary Kissel, Collin Levy, David Feith


    GIGOT: -- big, big payments due coming to the state, each year.

    Something -- several hundred million dollars.

    But, Collin, Rahm Emanuel might say, you want this perfect, but these things take time. We've got incremental change. That's the way that the system works. We got our foot in the door on student test scores and teacher evacuations. Next time we can get more. What's wrong with that argument?

    LEVY: What's wrong with that argument, Paul, is the students there now are going to suffer in the interim. If you look at this, you basically have -- this is a civil rights issue. You have a situation where under 60 percent of Chicago students are graduating from high school. And in the really bad neighborhoods, it's even worse than that. So those students are being failed right now. And that's not something that can necessarily wait. They had a chance here, I think, to fight a little bit harder, but they didn't for, I think, partially political reasons.

    GIGOT: And the political reason was because there's an election coming and a showdown would not be very good politics?


    LEVY: -- an election coming. This is Obama's hometown. This is Democrats facing off with the unions. It isn't a story that anyone really wants to talk about here. So I think that was a large part of it.

    GIGOT: David, you met with Rahm Emanuel the week before the strike was settled. And he had a pretty -- you wrote that he had a pretty calm, cool attitude toward this. A guy who is not necessarily known for political cool. He can get pretty combative. You, what's your take on the outcome?

    DAVID FEITH, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL FEATURES EDITOR: Well, when we met that week as the strike was going on, he was a man who wanted to make a deal. As you said, he didn't bring the fire and the -- the flamboyant --


    -- aggressiveness that he brings --


    GIGOT: That he brings to Republicans.

    FEITH: Right. And he wanted to make a deal, essentially because there's an election coming up. He's a chief fundraiser for President Obama and this wasn't an appropriate time, six or seven weeks before the election, to have a major fight in the president's hometown with organized labor. And that essentially followed consistently through the week. He, in fact, did make that deal. and I think that an additional point is, not only is this incremental and not only is it harmful for kids over the next three or four contract years, but there's an additional point that this was an enormous opportunity cost. If this was an opportunity in a high-profile way to bring the moral and the fiscal case for school reform out of the subterranean and bring it to national attention, Rahm Emanuel clearly decided he didn't want to do that and je succeeded in not doing it.

    GIGOT: But Joel Klein, the former New York schools chancellor, and now running the education subsidiary of our parent company, News Corp, wrote in our paper this week that this was actually a watershed event, because it showed Democrats, not just Republicans, not just conservative, but Democratic leaders were willing to take a strike and confront the unions. So that this is actually a really big moment politically that's going to play out in the years to come?

    FEITH: I think the gravity of the moment is yet to be determined.

    It's true that he took a strike. He is true that he largely had a reform agenda. And it is true that, in that, he joins other Democrats, like the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, for example. So there's a movement, as Mr. Klein wrote, where Democrats are willing to take this on. But if they're willing to take it on in a way that always ends up in a 17.5 percent raise for teachers, and really incremental moves on teacher evaluations, it's not going to help the kids very much.

    GIGOT: Is this going down well, briefly, in Chicago that it's finally over, Collin?

    LEVY: I think that parents are relieved to have their kids back in school. But it's going to something where, down the line, it's going to have enormous costs for the school system. and I think -- even Moody's looked at this and said, look, -- it was actually credit negative here, this strike.

    GIGOT: Right.

    LEVY: So they're going to have to make more quick adjustments. Maybe more charter schools.

    GIGOT: Well, that would be a good outcome, if you can get them. But that will be fought every step of the way by the unions, too.

    We have to take one more break. When we come back, our "Hits and Misses" of the week.


    GIGOT: Time now for our big closer, "Hits and Misses" of the week.

    Kim, first to you.

    STRASSEL: I hit to Monica Lewinsky for having the savvy and the good timing to this week reportedly land a $12 million contract for a new tell-all memoir about her time with Bill Clinton. Just as old Bill is back out there charming the pants off the nation on behalf of Barack Obama, just as Democrats are ramping up their argument that Republicans wage a war on women, here comes Mrs. Lewinsky with some vivid and, no doubt, graphic reminders of what life was really like under our last president.

    GIGOT: All right, Kim.


    FEITH: This is big miss and then a little hit to the hip retailer, Urban Outfitters. The store has been selling a poster that glorifies Che Guevara, the Communist Cuban revolutionary who has become iconic, even though he was a murderer who helped install the tyranny that still dominates Cuba 50 years later. After criticism from the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, Urban Outfitters announced it would no longer sell the poster. So it's better late than never.

    GIGOT: OK.

    All right, Collin, can you out-do Strassel?


    LEVY: No one can do that.


    This is a hit to the Second Court of Appeals judge, Raymond Lohier, who blocked a lower-court decision that would have thrown U.S. detention policy overseas into chaos. Basically, a group of journalists, led by former New York Times foreign correspondent, Chris Hedges, sued the Obama administration saying they were afraid they were going to be arrested by a policy that allows the government to detain associated forces to Al Qaeda. This decision basically kept things more toward the status quo and it'll keep things from really becoming a mess overseas.

    GIGOT: All right. Here, here, Collin.

    OK, Bret?

    BRET STEPHENS, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST: You know those wind turbines that turn slowly and slowly and slowly? You know what turns those turbines? Your tax dollars. Right now, we're learning maybe, just maybe congressional Republicans are going to kill the billion-dollars-a-year tax credit that has been moving those useless turbines and providing high-cost electricity. So it's a hit to congressional Republicans, a hit for Mitt Romney for being courageous on this issue. A miss to the green jobs revolution of President Obama.