5 Best Friday Columns

David Brooks on the new elite, Ed Kilgore on the Democrats' narrative, and more

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  • David Brooks on Hating the New Elite  The New York Times columnist examines the growing resentment felt for the elite, despite the fact that the "upper echelons of society" are no longer old boys' clubs but meritocracies: "As we’ve made our institutions more meritocratic, their public standing has plummeted. We’ve increased the diversity and talent level of people at the top of society, yet trust in elites has never been lower."
  • Charles Krauthammer on the 'Ungovernable' America  The Washington Post columnist scoffs at pundits and politicians who claim special interests, the filibuster, and partisanship have made it impossible to get things done in government. Krauthammer argues Obama has been ineffective because of policy, not politics:
He failed because the utter implausibility of its central promise -- expanded coverage at lower cost -- led voters to conclude that it would lead ultimately to more government, more taxes and more debt. More broadly, the Democrats failed because, thinking the economic emergency would give them the political mandate and legislative window, they tried to impose a left-wing agenda on a center-right country ... In other words, the system worked.
  • Adam Shriver on Factory Farms and Animal Rights  The Washington University doctoral student pens a guest column in The New York Times outlining the advances in neuroscience that could limit the pain of animals raised for slaughter:
Neuroscientists have found that by damaging a laboratory rat’s anterior cingulate cortex, or by injecting the rat with morphine, they can likewise block its affective perception of pain. The rat reacts to a heated cage floor by withdrawing its paws, but it doesn’t bother avoiding the places in its cage where it has learned the floor is likely to be heated up.
  • Ed Kilgore on the Democrats' Narrative  The New Republic blogger argues that Democrats can avoid electoral disaster later this year if they start playing offense now. Kilgore's advice: Draw repeated and detailed comparisons between the way things are now (bad) and the way they'd be under Republican policies (much worse):
This November, if voters remain fixated on the current reality, rather than the terrible alternatives, then the midterm elections really will be a referendum on the status quo and its Democratic caretakers. Explaining life as it would be without Obama, and as it could be under Republican management, is not easy. But Democrats must do it or face catastrophe at the polls.
  • Peggy Noonan on Obama's Spending Commission  The Wall Street Journal columnist lauds the President for throwing together a pragmatic and politically shrewd body to reign in government spending, but worries that political roadblocks will ruin the already-shaken trust of the American people in the government:

People are freshly aware and concerned about the real-world implications of a $1.6 trillion dollar deficit, of a $14 trillion debt. It will rob America of its economic power, and eventually even of its ability to defend itself. Militaries cost money. And if other countries own our debt, don't they in some new way own us?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.