5 Best Monday Columns

Parker on cetacean psychology, Brownstein on Democratic self-confidence, and more

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  • Ronald Brownstein on the Health Care 'Leap of Faith'  The National Journal political director and columnist lays out a potential solution for Democrats on health care reform. While the Senate plan provides an "equitable and efficient" foundation for the health system, Brownstein laments that polling numbers emphasize an opposition more intense and galvanized than the support for reform. His solution? Follow the advice of White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer and, in Brownstein's words, "pass it despite poor poll numbers and then build support through implementation ... Democrats need the confidence to take a leap of faith."
  • Paul Krugman on the Financial Reform Endgame  Between lambasting the Senate in general and Senate Republicans in particular, the New York Times columnist advises Democrats to flatly refuse to accept any measure of watered-down financial reform and "draw a line in the sand" for Republicans:
There are times when even a highly imperfect reform is much better than nothing; this is very much the case for health care. But financial reform is different. An imperfect health care bill can be revised in the light of experience, and if Democrats pass the current plan there will be steady pressure to make it better. A weak financial reform, by contrast, wouldn’t be tested until the next big crisis. All it would do is create a false sense of security and a fig leaf for politicians opposed to any serious action — then fail in the clinch.

  • George Will on 'Curing' Character Flaws  The Washington Post columnist penned a Saturday strafing of the DSM IV's new revision, which unveils psychological diagnoses for a broad range of anti-normative behavior. Though Will snipes "there might be a legal entitlement to be a jerk," he argues there are more serious consequences to "medicalizing the assessment of character."
It is scientifically sensible to say that all behavior is in some sense caused. But a society that thinks scientific determinism renders personal responsibility a chimera must consider it absurd not only to condemn depravity but also to praise nobility.
  • Fareed Zakaria on Debt Reduction  Writing in Newsweek, Zakaria offers a three-point plan for kneecapping America's deficit. Among his suggestions: "Adopt a value-added tax... end the massive, distorting subsidies for home-ownership, health care, and agriculture... [and] tie benefits to rises in inflation, not wages." He admits that "it's the politics that makes this look hard," but stresses that we can't allow political concerns to make a bad situation even worse.
  • Kathleen Parker on Killer Whales  The Washington Post columnist consults her cousin, a marine biologist and former whale trainer, for answers about the orca attack that left a Sea World trainer dead last week. Parker rules out the possibility of premeditation and concludes that there's ultimately no way to know why whales suddenly become aggressive--unless we choose to set aside our affection for the animals and start researching them more thoroughly.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.