5 Best Thursday Columns

Republicans probably won't embrace health care any time soon. Also, whither honeybees?

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  • Anne Applebaum on the GOP's Future  The Washington Post columnist cautions Republicans against embracing angry and violent rhetoric as a campaign tool. Detailing the decline of Britain's Conservative Party in the late 1990s, Applebaum argues they have just now become relevant again because "they changed the way they spoke: No more shouting. No more anger. No more arrogance." She proceeds to draw a line in the sand for the GOP: "The history of the Tories shows that if by exciting your base you lose the center, then you lose the next election too."

  • Nicholas Kristof on Escaping from Poverty  Breaking from the media's marathon health-care coverage, the New York Times columnist turns to another pressing problem in America: the proportion of Americans living below the poverty line has metastasized to one in eight. While the causes of this obstinate poverty rate are glaring, Kristof finds reason to remain optimistic: "We’re getting a much better handle on what policies can overcome poverty. We’re now seeing more experiments, modeled after randomized drug trials, that measure carefully whether an approach works and how cost-effective it is. Partly this reflects the rise of economists (at the expense of political scientists and do-gooders) and the rigor they pack in their briefcases."

  • John Boehner on the Case for Repeal  In a guest turn at The Des Moines Register, Boehner, the House Minority Leader, rails against the newly minted health care reform package, which he says has made it more expensive to be a doctor, patient, and taxpayer. Boehner points out all the ways that the legislation increases costs and taxes without creating new employment opportunities. "This government takeover of health care is not what Americans asked for, not what they can afford, and not what they deserve," he writes. "That's why Republicans are fighting to repeal it so we can start over with common-sense reforms that get health-care reform right."
  • Karl Rove on Republicans' Best Practices  Rove, the Wall Street Journal columnist and political strategist, hits many of the same policy points as Boehner while drawing up a Republican road map for November. "Republican candidates must focus on ObamaCare's weaknesses," Rove writes, before suggesting a number of more palatable alternatives the GOP can offer: "enabling people to buy insurance across state lines, increasing the amount of money they can sock away tax free for medical expenses, and permitting small businesses to pool risk." In Rove's estimation, "opponents of ObamaCare have decisively won the battle for public opinion"; now they need to press that advantage.
  • Marcelo Aizen and Lawrence Harder on Honeybee Burnout  The authors, an Argentinean researcher and a professor of ecology, pen a New York Times column that sheds some light on the mysterious global phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder--better known as bee die-off. It's our demand for high-effort, low-yield crops like apples and avocados that's contributing to the worldwide loss of bees, Aizen and Harder suspect. As these crops spread out to occupy more and more acres, they're displacing the bees that pollinate them, thus throwing the balance of nature off-kilter. "If we want to continue to enjoy almonds, apples and avocados," the authors write, "we have to cultivate fewer of them, more sustainably, and protect the wild bees that help make their production possible."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.