5 Best Friday Columns

David Brooks on energy innovation, Paul Krugman on Europe's financial mess, and more

This article is from the archive of our partner .
  • David Brooks on Energy Innovation  The New York Times columnist compares the debate over energy legislation such as cap-and-trade to the battle over the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. Noting the similar opposition to both policies, Brooks emphatically supports investment in energy innovation, declaring: "To remain the world’s pre-eminent nation, the U.S. is going to have to develop energy sources that are plentiful, clean and don’t enrich the worst people on earth." Brooks proposes a government-directed increase in new energy R&D and states the country is ready for "a new wave of energy development."
  • Roger Cohen on Salam Fayyad  "When Palestinian leaders are talking about their self-inflicted undoing, as well as the undoing inflicted on them by Israel, things may be starting to move," begins the New York Times columnist, who lauds the Palestinian prime minister's program for Palestinian statehood and peace with Israel. Labeling Fayyad "the best hope for Palestine in a very long time," Cohen argues the opposition of Hamas and Fatah is matched by Palestinians desire for peace.
The easy argument against him is that he’s isolated politically — opposed by Hamas in Gaza and regarded with suspicion by the Fatah old guard in the West Bank. The argument for him is that he’s getting things done, improving people’s lives, and Palestinians are tired of going nowhere.
  • Ronald Brownstein on Immigration and the GOP  Detailing Republicans' pullback from immigration reform since 2006, the National Journal columnist sighs at a GOP that continues to be de facto white-only in a country increasingly dominated by minorities. "The hardening GOP position also shows how the party is being tugged toward nativism as its coalition grows more monochromatic: In a nation that is more than one-third minority, nearly 90 percent of McCain's votes in the 2008 presidential election came from whites," he recounts. Unless Republicans get on board, Brownstein fears immigration reform will stall again and "the nation will likely suffer through years of sharpening social division."
  • Paul Krugman on the Euro-Mess  At The New York Times, Krugman lays out a readable summary of why the present crisis in Greece bodes ill for all of Europe. "Is the euro itself in danger? In a word, yes," Krugman warns. The principal lesson here, he says, is the importance of being able to adapt to fluid situations. "When they joined the euro, the governments of Greece, Portugal and Spain denied themselves the ability to do some bad things, like printing too much money; but they also denied themselves the ability to respond flexibly to events," Krugman writes. "And when crisis strikes, governments need to be able to act."
  • Peggy Noonan on Mending Fences  "The right never trusted the government, but now the middle doesn't," Noonan declares in a scathing Wall Street Journal column. Noonan repeatedly stresses the point that "until the border itself is secure," substantive reform in any other area won't matter; her larger point concerns a swelling sense of alienation between the American government and the American people. "While the Democrats worry about the prospects of the Democrats and the Republicans about the well-being of the Republicans, who worries about America?" Noonan wonders. "No one. Which the American people have noticed."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.