5 Best Thursday Columns

David Broder on campaign finance, Joe Klein on Petraeus's way forward and more

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  • David Broder on Campaign Finance The Washington Post columnist examines a way forward for campaign finance reform in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. A major stumbling block for Obama's legislative fix, which requires full disclosure from companies that engage in corporate endorsements, are exemptions based on the size of a corporation. "Congress could do better than enacting a measure that sets one rule for the Friends of the Earth and a looser standard for the NRA."
  • Zoe Williams on the Role of American Courts The Gaurdian columnist ponders the role of American courts, with the somewhat constant battle between consumer groups and McDonald's as a foil. Williams finds a certain American "radicalism" absent from British courts remarkable: the idea that "large corporations should approach customers in a responsible way, thinking not only of profit but of the nutritional needs of a family, as well as its budget and interior dynamics." Such a dynamic has wrought, as Williams puts it, an "emotional relationship with the court process."
  • Joe Klein on Petraeus's Way Forward  In a column for Time, Klein elegantly summarizes the personal and philosophical conflicts that will shape the war in Afghanistan for the rest of Obama's presidency. Where generations-old Democratic anti-military skittishness meets a variably effective counterinsurgency strategy, the seeds of the next phase of war will be planted. "This is the sort of moment that people write books about," Klein notes. "The real question is whether this Democratic President and the military, symbolized by Petraeus, can make the adjustments necessary to live with each other ... These adjustments should not be difficult; they simply require the good faith and respect from both sides that have been lost, as McChrystal's crushing indelicacy so clearly demonstrated."
  • Thomas E. Ricks on Losing a General, Winning a War  In a New York Times op-ed today, the author makes a case for supporting Obama's decision to oust General McChrystal. He says, "No policy can be successful if those sent to put it in place undermine one another with snide comments to reporters and leaked memorandums." He continues with the history of military firings, noting that perhaps we should revert to old ways of being more flexible in letting people go, namely for the fact that it will allow younger officials to come up from lower ranks. He says, "Had Army officers been managed in the Afghan War as they were during World War II, we would be seeing a new generation of leaders emerge."
  • Thierry Schaffauser on Prejudice Against Sex Workers  Writing in The Guardian, Schaffauser, a social activist, sex worker, and adult entertainer, decries the spread of "whorephobia," which he defines as "the fear or the hate of sex workers." Such attitudes are dehumanizing, he argues, and they facilitate a culture's slide into widespread misogyny. "Women are brought up to think of sex workers as 'bad women,'" Schaffauser writes. "It prevents them from copying and taking advantage of the freedoms sex workers fight for, like the occupation of nocturnal and public spaces, or how to impose a sexual contract in which conditions have to be negotiated and respected. Whorephobia operates as a way of controlling and policing women's behaviour, just as homophobia does for men."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.