5 Best Thursday Columns

David Broder on Strasburg and soccer, Joshua Green on the oil spill and the Tea Party, and more

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  • Harold Meyerson on California's GOP Perils  Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman have secured the Republican nominations for senator and governor of California, respectively. Time to celebrate, right? Not so fast, warns Meyerson in The Washington Post: "California Republican primaries have a nasty habit of rendering their winners unelectable in November, and this year's contest looks like it will be no exception." Meyerson cites the two candidates' hard-right turn during the primary season, as well as the Republican Party's troubled history with the California Latino community. Fiorina and Whitman have each "said things deeply offensive to a fatally large swath of California voters," Meyerson writes. "Their campaigns may be gold-plated, but they have ears of purest tin."
  • Tony Judt on Moving Past Israel's Cliches  In a column for The New York Times, Judt, the director of the Remarque Institute at New York University, lists a number of rhetorical tropes and tics that often shape conversations about Israel, and calls for a moratorium on all of them. Leave aside the idea that Israel is being or should be delegitimized, says Judt; abandon the notion that anti-Semitism informs any and all criticism of the country's policies. "The time has come," Judt writes, "to cut through the clichés surrounding it, treat Israel like a 'normal' state and sever the umbilical cord."

  • David Broder on Strasburg and Soccer  Anticipating the next few weeks of sports fever, The Washington Post columnist extols the therapeutic powers of athletic competition on social, political, and economic strife. "A fascinating test of the curative power of sports has been unfolding this week on both sides of the Atlantic, as Washington and Johannesburg look to athletes to lift the gloom surrounding their political leaders," writes Broder. "Washington badly needed the lift promised by Strasburg's arrival...But however sour the mood in this capital, our problems fade to insignificance compared with the difficulties in South Africa."
  • Joshua Green on the Spill Sinking the Tea Party  With the recent election of Senate candidates in some states, the Tea Party should be picking up steam...if it weren't for oil, says Green in his Boston Globe column today. With the media's obsession focused on the oil spill in the Gulf, he says, "The Tea Party movement, animated by intense disapproval of government activism, has smacked up against an unprecedented environmental disaster that is providing a vivid daily illustration of why an activist government is sometimes necessary." Another casualty of the spill? President Obama. "But that could be about to change," says Green, adding, " if the locus of public debate is whether to deny oil companies tax breaks, and if voters come to associate government intervention in the marketplace with incentivizing clean technology rather than propping up General Motors, then Obama will find himself in a more advantageous position."
  • Ayad Allawi on Iraq's Fragile Democracy  Writing in The Washington Post, the former prime minister of Iraq offers a solution to the war-torn country's perpetually unstable government. Domestically, the desire for a stable democracy is not the issue, writes Allawi. "Voters were clear: They have had enough ethnic and sectarian division, and they want the violence and bloodshed to stop." However, Allawi emphasizes that the Iraq's party system is not cohesive enough to solve the fundamental security issues destabilizing the country. "While I have long supported the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Iraq cannot be allowed to revert to an unstable state of sectarian strife, dominated by regional influences," writes Allawi. "The seeds of democracy have been planted; they need to be nurtured."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.