5 Best Friday Columns
Moral naturalism, Southern secessionism, and Obama's secret hatred of the prairie
Paul Krugman on the GOP's Bush Addiction Since 2008, Republicans have made overtures to look to the future of the party rather than to the Bush years, but lately--according to the New York Times columnist--it seems as if the former President's policies are coming back into vogue. The truth, according to Krugman, is that "the only problem Republicans ever had with George W. Bush was his low approval rating. They always loved his policies and his governing style — and they want them back." The GOP is now hoping that voters forget that Bush's signature initiatives (tax cuts and the Iraq war) were both "abject failures", so that they can pave the way for a return to his policies.
- Steven Pearlstein on Virginia's Secession Plot The Washington Post columnist, tongue presumably in cheek, discusses Virginia's "latest attempt to secede from the United States." The state is opting out of new national testing standards for Virginia students. "You can just imagine the billboards along the Stonewall Jackson Highway," writes Pearlstein. "'Come to Virginia--A Great Way to Escape the United States!'" The trend follows from the Civil War to the anti-interstate highway antics of Senator Harry Byrd in the 1950s, Pearlstein argues. Neither this latest show of defiance nor the earlier ones make a lick of sense, argues Pearlstein: "I realize there are some people who get up every morning with an uncontrollable urge to defend the 10th Amendment," he writes, "but the anecdotal evidence...does not suggest that resistance to federal authority leads to high per capita income."
- Michelle Malkin on Obama's War Against the Western States The National Review columnist brings the heat to her piece on the Obama administration's "war on the American west." Beginning with her first line--"Why do they hate us?"--Malkin argues this administration's policies (blocking oil-shale development, aggression towards Arizona) have disproportionately hurt those west of the Mississippi River. The fact the President enjoyed close victories--and might like to do so again--in states like Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada doesn't come in to play. Obama's not a mere politician, Malkin says. He's a believer in "eco-radicalism," and he's depriving these states of jobs as a result.
- David Brooks on Moral Naturalists The New York Times columnist signs off for the week in vintage form, describing his recent visit to a Connecticut conference of "moral naturalists." Moral naturalists, of course, "believe that we have moral sentiments that have emerged from a long history of relationships." In order to learn about the human condition, Brooks writes, "you don’t rely upon revelation or metaphysics; you observe people as they live." It's so deep in Brooks' wheelhouse, one wonders why he's only discovering it now.
- Peggy Noonan on Lessons Learned From Sherrod The past week's vilification and subsequent redemption of Shirley Sherrod serves as a starting point for The Wall Street Journal columnist to expound on the lessons gleaned from the controversy. The first of which is that we (meaning nearly everyone) are "too quick to judge." We are also: "not skeptical enough of what new media can cook up in its little devil's den. That anyone can be the victim of a high-tech lynching, and that because of this we have to be careful, slow down, [and] look deeper." Her bottom line? Students should be required to watch Sherrod's speech--in its entirety.