5 Best Friday Columns

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  • David Brooks on Mel Gibson The New York Times columnist thinks Gibson embodies the American culture of narcissism. "We’ve entered an era where self-branding is on the ascent and the culture of self-effacement is on the decline," writes Brooks. And while it's doubtful Gibson wanted to brand himself a racist, woman-hating lunatic, the fact we've been so compelled by material that presents him as such proves Brooks' point. "A study conducted at the National Institutes of Health suggested that 6.2 percent of Americans had suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, along with 9.4 percent of people in their 20s."

  • Paul Krugman on Redoing Voodoo Economics The professor can't wrap his head around why Republicans are sticking to their mantra of "tax cuts for the rich."  Their recently brightened electoral prospects for the November midterms have only emboldened members of the party (such as Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona) to drop any talk of reducing deficits, in favor of such "voodoo economics." Krugman cautions: "But if politicians who insist that the way to reduce deficits is to cut taxes, not raise them, start winning elections again, how much faith can anyone have that we’ll do what needs to be done?"
  • Peggy Noonan on Youth Outliving Usefulness The Wall Street Journal columnist believes that American politicians, especially the youthful President Obama, is in desperate need of a "wise man" to turn to for "historical context" when the going gets rough. Noonan does note that all these supposed wise men have been "dead" since Vietnam, where their counsel (centric policy positions and plenty of compromise) led the nation astray. Still, she writes, we can never discount the steady hand of the "boring", who eschew the "sparkling" in favor of the steady.
  • Chris Cillizza on the Political Importance of the Oil Spill With BP capping the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the Washington Post politics maven writes that " the American public has begun to turns its gaze away from the oil spill." Cillizza opines this is bad news for candidates banking on voter outrage over the spill to propel them into office. "What all of that means," he writes, "is that the fate of congressional Democrats this fall -- and, to a lesser extent, President Obama -- hinges on how people are feeling about the economy." Hardly new news to politicians or readers, but it will be worth watching how quickly the White House and national Democrats can get back on message.
  • Eugene Robinson on Democrats Seizing the Moment Outraged by the prospect of Congress extending tax cuts for the rich instead of unemployment benefits for the poor, The Washington Post columnist tries to rally Democrats with this message:  Republicans are mostly "out of step" with what Americans care about, and Obama's party should "get over themselves." This call-to-arms comes with the caveat that an anti-incumbent attitude and a "get-tough" stance on immigration are also popular with the public--all the more reason for Democrats to "get busy."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.