5 Best Thursday Columns

Karl Rove on Obama's fiscal road to gell, Anne Applebaum on Russia's old spy tricks and more

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  • E.J. Dionne on Democrats and the Will to Fight  In light of recent criticism of John Kerry for being "too aggressive" on climate legislation, Dionne calls upon Democrats and Obama to take a page out of Kerry's book and start pushing for results. Obama and congressional Democrats should be fighting for the issues, rather than "reacting, retrenching, and retreating" in some sort of pre-November electoral waltz. "Kerry is being criticized for caring too much about an issue and not thinking enough about an election -- for being insufficiently opportunistic and unprincipled," scoffs Dionne. "And Democrats wonder why the polls find an "enthusiasm gap" that suggests their supporters will sit around grumpily in November while Republicans flood the polling places." 
  • Anne Applebaum on Russia's Old Spy Tricks Amid the myriad attempts to explain the recent discovery of a Russian spy ring, the Washington Post columnist offers a novel idea. The spy ring doesn't embody any larger strategy of espionage or geopolitical chess, but rather reflects the paranoid mentality of Russia's ex-KGB political elite. "Why on earth would the Russian government spend years of its time and millions of its dollars on the education, upkeep and housing of a spy who might someday be able to collect some rumors from a Democratic fundraiser and friend of the Clintons?" jokes Applebaum. "There must be several thousand people who fit that description in New York alone, and I bet not one of them knows a single piece of information that cannot also be found somewhere on the Internet."
  • Clifford May on Real Bipartisanship Writing for the conservative National Review, May sees solid bipartisanship in the recently-passed legislation "imposing tough sanctions" on Iran. "When Congress breaks with tradition and actually says something and then goes on to do something both bold and consistent--that should not go unremarked." He's also pleasantly surprised by the money Congress is "restoring" to missile defense, and the choice of General Petraeus to take over where McChrystal left off in Afghanistan. 
  • Karl Rove on Obama and the Fiscal Road to Hell  In a Wall Street Journal column today, the former Deputy Chief of Staff comments on Obama's appearance at last week's G-20 meeting. Pointing out the European criticism of Obama's push for spending, Rove says, "If it sounds strange to have European leaders lecturing the U.S. about fiscal restraint, it should. But that is where America finds itself after Mr. Obama's 17-month fiscal orgy." He continues to point out a second, domestic flaw in Obama's G-20 appearance. He says, "Deficit spending did not begin when Mr. Obama took office. But he and his Democratic allies have supported, proposed, passed or signed and then spent every dime that's gone out the door since Jan. 20, 2009...This is indeed the road to fiscal hell, and it's been paved by the president and his party."
  • Nicholas Kristof on the Two Sides of a Barbed-Wire Fence Reporting from Karmel, West Bank, the New York Times columnist examines the juxtaposition of two worlds, one Israeli, one Palestinian, separated by a mere fence. "On one side of a barbed-wire fence here in the southern Hebron hills is the Bedouin village of Umm al-Kheir, where Palestinians live in ramshackle tents and huts...On the other side of the barbed wire is the Jewish settlement of Karmel, a lovely green oasis that looks like an American suburb," he says. He continues, both criticizing Israel for "using American military support to maintain an occupation that is both oppressive and unjust," and noting that "there are double standards in the Middle East, with particular scrutiny on Israeli abuses." Ultimately, he says, "Israel has a point when it argues that relinquishing the West Bank would raise real security concerns. But we must not lose sight of the most basic fact about the occupation: It’s wrong."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.