5 Best Monday Columns

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  • Krugman on Defining Prosperity Down  While congressional hawks insist that driving the budget deficit down must take priority over nearly anything else, The New York Times columnist sees this as a losing proposition for the many (nearly one in six) jobless American workers. Even though unemployment numbers are set to grow in the next two years, the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the White House have refused "to spend anything to create jobs, and [have been] unwilling even to mitigate the suffering of the jobless." Public outrage could spur action, but unfortunately the populace's anger is "unfocused."

  • Douthat on the GOP Pre-Campaign Trail  In a (very) early assessment of the Republicans 2012 electoral prospects, The New York Times columnist details which men (or "one very polarizing woman") may have the chops to challenge the sitting president. Mitt Romney, according to Douthat, appears to be the prohibitive favorite but his "money and organizational muscle" can't quite compensate for the fact that he inspires little actual excitement. Rather than nominating the former Massachusetts governor or an anti-establishment candidate like Mike Huckabee, the GOP might best be served by nominating a fresh face (Mitch Daniels) or an ultimate insider (Jeb Bush).

  • Douglas Wilder on an Obama-Clinton ticket  Writing in Politico, the former Virginia governor becomes the latest voice to suggest President Obama needs to add Hillary Clinton as his running mate in 2012. Wilder's argument has less to do with Clinton's strengths and more to do with Joe Biden's flaws. "There are too many YouTube moments," Wilder writes of Biden's tenure. "[T]hese times demand our country’s best. If Democrats and the president don’t see this, the people will look elsewhere." Clinton, he says,  "is better suited as the political and government partner that Obama needs."

  • Efraim Karsh on Palestinian Isolation On the heels of a surprising recent Al Arabiya television network poll suggesting that 71 percent of Arabic respondents had "no interest in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks", Professor Efraim Karsh explains why, in his opinion, this isn't a surprising development. From the scramble for land in May of 1948 to the Six Day war in 1967 all the way through the first Gulf war, "Arab leaders  [have] manipulat[ed] the Palestinian cause for their own ends while ignoring the fate" of the people. He concludes: "The sooner the Palestinians recognize that their cause is theirs alone, the sooner they are likely to make peace with the existence of the State of Israel and to understand the need for a negotiated settlement."

  • Claire Berlinski on Banning the Burqa  In the National Review, Berlinski explains how she was initially disinclined to support a ban on the burqa after moving to Istanbul. "But that," she writes, "was when I could still visit the neighborhood of Balat without being called a whore." The notion of this experience becoming commonplace in Europe is why Berlinski believes a veil ban to be a grim necessity. There's a direct correlation, Berlinski asserts, between Islam and crime against women in Europe. In the end, she believes, "if Europe does not stand up now against veiling...within a generation there will be many cities in Europe where no unveiled woman will walk comfortably or safely."

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