5 Best Wednesday Columns

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  • Maureen Dowd on Online Roommate Hunting  Recounting her college years (and a time when her mother brought mace, a butcher knife and a letter opener to ward off rapists), The New York Times opinion columnist muses on the topic of online roommate matching services. Specifically, she thinks they leave the roommate rite-of-passage bereft of the unexpected experience and diversity that typically accompanies the sometimes awkward situations. "Choosing roommates who are mirror images may fit with our narcissistic and microtargeted society, but it retards creativity and social growth," she observes.
  • Michael Tanner on Ignoring the Culture Warriors  Instead of pandering to the Republicans' more radical tendencies, the GOP should focus on what the suburbanites and independents care about: reducing the influence of big government and all the baggage that comes with it. The National Review contributor believes that now is the time to change the tone of the debate and rally the already "fired-up" base in favor of pursuing jobs, economic growth, and limited government. "The polls are overwhelming," he notes. "Those are the issues that voters care about, not whether two men in California get married."
  • The New York Post on Charlie Rangel  Not surprisingly, the New York Post was not particularly moved by Charlie Rangel's attempt yesterday afternoon to defend himself against corruption allegations. "All that was missing was a violin," the paper writes of the Congressman's long-winded speech on the House floor. Most distasteful was the way the "ethics-beset dean of New York's congressional delegation" avoided taking any real responsibility for his current predicament. "Let's be honest," concludes the Post, "Charlie Rangel brought this entire mess on himself. He may not like the consequences, but he has only one person to blame: Charlie Rangel."
  • Steven Pearlstein on For-Profit Education  The Washington Post columnist treads carefully on the for-profit education issue; after all, Kaplan University has become one of the most successful divisions in the Washington Post company. Yet Pearlstein sees some striking parallels between the "shady marketing practices" of for-profit universities and the "high-pressure sales tactics" foisted on consumers during the sub-prime mortgage scandal. Less than half of those enrolled at these types of universities graduate at all and the schools appear less beholden to their students than their bottom-line. The for-profit model has some upsides, however: these schools make extensive use of interactive and video teaching, they usually have teachers assistants available 24/7 through a help service, and market competition allows them to be stringently cost-effective.

  • Linda Chavez on the 14th Amendment  Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the former Reaganite and failed Bush 43 Secretary of Labor nominee comes out forcefully against any change to the 14th Amendment. "Repealing birthright citizenship," writes Chavez, "is a terrible idea. It will unquestionably jeopardize the electoral future of the GOP by alienating Hispanics—the largest minority and fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population." Worse still, it would "fundamentally change what it means to be an American." Arguments in favor of such a maneuver are rooted in a "misreading of American history and legal precedent." Instead of demonizing immigrants, Chavez argues the Republican Party would reap greater benefits by "helping [immigrants] become good Americans."

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