Five Best Monday Columns

Byron York on the Republican infighting, Morgan Tsvangirai on Robert Mugabe's theft of Zimbabwe's election, Josh Barro on Anthony Weiner's weak record, Howard Dean on Obamacare's faults, and William Harris on who's to blame in the Syrian war.

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Byron York in Washington Examiner on Republican intra-party divisions On the questions of immigration, national security, and defunding Obamacare, the Republican party is deeply divided, but not along clear and consistent lines. "In other words, it may be that the Republican Party is too divided to have a real civil war. Perhaps chaos would be a better description," York argues. For example, see Chris Christie's anger at Rand Paul isolationists for proposing restrictions to the NSA, or Sen. Tom Coburn calling Obamacare's defunding movement a "a denial of reality." Basically, "It’s what happens to parties when they don’t have a leader," York explains. "Don't look now but the GOP is in the midst of a nasty intra-party fight on several fronts," tweets Politico reporter Byron Tau.

Morgan Tsvangirai in The Washington Post on Zimbabwe's manipulated election "Robert Mugabe is attempting to steal Zimbabwe’s most important election," writes Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's Prime Minister and a key opposition force to Mugabe in the country's elections on Wednesday. Despite evidence of election manipulation, including the arrest of Tsvangirai's poll manager, Tsvangirai refuses to boycott the election and appeal to international powers because "Mugabe has shown — in elections in 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2008 — that he has no concern about lack of legitimacy." Even though he's likely to lose, Tsvangirai explains "why he is running anyway," Post foreign affairs columnist Jackson Diehl writes. "Tsvangirai seems to believe international community is powerless, sounds like he's ready to make this his last stand," tweets Andrew Beatty, AFP's news editor for southern Africa.

Josh Barro in Business Insider on Anthony Weiner's lackluster legislative record Forget the sexting scandal; Anthony Weiner is unqualified to be the mayor of New York because he was an ineffective legislator and me-first self-aggrandizer. "Weiner had no record of legislative accomplishment to speak of, save for one pet bill pushed by a major donor. His main goal seemed to be to get on television as much as possible and raise his profile for a run for mayor," he writes. It's not the sexting or infidelity that bothers Barro but Weiner's compulsive attention-seeking behavior and weak record. "Yours is the first call for him to exit the race that I like," The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf writes to Barro. "Good clean common sense," tweets Quartz global news editor Gideon Lichfield.

Howard Dean in The Wall Street Journal on Obamacare's faulty advisory board Failure is imminent for Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, the board of medical professionals who will attempt to establish stable price fixtures for medical procedures, writes the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "However, rate setting—the essential mechanism of the IPAB—has a 40-year track record of failure. ... The medical system simply becomes more bureaucratic," he writes. "The IPAB will cause frustration to providers and patients alike, and it will fail to control costs," Dean writes. "Mr. Dean has provided some high-profile bipartisan opposition to the board," claims David Sherfinski of The Washington Times.

William Harris in The Washington Post on Assad's blame for the Syrian war The destructive civil war in Syria was due to "the all-encompassing criminality of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the clique around him," and there should be no obfuscation about where fault lies. The war's blame belongs to Assad and his decisions to stymie civilian protests with targeted violence, to escalate those attacks, and to stoke Sunni Islamist fears. "It is a pity that anyone in the West gives the time of day to the Syrian regime’s lying narrative that it is a defense against jihadism; few arsonists have ever paraded so impudently as firemen," writes Harris, who has penned a historical book on Lebanon and the region. "Harris is one of the best analysts," tweets Foreign Policy contributor Phillip Smyth. "Must-read Wash Post," tweets Sen. John McCain.

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