Five Best Thursday Columns
Yochi Dreazen on the Obama administration's leaks about Syria, Amy Davidson on Congress and Syria, Clara Ritger on the "Unaffordable Care Act," Dan Wetzel on college football's hypocrisy about Johnny Manziel, and Allison Benedikt on the problem with private school parents.
Yochi Dreazen at Foreign Policy on the administration's many leaks on Syria If President Obama has not yet publicly decided on a Syria strategy, then why have we heard so much about the outlines of an attack? That's because anonymous officials in the White House are leaking an enormous amount of information. (As one former military head tells Dreazen, "It's not leaking out; it's coming out through a hose.") The deluge of info is particularly strange considering the administration's hatred of leaks. "The administration's willingness to share details about sensitive military operations has prompted internal consternation in the past," Dreazen notes, and it's doubly important in Syria, where military action on the part of the U.S. has yet to occur. "Trying to imagine what would be purposeful reason for the WH to be leaking so much info about upcoming Syria attack," writes Michael Cohen, The Guardian columnist focusing on American politics. "And I'm sure the Obama administration will prosecute the people leaking our war plans to the fullest extent of the law..." Digg editorial director David Weiner sarcastically tweets.
Amy Davidson at The New Yorker promotes a Congressional discussion on Syria The War Powers Act declares that the President must gain Congressional approval shortly after launching a military attack, and Obama should do just that with Syria, Davidson argues. "Having people, representatives, raise their hands before you do something is not an empty ritual, even when they don’t vote the way you want them to," she writes. In the strikes on Libya in 2011, Obama avoided Congress and used executive powers to wage what he called "hostilities," but he should not follow that blueprint here. "[W]e need to rethink meaning of 'hostilities,'" writes Denver Post columnist Michael Littwin. "As usual, the great Amy Davidson of The New Yorker nails it," tweets The Nation writer Greg Mitchell.
Clara Ritger at National Journal on the "Unaffordable Care Act" According to an analysis of the Affordable Care Act, premiums for most Americans will cost more in Obamacare's individual exchange than in their employee-based health insurance. Ritger acknowledges that Republican criticisms of reform may be correct: "The truth is, Obamacare is doing what it was intended to do: make health care affordable for the nation's lowest earners by spreading out the costs among taxpayers. The trap is that the exchanges also present a savings for some employers but a rate hike for their employees," she writes. "Excellent analysis by @ClaraRitger at @NationalJournal about the impact #ACA has on employers," writes Jason Altmire, the former Democratic Congressman and current executive for the Florida branch of health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield. Washington Examiner political correspondent Byron York writes, "NJ: Turns out Republicans 'might be right' that Obamacare increases health coverage costs."
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports lambasts college football's hypocrisy about Johnny Manziel The NCAA forbids players like Texas A&M star quarterback Johnny Manziel to make money off of their college successes. (Yesterday, Manziel received a half-of-a-game suspension from the NCAA for signing autographs and not actively preventing them from being sold for big bucks.) But making money off of Manziel's autographs, jerseys, and likeness is basically the entire business of college football, Wetzel writes. "No, this is a gift from the comic gods, one of the most laughable rulings of all-time not because of the punishment, but because of the bylaw it cited," he says. Universities profit hugely from stars like Manziel thanks to TV deals and jersey sales made without the players' permission, so why shouldn't Manziel have to actively prevent them from doing so as well, Wetzel asks. "Does anyone in college sports have even a modicum of self-awareness?" CBS Sports writer Matt Norlander tweets, "When it comes to NCAA derision, I'll read @DanWetzel twice before anyone else." Buffalo sports radio host Jeremy White adds, "Dan Wetzel's Manziel/NCAA piece is what they call a 'takedown.' Tremendous. Read it."
Allison Benedikt at Slate attacks parents who send their children to private school "You are a bad person if you send your children to private school," Benedikt writes. Why, exactly? "[It] seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve," she explains. "Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good." Perhaps unsurprisingly, the column set off a firestorm of criticism for Benedikt's provocative and admittedly "judgmental" take of parents looking out for their children's best interests. "From logic of 'real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment' in public schools, no-child adults are also bad people," tweets Robert A. George, columnist for the New York Post. "This @slate post really is the end logic of all government intervention in the economy," writes Washington Examiner senior writer Conn Carroll.