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Five Best Friday Columns

Michelle Goldberg on Romney and women, Paul Krugman on Chris Christie, Peggy Noonan on the GOP primaries, Dominic Holden on legalization's surprising opponents, and Michael Kinsley on the language of class warfare.

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Michelle Goldberg in The Daily Beast on Romney's woman problem Mitt Romney's gender gap with women voters fueled Thursday's debate over Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's comments on Ann Romney's work record. And so Goldberg looks at Romney's history with female voters, particularly during his Senate race with Ted Kennedy. Kennedy argued that Romney's policies at Bain hurt women economically, and today, Romney uses a similar argument against Obama. But Romney's policies, from his family planning stance to his recent comments on the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, won't do much for women, Goldberg argues. "All this adds up to a candidate who is not willing to do anything on a policy level to appeal to women voters," she says.

Paul Krugman in The New York Times on Chris Christie's bad decision The Government Accountability Office released a report this week investigating New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to suspend work on a tunnel between his state and New York, and Krugman reports it upholds critics' claims that Christie wanted to repurpose, rather than avoid, the spending. "[W]hile it's important to document Mr. Christie's mendacity, it's even more important to understand the utter folly of his decision. The new report drives home just how necessary, and very much overdue, the tunnel project was and is." Krugman says Christie fits a trend among other Republican governors, who have cancelled similar infrastructure projects. But he makes the case that in New Jersey, updating transit to New York and Philadelphia will be essential for their economy. "The governor poses as a man willing to make hard choices for the future, but what he actually did was sacrifice the future for the sake of personal political advantage."

Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal on lessons from the Republican primary With Mitt Romney's nomination secure, Noonan takes time to reflect on what we've learned and what we've remembered about primaries from this year's contest. "In political terms, the guy who came in second in the last presidential cycle stands most likely to be crowned and anointed in the current one," she says. "We learned the system is newly open to vanity productions ... We learned that proportional representation is a bad idea when you're up against a sitting president ... We learned Mitt Romney is not a greatly improved candidate from four years ago." She makes cases for each of these lessons and more, and cautions Romney on some of his weaknesses. On foreign policy, the party has grown too reckless, she says. "They want to show they're strong on defense ... But that is different from having an aggressive foreign policy stance."

Dominic Holden in The New York Times on the odd fight against legalization For over a decade, Washington state has allowed for medical marijuana, and an industry has grown, but now that a ballot measure looks to legalize possession of non-medical marijuana in small quantities, that industry is fighting to defeat it. "What’s the threat? A legal, regulated market for all consumers — not just sick people — could negate demand for a niche medical pot industry altogether." Holden presents, and takes apart, each of the industry's arguments: that this initiative will prevent medical marijuana users from ever driving, and that it will violate civil liberties by allowing the federal government to watch you. "[I]t's more than a little strange to defend the status quo, in which nearly 10,000 people are arrested in Washington for possession each year, on civil liberties grounds."

Michael Kinsley in Bloomberg View on the language of class warfare Kinsley looks at the language of both parties arguing that their opponent is waging a "class war" in which their own party isn't participating. "Meanwhile, everybody claims to be on the same side: the side of the people, against the aristocratic elitist snobs who … where did I park my tumbrel? In this war of words, certain words take on a special weight or meaning," he writes. Kinsley looks at the way politicians use words like "elitist," "Buffet rule," and "marvelous." He points out the hypocrisy of Mitt Romney using "Harvard" as a shorthand for elitism, when he holds more degrees from the school than does Barack Obama. "In the end, the voters don’t actually seem to share the thuggish anti-intellectualism implied by attacks on a rival presidential candidate for the sin of having attended one of the world’s great universities."

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