Five Best Friday Columns

John Dickerson on Romney's bullying story, Michael Gerson on millenial attitudes, Kimberley Strassel on trolling Romney's donors, Gerald Rafshoon on Jimmy Carter's courage, and Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong on baby formula and hospitals.

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John Dickerson in Slate on Romney's bullying story Dickerson makes the case that Thursday's Washington Post story that described a teenaged Mitt Romney bullying his classmates will matter to voters. "The election will probably be decided on which candidate people think will do the best job helping the economy create jobs...The story is interesting though because voters—and how people choose to cast their ballots in presidential elections—aren't entirely rational. A lot of the stories we tell ourselves about our leaders and ourselves surround the myths we attach to the presidency." From George Washington's cherry tree to Barack Obama's memoir, we've constantly evaluated our presidents in part on their childhood myths. "Mitt Romney needs a new origin story."

Michael Gerson in The Washington Post on millennial attitudes Obama's public backing of gay marriage marks his faith in a cultural shift led by millennials. "If history is any guide, millennial attitudes will grow more conservative over time, at least in some areas ... But Republicans and conservatives will be forced to make some adjustments over time." Gerson notes that as this generation grows older, even those with moral opposition to homosexuality will likely see gay rights as an issue of "pluralism." Conservatives will have to emphasize different issues. "Republican rhetoric will need to be oriented toward shared moral aspiration instead of harsh judgment."

Kimberley Strassel in The Wall Street Journal on Obama's naming of Romney's donors Conservatives have criticized Obama for publicly naming several big donors to Mitt Romney's Super PAC, likening his public rebuke to Richard Nixon's "enemies list." Strassel traces the aftermath for one donor named by the President, saying his records have been probed by investigators with difficult to trace origins and purposes, and reporters and researchers have approached his children. "Political donations don't come with a right to privacy ... Then again, President Obama, in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, gave a national address calling for 'civility' in politics... What has followed is the slimy trolling into a citizen's private life."

Gerald Rafshoon in Bloomberg View on Jimmy Carter's courage Seeking to diminish Obama's role in ordering the bin Laden raid, Mitt Romney noted that "even Jimmy Carter would have given that order." Rafshoon writes, "Would have given? No, Mr. Romney. Gave. Jimmy Carter gave that order -- 32 years ago." Rafshoon, Carter's communications director, recounts the failed mission to rescue the Iran hostages, drawing parallels between the risks each president took on. He gives other examples where he says Carter made a tough decision despite the threat of serious repercussions, from the Panama Canal, to Camp David, to embargoes. "Romney has shown no such conviction, no such courage and no such strength. His campaign has been an exercise in feeble appeasement," Rafshoon writes.

Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong in The New York Times on hospitals and formula Hospitals often give new mothers free packets of baby formula, usually as part of a deal with companies that provide them free bottles and other supplies. Armstrong makes the case that mothers should be breast feeding their more, and that these giveaways promote the wrong behavior. "When hospitals provide formula starter packs, they encourage women to give up on breast-feeding and switch to formula more quickly. Instead, hospitals should help women get breast-feeding off to a good start by adapting baby-friendly policies like helping mothers initiate breast-feeding after birth, allowing mothers and babies to stay in the same room and, most important, ensuring that infant-feeding decisions are free of commercial influence."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.