Five Best Wednesday Columns

Maureen Dowd on the Sandusky trial, Nathaniel Frank on gay parenting, John Dickerson on Jeb Bush, Richard Arenberg on the filibuster, and David Mason on Mormonism.

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Maureen Dowd in The New York Times on Sandusky's trial Dowd explicitly recounts the horrifying testimony from alleged victims of former Penn State defensive football coach Jerry Sandusky. Dowd examines how the abuse of boys in his youth football program began and how Sandusky managed to evade punishment for so long. "Like pedophile priests, Sandusky was especially vile because he targeted vulnerable boys. Later, when victims finally spoke up, there was a built-in defense: those boys were trouble; you can't believe them," she writes. "It was an open joke in Penn State football circles that you shouldn't drop your soap in the shower when Jerry was around. Only the boys in the shower weren't laughing."

Nathaniel Frank in The Los Angeles Times on a gay parenting study University of Texas at Austin Professor Mark Regnerus released a study this week finding that children raised by stable, heterosexual parents do better in life than those raised by homosexual parents. The study, Frank writes, is flawed because it samples people with a parent who has ever had a same-sex relationship. Thus the study examined many kids whose parents' gay relationships often broke up a heterosexual marriage, and under-represented children raised by two stable, gay parents. "There is a larger point, however, that can be lost in the debate over how to read the data," Frank says. "There is no basis in the recent history of American social policy for testing the parenting skills of a class of citizens before we grant them permission to parent — or to marry."

John Dickerson in Slate on Jeb Bush's views on leadership Much has been said about Jeb Bush's comments this week criticizing the Republican Party's intransigence. Dickerson focuses in on Bush's conception of strong leadership. The former Florida governor points to his father's budget compromise and the work of several moderate governors as examples. "Where Jeb Bush sees a signature act of political leadership and bravery, conservative Republicans see a great apostasy," Dickerson writes. Bush doesn't mention Mitt Romney as an example, but as governor, Romney once defined the kind of moderate leadership Bush upholds. "Bush is not marching in line. The question is whether he's off on his own or whether the GOP nominee will take the party in a similar direction."

Richard Arenberg in The Boston Globe in defense of the filibuster Arenberg resists the growing calls to eliminate the filibuster from the Senate in light of its overuse in recent years. He makes the case that the filibuster is essential to the Senate's workings. "What we have seen in recent years is bad behavior, no doubt. But the solution for partisan bad behavior is not rewriting the Senate rules." The filibuster requires the majority -- which has huge advantages in advancing legislation, debate, and amendments -- consult the minority. "The House operates by majority rule. What extreme partisanship has meant there is that the majority ignores the minority, the leadership rarely speaks to each other, and the minority is nearly legislatively irrelevant."

David Mason in The New York Times on Mormonism and Christianity Mason declares himself a faithful Mormon, and makes the case that this places him happily outside the boundaries of Christianity. "My Mormon fellows, most of whom will argue earnestly for their Christian legitimacy, will scream bloody murder that I don't represent them. I don't. They don't represent me, either," he writes. As precedent, he notes that early Christians long considered themselves Jews before re-positioning themselves as a separate Abrahamic religion. "Eventually, Mormonism will grow up. Maybe a Mormon in the White House will hasten that moment when Mormonism will no longer plead through billboards and sappy radio ads to be liked."

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