Five Best Monday Columns

Albert Hunt on one-term presidents, Steve Coll on Romney's trip abroad, John Sununu on party conventions, Raymond Bonner on lethal injection, and Richard Muller on his climate change conversion.

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Albert Hunt in Bloomberg View on one-term presidents Hunt highlights the arguments in Robert Merry's new study of presidents in the eyes of historians, applying them to today's race. Obama has said he'd rather be a good one-termer than a mediocre two-termer, but "Merry discovers that's pretty much a historical non-sequitur. The only one-term president who rates high in historians' surveys is James Polk," Hunt writes. "The lessons for the candidates this year are clear, the author said in an interview; they have to campaign 'with an eye to governing' which is the only way to translate a victory into a mandate."

Steve Coll in The New Yorker on Romney's trip abroad If the lull between primaries and conventions offers presidential nominees opportunity to travel to sights abroad that highlight a campaign's foreign policy arguments, then Mitt Romney selected his itinerary last week poorly, Coll writes. "Romney might have visited wounded Syrian refugees in Turkey; he might have gone to southern Tunisia, where the fruit seller Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze two years ago this December, initiating the Arab Spring," Coll writes. "But such boldness does not seem to be part of Romney's makeup."

John Sununu in The Boston Globe on party conventions Party conventions, Sununu says, are a Comic Con-like spectacle worth seeing, but not one that much impacts the presidential race. "At best, conventions serve to thank and motivate supporters, dominate the airwaves for a few days, and set the tone for the home stretch. At their worst, they can be awkward, frustrating, and leave behind a lot of disgruntled delegates and reporters," he says. "In fact, the key to a successful convention is simple: Keep those two constituencies happy. Period."

Raymond Bonner in Bloomberg View on the FDA and lethal injection The FDA has been sued over concerns that it doesn't properly regulate the drugs used for lethal injections, and a federal district court judge has ruled against the agency, saying it "appears to be simply wrapping itself in the flag of law enforcement discretion to justify its authority and masquerade an otherwise seemingly callous indifference to the health consequences of those imminently facing the executioner's needle." Attorney General Eric Holder has appealed that ruling. That's disappointing, Bonner writes, because better FDA oversight might "significantly reduce unnecessary pain and suffering during an execution, which is precisely the standard set by the Supreme Court."

Richard Muller in The New York Times on his climate change conversion Muller notes that he's already reversed his prior doubt about the existence of global warming, and after further research, he's ready to declare it almost entirely man-made. "My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth," he writes. He outlines the research that leads him to believe in man's responsibility. He also notes his skepticism at some claims from climate change advocates -- such as the claim that Hurricane Katrina resulted from warmer earth temperatures. "It's a scientist's duty to be properly skeptical."

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