Five Best Friday Columns

Eugene Robinson on a successful Democratic National Convention, Jonathan Weil on who to blame for Facebook, Steven Greenhut on broken California, David W. Blight on the original voter I.D., and Gary Younge on Obama's walkthrough speech. 

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Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post on a successful DNC Republicans did a fine job with their convention, but it was an emphasis on "Defeat Obama," not "Elect Romney." Meanwhile, the DNC "felt strikingly focused and spirited." And while people in Tampa were enthusiastic, people in Charlotte were "absolutely on fire," Robinson writes. "Conventions don’t win or lose elections, but they can help or hurt. This tale of two cities says that President Obama has had a very good couple of weeks."

Jonathan Weil in Bloomberg View on the only person to blame for Facebook Investors can only blame themselves for losses on Facebook. As Mark Cuban wrote recently, stocks are not investments—they're bets. And right now, Facebook's market value is far above its actual value, making it a risky bet. Investors should have known it was a gamble. "So who is to blame if you lost money on Facebook?" Weil writes. "The fault is entirely your own. This isn’t a game for crybabies."

Steven Greenhut in Bloomberg View on how California is broken, not broke A recent scandal over parks in California shows just how broken the state is. Governor Jerry Brown shut down parks last year due to fiscal problems and asked for more taxes. Turns out, the parks department "was so awash in cash that it handed out huge payouts to employees and hid millions of dollars in special accounts," Greenhut writes. "The one thing the parks episode showed is that California can make ends meet if it exercises a little oversight and discipline."

David W. Blight in The New York Times on Frederick Douglass and the original voter I.D. "Suppressing the black vote is a very old story in America," Blight says, "and it has never been just a Southern thing." Frederick Douglass, formerly Frederick Bailey, entered public life by changing his identity because he was still legal property of his owner and could be captured at any time. He brought false papers to vote. Eventually, Douglass was only free when some anti-slavery friends bought him. Blight suggests a similar solution for today's voter I.D. laws: "Pay them not to vote. Give each a check for $711 in honor of Frederick Douglass. Buy their 'freedom,' and the election."

Gary Younge in The Guardian on Obama's walkthrough speech As far as speeches go, Obama can do better. But for Thursday night, he had to show voters he could "walk the walk... fittingly it was a pedestrian address: a deliberate, methodical case for a second term," Younge writes. "Patience is a tougher sell than hope; endurance will always inspire less than change." So Obama replaced his former grand narratives with "discrete chapters: healthcare, women's rights, energy, educate, manufacturing, foreign policy."

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