Five Best Tuesday Columns

Kurt Eichenwald on what Bush knew, Ramesh Ponnuru on a difficult Romney presidency, Dennis Byrne on the teacher's strike, Matt Miller on wartime taxes, and David Brooks on why men fail.

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Kurt Eichenwald in The New York Times on what Bush knew before 9/11 Eichenwald writes that he has seen excerpts of unreleased briefs leading up to 9/11 showing that the Bush administration had warning of an impending attack, reflecting "significantly more negligence than has been disclosed" by an Aug. 6 briefing. C.I.A. officials warned Bush over and over, but "still, the alarm bells didn’t sound."

Ramesh Ponnuru in Bloomberg View on a difficult Romney presidency Even if Romney is elected to a unified Republican government, "getting legislation through Congress is going to be very hard." For example, the government will hit the debt ceiling again early next year, and he promised not to raise it unless a constitutional amendment limits federal spending. No way he'll get the 2/3 House and Senate vote necessary. "A Romney presidency, in other words, would have to start with his breaking a promise to conservatives."

Dennis Byrne in The Chicago Tribune on the poor timing of the teacher's strike The Chicago Teacher Union strike is testing the patience of Chicago parents whose children are being used as pawns, Byrne writes. Chicago has been a union town for years, but CTU demands make you "wonder if its members have any concept of how good they have it compared with their fellow Chicagoans."

Matt Miller in The Washington Post on tax cuts in a time of war The most revealing--but least discussed--aspect of Republican reaction to 9/11 is how taxes worked during wartime: "never before in our history has a political party made it a national priority to cut taxes for wealthy Americans at a time of war." Previously, taxes have been raised to fund war expenses. "In a saner era, the big 2001 Bush tax cuts enacted a few months before September 11 would have been immediately revisited, because we were now a nation at war."

David Brooks in The New York Times on why men fail Boys aren't doing as well in school, and fewer skills means more men are dropping out of the labor force. Men may be at the top of the corporate ladder, but below it, women are outperforming male peers. Women tend to be more flexible, while men are clinging to old ideas. "Men will have to be less like Achilles, imposing their will on the world, and more like Odysseus, the crafty, many-sided sojourner."

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