Five Best Tuesday Columns

Eugene Robinson on which Mitt will debate, Todd Moss on Obama's Africa failure, Roger Lowenstein on high-frequency trading, Jeffrey Goldberg on Obama's Middle East policy, and Mallory Factor on public union "official time."

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post, questioning which Mitt will debate "One candidate wants to repeal Obamacare, one candidate invented it. One opposed the auto industry bailout, one takes credit for it. ...It promises to be an epic clash: Mitt Romney vs. Mitt Romney." If a "real Romney" exists, he should show up on Wednesday. "If there’s one thing we know about presidential debates, it’s that voters can often look right through the persona and see the person."

Todd Moss in Foreign Affairs on Obama's failure in Africa Africa is more important than ever to the U.S. with its growing democracies and economies. It still has security danger zones and health threats, but Obama has been relatively absent from the continent, especially compared to his predecessors, who encouraged real enthusiasm and investment. "Ultimately, the United States cannot afford to ignore Africa."

Roger Lowenstein in The New York Times on the danger in high-frequency trading Some 50-70 percent of stock trading is done by computers that trade every nanosecond, sometimes swinging the value of well-established companies. "Society relies on the market to allocate capital," Lowenstein writes. "If market signals are based on algorithms that become outmoded in a nanosecond, we end up with empty factories and useless investment."

Jeffrey Goldberg in Bloomberg View on Obama's missing Middle East policy The liberal stereotype is supporting armed intervention only if it's purely humanitarian, and looking at Obama's Middle East policy, the stereotype could be true. Obama deployed the Air Force in Libya but is avoiding Syria, where "national-security interests are profound." "Obama’s record in the Middle East suggests that missed opportunities are becoming a White House specialty."

Mallory Factor in The Wall Street Journal on public unions and "official time" About 77 percent of official work time at the federal level is spent on unspecified union activity. "Official time is a ruse for getting taxpayers to support union activities in the government workplace, including the lobbying of legislators for ever-more benefits," Factor writes. "It's a shadowy practice that must be stopped."

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