Five Best Monday Columns

Matt Katz on Booker vs. Christie, Robert Kagan on Susan Rice, Daniel Akst on paper, Daniel Altman on inequality, and Peter Beinart on Israel.

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Matt Katz in The New Republic on a potential Booker vs. Christie race With Romney vs. Obama now ancient history, political junkies must be itching for a campaign fix. Well how about the prospect of Newark mayor Cory Booker vying with incumbent Chris Christie for the New Jersey governorship? "That perhaps the two most compelling politicians in America hail from the same state is dramatic enough," Matt Katz salivates. "Now consider that soon they may be running against each other." A showdown between the moderate GOP's last great hope and the Democrats' favorite Twitter-obsessed hometown hero would certainly be one to watch. "There are no nationwide campaigns next year, and just two gubernatorial seats are up for grabs, so this race—hypothetical though it remains—would have America’s attention."

Robert Kagan in The Washington Post on Susan Rice With crises unfolding in Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Gaza, and elsewhere, the last thing the U.S. needs is partisan bickering over who will take over Hillary Clinton's role as secretary of state. Robert Kagan argues that Republicans should stop clouding Susan Rice's nomination for the position in controversy. "The idea that Rice should be disqualified because of statements she made on television in the days after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, strikes me as unfair," Kagan writes. "It seems pretty clear now that she based her statements on information the CIA provided at the time ... Republicans should let this one go and save their energies for the real problems looming before us."

Daniel Akst in the Los Angeles Times on paper's pending extinction There's been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over our ongoing turn away from physical paper and towards digital screens. But maybe some historical perspective would show us just how natural this progression is. Daniel Akst begins his Los Angeles Times column with a paper company's new PR slogan, "Hi. I'm paper. Remember me?" Akst then writes the rest of his piece as a riposte from the perspective of a format few remember these days: poor, long-neglected papyrus. Paper's ascendance may have stirred envy in papyrus, but now that paper's time has come, the discarded medium writes, "I feel for you. We all do—my pals parchment, clay tablet, cave walls, the whole gang ... But do yourself a favor, paper. Steer a wide berth because, believe me, they'd tear you to pieces."

Daniel Altman in The New York Times on wealth inequality All this talk of percentages—whether the figure is 99, 47, or 1—has rekindled debates about how far inequality can go before it starts bringing everyone down. Daniel Altman thinks the gulf between rich and poor in the U.S. has already grown too wide, warning that, "inequality in America may threaten your future." But he believes the situation can't be remedied with progressive income taxes alone. The most problematic source of inequality is wealth, not salary. Altman writes, "Replacing the income, estate and gift taxes with a progressive wealth tax would do much more to reduce it than any other tax plan being considered in Washington."

Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast on Israel With yet another flare-up in the war-torn region, Gaza is back in the headlines. Peter Beinart argues that even with Hamas attacks on the rise in recent years, cracking down on Palestinians with even more violence won't help Israel in the long-run. "For a while, it may cow Hamas into submission," Beinart writes. "But Israel cannot expel Hamas and other militant organizations from the tiny strip of land where Samson fought the Philistines, because it cannot hold Gaza. The cost of turning Israeli soldiers into beat cops on a thousand Gazan streets where even the 5-year-olds want them dead is too high. The Jewish mothers of Israel will not allow it."

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