Five Best Friday Columns

Jackson Diehl on Egypt's teetering democracy, Timothy Egan on what the Granite Mountain Hotshots died for, Rich Lowry on the Obamacare mandate delay, Rod Dreher on Paula Deen, sensitivity, and the South, and Charles P. Pierce on the Declaration of Independence today.

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Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post on Egypt's teetering democracy The "people-power-backed military coup" in Egypt is troubling in the short term — "armed forces aren't good at convening roundtables or implementing liberal platforms; they are good at using force" — and doesn't bode well for the country's newly installed leadership, Jackson Diehl argues: "Once in office, new governments made up almost entirely of novice officials frequently overreach." (As expected, Adly Masour dissolved Egypt's interim parliament on Friday.) Diehl looks to Venezuela, Thailand, and Venezuela, expecting "the same results." Michael Rubin at Commentary agrees that "none of the instances in which mobs have cheered coups have actually resulted in liberal democracy." Mike Madden at Washington City Paper questions that Diehl "seems to say the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende in Chile was justified."

Timothy Egan in The New York Times on what the Granite Moutnain Hotshots died for The 19 dead Arizona firefighters risked their lives not to save people so much as while "protecting property, kitchen views, [and] dreams cast in stucco and timber," Timothy Egan writes. "[T]hese homeowners should not expect good people to die protecting those houses. And so in Arizona this week, among the grieving, we heard variations of a theme that always comes up after these tragedies: a structure is replaceable, a life is not." Frank Rich of New York tweets that Egan "asks questions few have," while Chris Mooney at Mother Jones asks another one: "The other new risk to firefighters? Simply that they're tangling with a different beast than they may be used to," he writes. "But we can't ignore the climate factor." A memorial service is planned for Tuesday.

Rich Lowry in Politico on the Obamacare mandate delay Taking the pushing back of an employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act as a way in to push back with a broadside, Rich Lowry insists that "the implementation of Obamacare is a mess." Of the administration's explanation for the delay, he writes: "[I]f you pass a horrendously complicated law placing new burdens on employers, you aren't cutting red tape, you are adding to it. And a delay doesn't cut red tape — it only delays it." At the Daily Kos, Joan McCarter writes that the GOP is "trying to make it a scandal," but argues that" from a policy standpoint, this delay isn't likely to make a huge difference in much of anything,"

Rod Dreher in USA Today on Paula Deen, sensitivity, and the South Despite having "never been a Paula Deen fan," Rod Dreher comes to the defense of Southern "big-hearted but misguided older people" like the fallen Food Network star, whose political incorrectness can be mostly excused for a "moonlight-and-magnolias romanticism that is common among white Southerners of her generation." Dreher adds: "Every younger white Southerner who holds enlightened opinions on race knows that you have to allow for the cultural deformation of older white Southerners." Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller counters, writing that we shouldn't be looking for excuses: "[S]he's not some shut-in living an antebellum existence. She's one of the most successful celebrity chefs of the era."

Charles P Pierce in Esquire on the Declaration of Independence today The words of Thomas Jefferson, all these years later, come down to one question: "Do you govern or are you governed?" And the answers — for liberals, for conservatives, for Edward Snowden, are complicated: "It is the question that commits us to this day as a nation, and as a people, to the ongoing creative act of building and maintaining some sort of a political commonwealth. It is the question that makes of America an ongoing experiment, and it is the question that commits all Americans to active participation in that experiment. It is a question that demands an answer and, by not answering it, you really are."

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