Five Best Tuesday Columns

Everyone loves a good comeback story, including John Harris and Alexander Burns on why politicians return always from sex scandals and Dana Milbank on a "conciliatory" George W. Bush. Also: Jay Rosen gives up on CNN and Michael McConnell questions the constitutional legality of Obamacare's suspension.

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John F. Harris and Alexander Burns in Politico on the return of politicians with sex scandals Sex scandal-marred politicians will always eventually make their return to the forefront. With the return of Mark Sanford, Anthony Weiner, and now Eliot Spitzer, Harris and Burns play the role of Freud: "The instinct that leads many people obsessively to pursue public approval and power through winning elections is closely linked to the instinct that leads many of these same people (and let’s face it, they are all men) to sexual excess and disaster." And Harris has some expertise here, Ben Smith of Buzzfeed notes; he wrote a biography on Bill Clinton called "The Survival" (from scandal) while Jessica Reynolds of the Chicago Tribune tweets, "The instinct to win public approval & elections is closely linked with instinct for sexual escapades."

Coleen Rowley in The New York Times on questioning of FBI nominee James Comey  The former FBI agent who testified before Congress about the agency's mishandling of information about 9/11 terrorist  Zacarias Moussaoui prior to the attack, has a question for Comey: "Will you maintain the F.B.I. ban on torture and coercing of statements and confessions?" Is Comey the person who famously resisted approving the Bush Administration's desire for warrantless spying, or is he the one who agreed to "most of the worst of the Bush administration’s legal abuses"? The "series of pointed and essential questions" (Fearless Media's Dan Froomkin) is an "excellent read" (The Guardian's Ewen MacAskill), and "I strongly urge people to read" (Daily Kos' Kenneth Bernstein).

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on George W. Bush's immigration push It's not just scandalous politicians making comebacks nowadays. The younger Bush quietly reemerged from his self-imposed exile in an interview with ABC News, writes Milbank, as "more Americans are forgiving, or at least forgetting, what they didn’t like about him." Thus far, it has been a "careful comeback," writes Jenny Nordberg of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, mostly concentrating on the need for immigration reform. With Republican Party factions at each other's throats over the current bill, Bush has adopted a "conciliatory and reflective manner" far different than during his presidency.

Michael McConnell in The Wall Street Journal on the legality of the Obamacare suspension "While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so," the constitutional law scholar writes, referring to the suspension of Obamacare for a year due to implementation problems with the employee mandate. "Underlying [the suspension's] announcement, I would guess, is the ancient justification of necessity," and not a desire for despotism, argues Scott Johnson of Power Line. Its purpose aside, McConnell argues that it's still unconstitutional, and Republican Congressman like West Virginia's David McKinley have jumped at the accusation.

Jay Rosen in Press Think on the Nancy Grace-ification of CNN "What do they stand for? The same thing Entertainment Tonight stands for!" the NYU journalism professor writes, spurred by CNN's wall-to-wall coverage of the Zimmerman trial while skimping on major world events. The cable network is a lost cause, Rosen argues: "I used to say: I criticize because I care. But I no longer do." Of course, "CNN isn't alone in its sensationalism drift, after all, nor in its quest for ratings at all cost, including integrity," Michael Stickings of The Reaction writes. Even so, it's the worst of a bad bunch of cable networks, argues Outside the Beltway's James Joyner, precisely because "CNN pretends that they’re the 'straight news' alternative when they’re simply infotainment."

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