Five Best Tuesday Columns

The Washington Post on Ray Rice, Ryan Crocker on ISIS, Michael Fullilove on Obama's declining popularity, Brian Beutler on immigration, and Daniel LaChance on the death penalty. 

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The Washington Post on why the National Football League shouldn't have had to see the Ray Rice video in order to act. The Post writes, "What had taken place inside the elevator had already been evident from an earlier video, which showed Mr. Rice dragging the limp body of the woman, Janay Palmer, from the car. But that seemed of little concern to Baltimore’s NFL team, which stood by Mr. Rice and even suggested that Ms. Palmer might share responsibility for what happened." The editors contend that we shouldn't have to see domestic violence to know what it is. "Domestic violence is a fact of life for too many people. And too often their suffering is compounded by a tendency by outsiders to disbelieve them, belittle the harm or try to explain it away... There are lessons to be learned from what happened in that elevator, and not just for the NFL. Namely: This is what domestic violence looks like, and you shouldn’t need a video to believe it, be disgusted by it and refuse to tolerate it."

Ryan Crocker in The Wall Street Journal on why President Obama and the United States must take more aggressive action against the Islamic State (subscription). The former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq warns about the nature of the threat of ISIS. "It is hard to overstate the threat that this organization poses. I call it al Qaeda Version 6.0. The Islamic State is far better organized, equipped and funded than the original." Crocker urges America to take increased action against ISIS. "Neither in Iraq nor in Syria can stability come through military force alone. But military force may create conditions that enable political deals... Just as the Islamic State is a threat to the region and the world, it must be met by the region and the world. The decision at the NATO Summit in Wales last week to form a Western coalition against the Islamic State is encouraging... But all of this—military action, political engagement, effective coalition-building—will require something that has been in short supply in this growing crisis: American leadership."

Michael Fullilove in The Financial Times on why America has grown weary of President Obama. Fullilove explains why Obama's approval ratings have dropped. "We have seen him on our televisions every morning and every night. We know everything about him – about his family, his reading habits, his BlackBerry and his Portuguese Water Dog. And we are over him. What once were qualities now appear to us as faults." Fullilove suggests that America's dissatisfaction with the President has less to do with his policies and more to do with over exposure. "Mr Obama has made many mistakes. But the problem is not just him – it is us. The saturation quality of the modern media means that all contemporary presidents fall prey to the seven year itch... In 2006, seven years after George W Bush began campaigning for president, his approval rating had fallen to the low thirties... Bill Clinton was also a victim of the itch. In 1998, seven years after he began his primary campaign, Mr Clinton became the first president since Andrew Johnson to be impeached by the US House of Representatives."

Brian Beutler in The New Republic on why President Obama's decision to delay action on immigration was a mistake. Beutler argues that it will be harder for the President to use executive action should Republicans take the Senate in 2014. "He will still be bound by his modified pledge to announce deportation relief before the end of the year, but will have to act in the aftermath of an election Republicans just won opposing what they tendentiously describe as 'executive amnesty.' They’ll rewrite the story of their victory around their position on deportation." Beutler concludes that the President's delay will have little effect on Democrats seeking re-election, but will likely hurt immigrants currently awaiting action. "Obviously that won’t imbue them with the magic power to prevent Obama from moving forward anyhow. But it might spook Obama into doing nothing at all (there won’t be enough pearls for the centrist commentariat to clutch). And it will definitely encourage conservative hardliners to place 'executive amnesty' at the center of proximate fights over funding the government and increasing the debt limit. That might bode poorly for Republican presidential hopefuls. But for the families who were promised deportation relief, it spells danger"

Daniel LaChance in The New York Times on how the decline in popularity of the death penalty doesn't have to do with moral outrage. LaChance writes that the increasingly long process of moving inmates through death row has eliminated the appeal of the death penalty for those seeking vengeance or a sense of closure. "New layers of appeals and new issues to litigate at both the state and federal levels meant that inmates put to death in 2012 had waited an average of almost 16 years for their execution date.... A sense of moral solidarity is hard to generate when the devil appears in the execution chamber 20 years later, a middle-aged or elderly man whose crimes have long faded from popular memory." He continues, "As depressing as it may be to abolitionists driven by a commitment to human rights, Americans, most of whom are white and live above the poverty line, find it hard to sympathize with members of an indigent, mostly minority death-row population who have been convicted of horrible crimes. Preaching to the congregation rather than the choir, then, ought to focus on the failure of capital punishment to live up to the promise of retributive justice it once held."

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