5 Best Sunday Columns

Joe Biden rallies the Dems, USA Today weighs slapping a tax on Internet retailers, and Fareed Zakaria utters an ominous word: Iraq

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'Why the Senate Should Vote Yes on Health Care,' says Vice President Joe Biden in the New York Times. A day after the 60th vote for the Senate health care bill was secured, Biden tries to keep up the enthusiasm to pass the Senate bill by Christmas. He takes a mild shot at Howard Dean in the process: "It is worth noting that on some of the key health reform issues — like ensuring that Americans have access to stable, affordable coverage, and doing away with abusive practices by insurance companies — the reforms in the Senate bill would do even more than Vermont, the state [Howard Dean] governed, has done."

It's Not Lieberman Who Changed-It's the Senate, writes Dana Milbank in the Washington Post. He argues that Lieberman's stubborn iconoclasm on the public option was nothing new. What's changed is how ideologically pure the rest of Congress has become. "The constant purging of heretics has left Congress ever more polarized. This, more than anything done by Lieberman or Ben Nelson or Olympia Snowe, is why the government can't get anything done..If Democrats wish to remain the majority party, they should avoid the loyalty trap. Lieberman may be a monster, but he's their monster."

Don't Forget Iraq, says Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek. Zakaria stresses the major stakes in 2010, when U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw. "Remember Iraq? For months our attention has been focused on Afghanistan, and you can be sure that the surge will be covered exhaustively as it unfolds in 2010. But the coming year could be even more pivotal in Iraq...How we draw down in Iraq is just as critical as how we ramp up in Afghanistan: If handled badly, this withdrawal could be a disaster. Handled well, it could leave behind a significant success."

Amid Frenzied Shopping, a Case for and Against Taxing Internet Retailers  As a massive snowstorm drives shoppers online, USA Today hosts a pro- and con- column debating whether Internet retailers have outgrown their sales-tax exemption. Making the case for a tax is the USA Today editorial board: "Time and technology have eroded the two main reasons for exempting Internet sales from taxation....Amid today's hard economic times, taxing Internet sales would provide states with much-needed revenue." John Greco rebuts the case, arguing that it would kill growth in a "fragile" area of the economy.

Give Military Commanders a Personality Test, urges Mark Moyar in the Washington Post. He compares survey results from the Army and Marines. He finds that "a significant portion" of military officers "are not demonstrating the vital leadership attributes of creativity, flexibility and initiative." He offers a solution: "The military should incorporate personality test results into military personnel files, and promotion boards should be required to select higher percentages of those who fall into the intuitive-thinking group. Many highly successful businesses factor personality testing into promotion decisions; the military, with far more at stake, should be no less savvy."

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