5 Best Friday Columns

Health care, Haiti, homophobic hate in Africa, and an empty hall for 2011's State of the Union

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  • Karl Rove on the Hidden Costs of the Reconciliation Process for Democrats  No one expected pro-reconciliation words from Karl Rove, but this column is particularly forceful. "If the health-care bill passes," argues the renowned Republican strategist in The Wall Street Journal, "it will probably even hurt Democrats who vote against it." Furthermore, using reconciliation to pass the bill means "this fight isn't likely to end this year." Reconciliation can also be used to undo the health care bill: "for the next several election cycles every GOP Senate candidate can campaign on the promise to be that 51st vote for repeal."
  • Paul Krugman on the Three Biggest Health Reform Myths  The first, writes the economist and New York Times columnist, is that "President Obama is proposing a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy." The second "is that the proposed reform does nothing to control costs." Finally, there's the claim that "health reform is fiscally irresponsible." He rebuts all three claims.
  • George Will Declares War on the State of the Union  Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts raised eyebrows calling the State of the Union a "political pep rally" and wondering why he'd even gone. Right on, says conservative columnist George Will.  In fact, "why is anyone there?" While getting in a few good digs at his favorite target of late, Woodrow Wilson (his "guiding principle was that the world could not hear too much from him"), Will comes to a conclusion:
Next year, Roberts and the rest of the justices should stay away from the president's address. So should the uniformed military, who are out of place in a setting of competitive political grandstanding. For that matter, the 535 legislators should boycott these undignified events. They would, if there were that many congressional grown-ups averse to being props in the childishness of popping up from their seats to cheer, or remaining sullenly seated in semi-pouts, as the politics of the moment dictates.
  • The New York Times Editorial Board on Haiti's Two-Month Earthquake Anniversary  Two months in, none of the "four main strands" in the Haitian relief campaign are adequate, say the editors. The UN and foreign countries, the Haitian government, the N.G.O.'s, and the people themselves are respectively insufficiently engaged, incompetent, and, in the last two cases, outmatched.
  • Desmond Tutu on Gay-Hating in Africa  "Hate has no place in the house of God," declares the former archbishop and Nobel laureate in The Washington Post. He denounces the Ugandan proposed legislation regarding life imprisonment for homosexuality, and "more discriminatory legislation" in Rwanda and Burundi.
"But they are sinners," I can hear the preachers and politicians say. "They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished." My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.