5 Best Thursday Columns
Nicholas Kristof on the end of men, David Broder on Elena Kagan, and more
Daniel Henninger on the Liberal Dilemma The Wall Street Journal columnist is intrigued by a schism he sees on the horizon for the Democratic party. Specifically, how are old-time liberals going to respond to the new market realities post-Great Recession? "The financial meltdown of so many states and cities is forcing American liberalism to come to grips with a tough truth," writes Henninger. "The demands of public-sector unions and the legal obligations to pay their pensions are collapsing the ability to perform what's left of the traditional liberal agenda." It's an issue Henninger believes could rise to the surface in a showdown between President Obama and Rep. Dave Obey of the House Appropriations Committee. Obey is looking to spend $10 billion to protect unionized teachers and Obama has threatened to veto. "Keep an eye on it," advises Henninger. It could be the beginning of the end of union control over Democratic agenda.
Eugene Robinson on the Reverse Racism Ploy The knee-jerk reactions to the Shirley Sherrod video and the unseemly actions by Andrew Breitbart have incensed the Washington Post columnist ("there's no longer any need to mince words"). The Obama administration, he argues, should swiftly go on a counter-attack against this "cynical right-wing propaganda" that's intended to scare voters to the Republicans. He continues: "The Sherrod case has fully exposed the right-wing campaign to use racial fear to destroy Obama's presidency, and I hope the effect is to finally stiffen some spines in the administration. The way to deal with bullies is to confront them, not run away."
Matt Miller on the Great Recession Fallout Because there isn't enough tension these days about the economy, the Washington Post offers up a cheery column explaining why the Great Recession is just the beginning of America's economic troubles. The real test, he argues, will be "preserving U.S. living standards in a world of global competition," an end made significantly more difficult because "we (1) don't know what to do, or (2) we do know but seem to have little intention of doing it." Specifically, there aren't enough programs on the books--initiated by either the private or public sector--to ensure young Americans are taught the skills necessary to compete and thrive in the new global economy.
Nicholas Kristof on the End of Men Responding to a July cover story in The Atlantic by Hanna Rosin, The New York Times columnist counts himself as a skeptic of the theory that the 21st century lends itself to a new gender imbalance tilted toward women. While Kristof doesn't discount the fact that women have made enormous gains, he notes that"catch[ing]-up is easier than forging ahead." And, in truth, men have only gained from the rise of women: "Those men who have lost their jobs in the recession are now more likely to have a wife who still has a job and can keep up the mortgage payments."
David Broder on the Changing Supreme Court The Washington Post columnist stakes out a counterintuitive position, arguing Elena Kagan's confirmation will change the Supreme Court in ways her detractors on the left can't even begin to comprehend. He argues Kagan's gender, not her politics, will be the driving force behind meaningful change. Broder speaks from experience: "I say this based on what I saw happen in The Post's newsroom and many others when female reporters and editors arrived," writes Broder. "They changed the culture of the newspaper business and altered the way everyone, male or female, did the work." It was change for the better he says, and a change that's likely to alter the way the highest court in the land does business.