Five Best Thursday Columns

Michael Doran and Max Boot on intervening in Syria, Ezra Klein on the undecided voter, Debra Saunders on the myth of Obama's obstacles, Charles M. Blow on what is known, and Steve Coll on football's future.

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Michael Doran and Max Boot in The New York Times with five reasons to intervene in Syria Doran, a Brookings Institute fellow, and Boot, a Mitt Romney adviser, say intervening in Syria would diminish Iran's power, keep conflict from spreading, protect against terrorists, improve ally relationships, and end a human-rights disaster. Establish a no-fly zone, and others will help maintain it. "A 'lead from behind' approach can work in Syria. President Obama need only apply it."

Ezra Klein in Bloomberg View on the uninformed undecided voter Undecided voters "aren’t so much 'undecided' as uninterested and, frankly, uninformed," Klein writes. One study showed more than 40 percent of undecided voters didn't even know what Joe Biden's job was. They aren't as interested in the election and are unlikely to decide it. So a Romney win "will probably require changing minds that are already made up, or increasing (or suppressing) turnout among base voters."

Debra Saunders in San Francisco Chronicle on the myth of Obama's obstacles This week, Obama brought up Mitch McConnell's quote about wanting Obama to be a one-term president. But the idea that Republicans never supported him is political mythology. McConnell said the quote after Obama had implemented several policies, and in the same interview, he said he was willing to meet Obama halfway. "In 2012, Democrats are distorting the facts to argue that their president never stood a chance against that evil genius, Mitch McConnell," Saunders writes.

Charles M. Blow in The New York Times on the knowns, unknowns, and unknowables Blow uses  the old Donald Rumsfeld riff about knowns, unknowns, and unknowables to address this election: We know "Mitt Romney is running out of time. His path to victory is growing narrow and dark." We don't know how accurate polls are in tracking "likely voters." And then the unknowable: "Something in me always believes that there is a bombshell waiting to be revealed, a trump card up someone’s sleeve that he or she is waiting until the last moment to play.

Steve Coll in New Yorker on football's future "If the N.F.L. is to remain something better than professional wrestling, it will have to become faster, more acrobatic, more compelling for gamblers, less choppy and interrupted on the screen, and more located in the human mysteries of teamwork and coaching leadership than it is already," Coll writes. "Fundamental to such a future will be sound refereeing at a fluid pace."

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