Five Best Tuesday Columns

Ana Marie Cox on Hurricane Sandy, Jeffrey Rosen on wiretapping, Richard Cohen on Obama's authenticity, Richard Vedder on online learning, and Noah Feldman on the Supreme Court. 

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Ana Marie Cox in The Guardian on the stark choice Sandy leaves "Hurricane Sandy reminds us of what truly monumental events, and the decisions we make in the face of them, look like," Cox writes. "Politics is, in the end, not about messaging and postures and positioning, but the structure of people's lives: who they can turn to when they have no resources left themselves, who they can look to when all the options are bad, and what they can do with what they have left when it seems like nothing at all."

Jeffrey Rosen in The New Republic on Obama's circular logic on wiretapping The administration's case for wiretapping lawyers and journalists in Clapper v. Amnesty International "makes the Bush administration pro-secrecy campaign seem pale in comparison." Essentially, you can't challenge warrentless surveillance unless the government told you you're being watched, which of course they wouldn't do. "When its use of Bush-era surveillance authority is challenged, the Obama administration’s position is the same as its predecessor’s: trust us."

Richard Cohen in The Washington Post on Obama's authenticity Cohen once thought Obama would be another Robert F. Kennedy, a sympathetic, determined figure with a cause. "But somewhere between the campaign and the White House itself, Obama got lost. It turned out he had no cause at all." Obama does not show anger like Kennedy did; Obama does not have a bigger cause. "I will vote for Obama with regret. I wish he was the man I once mistook him for."

Richard Vedder in Bloomberg View on the fight against online learning Higher education lacks productivity improvements, and unfortunately, there's a backlash against online learning, which shows promise in high-quality instruction at low cost. Colleges essentially offer a certificate that credentials students. Yes, online schools need some government oversight, but consider: "Do the barriers imposed ensure quality and protect students, or stifle competition, innovation, access and affordability?"

Noah Feldman in Bloomberg View on voting based on courts "A reasonable person could vote on the basis of future U.S. Supreme Court nominations alone." Four justices are 74 or older, meaning potential retirees. 'The justices of the future will decide our nation’s course on abortion, affirmative action, civil liberties and gay rights, not to mention big-ticket policy items such as health care," Feldman writes. "Vote your conscience this time around, but for heaven’s sake, vote on the Supreme Court. It’s going to matter."

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