Five Best Tuesday Columns

Joe Nocera on campaign finance, David Rothkopf on Iran, Dana Milbank on Romney's brainwash, Jonathan Cohn on a delayed pivot, and Andrew Sullivan on Obama giving up.

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Joe Nocera in The New York Times on the changes in campaign finance In Austin Powers, world leaders laugh at Dr. Evil when he asks for a million dollars, a pathetically small sum. That's kind of how campaign finance is; the $35 million spent on 1976 campaigns seems small compared to millions of today. "What feels different now is that the sums are so large, and that it has the potential to influence not just Congressional and Senate candidates but the presidential candidates as well."

David Rothkopf in Foreign Policy on a credible Iran threat There are many reasons to doubt Obama's commitment to taking action against Iran. War fatigue makes any complex, expensive, or risky action a tough political sell, and analysts say a successful strike is unlikely. Solution: "A joint U.S.-Israeli surgical strike targeting Iranian enrichment facilities."

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on Romney's foreign policy scrub In 1967, George Romney explained a position change on the Vietnam War by saying he'd been brainwashed. If so, "George’s son Mitt has had his gray matter cleansed more often than most people shampoo their hair," Milbank writes. "But brainwashing doesn’t carry the stigma it did 45 years ago. Scrubbing one’s brain clean of previous positions has been Mitt Romney’s stock in trade."

Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic on Romney's delayed pivot It doesn't matter that Romney is being more moderate now. He's made extreme policy commitments while campaigning that surprisingly few people seem to remember. "Romney had more than a year of campaigning to position himself as a moderate. He chose not to do so. That tells us a lot—more, surely, than anything he says now."

Andrew Sullivan in The Daily Beast on Obama giving up the election "The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating," Sullivan writes. "Look: I'm trying to rally some morale, but I've never seen a candidate this late in the game, so far ahead, just throw in the towel in the way Obama did last week—throw away almost every single advantage he had with voters and manage to enable his opponent to seem as if he cares about the middle class as much as Obama does."

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