Five Best Wednesday Columns

Ross Douthat on foreign policy, Dana Milbank on conventional wisdom, Efraim Halevy on Republicans and Israel, Michael Tanner on big government, and Irin Carmon on Republican misogyny.

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Ross Douthat in The New York Times on the missing foreign policy question That Romney and Obama agreed on almost every issue Monday is both good and bad news. Good because "acknowledgment of consensus is always better than a bogus disagreement." Bad because the consensus might not be right. The Bush-Obama-Romney consensus gives "extraordinary powers to the man in the Oval Office," and whether or not that's good foreign policy remains unanswered.

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on how Twitter encourages debate groupthink Twitter should deliver a diverse array of opinions to the news, but actually it causes "conventional wisdom to be set, simplified and amplified, faster and more pervasively." In the debate, a narrative was set through Twitter as the debate happened. Milbank doesn't fault the tweeting journalists, "but our political dialogue may lose something because of this pre-publication and pre-broadcast collusion."

Efraim Halevy in The New York Times on Republican red lines for Israel The former national security adviser to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon writes of how Republican presidents have historically put more pressure on Israel than Democratic ones. George W. Bush declared a "road map" for Israel, which Sharon opposed because it said Jerusalem's status would be determined by negotiations. "A Republican White House acted in a cold and determined manner, with no regard for Israel’s national pride, strategic interests or sensitivities."

Michael Tanner in National Review on Romney, Obama, and big government No matter who wins, big government will stay. Both candidates love action on China, bailout spending, and education spending, and neither has an immediate plan to cut the deficit. "President Obama has set the bar so low that Romney can probably clear and earn the votes of most fiscal conservatives. But anyone expecting a much smaller, less costly, less intrusive government over the next four years probably shouldn’t hold their breath."

Irin Carmon in Salon on misogynistic, unpolished Republicans "For years, the movement has fought plausible charges that it is anti-woman by repackaging its abortion restrictions, in Orwellian fashion, as protections for women." Now, anti-abortion absolutists must explain the wavering lines of rape, and "they aren’t used to cloaking their views in the rhetoric of compassion, something George W. Bush was so much better at." Instead, they're used to talking about women as vessels.

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