Five Best Monday Columns
Alex Pareene on what's at stake in the rise of Elizabeth Warren, Susan Glasser on Hillary Clinton's legacy, Robinson Meyer on Upworthy, Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas on the grand bargain, and Elizabeth Goitein on humanizing terrorists.
Alex Pareene at Salon on what's at stake in the rise of Elizabeth Warren. "It’s certainly easier to discuss intra-party disagreements about policy and strategy in terms of big clashing personalities [like Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren], but the people and organizations championing left-wing economic policy and strict financial regulation, from Demos to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, aren’t part of a shadow Warren campaign, they’re part of a campaign to drag Democrats away from the pro-rich Washington consensus," Pareene argues. The economic populism debate isn't just about Warren and 2016. Third Way types are "not afraid that Warren will run for president, they’re afraid that she’ll be so popular that other senators to start acting like her. They’re worried that she’ll have money to direct to candidates who share her views. They’re worried that Warren might embarrass Democrats into passing stricter bank regulations." Daily Kos contributor Jonathan Cohn tweets, "@pareene gets it it, as always."
Susan Glasser at Politico on Hillary Clinton's legacy as Secretary of State. "Even many of her most ardent defenders recognize Hillary Clinton had no signal accomplishment at the State Department to her name, no indelible peace sealed with her handshake, no war averted, no nuclear crisis defused," Glasser writes. "Timing, fate and the White House may have all conspired in it, but the truth is that Hillary Clinton never did find a way to turn Foggy Bottom into her ticket to history," she argues. Foreign Policy's John Hudson tweets this line: "The job of secretary of state 'just might be a better consolation prize than it is steppingstone to higher office.'"
Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic on Upworthy, everywhere. "They make an emotional promise. They usually have two phrases. They paint their political proposition as obvious, as beyond debate. They’re headlines in the Upworthy style, and they seem to have colonized every news source," Meyer writes. "The Upworthy vocabulary works so well that it has spawned clones." So "for publishers trying to grab more traffic from Facebook, the path became clear. Borrow, adapt, employ the Upworthy style post haste. Assure readers your content was nothing but wondtacular. And so began the wondtacularization," he argues. Time homepage editor Alex Fitzpatrick tweets, "Upworthy-style headlines will eventually fade away as readers tire of emotional promises gone unfulfilled."
Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas at The Washington Post say the grand bargain is over. "The budget deal Patty Murray and Paul Ryan are crafting isn't a 'grand bargain.' It doesn't put the nation's finances on a vastly different path (or even any different path). It doesn't reform the tax code or overhaul Medicare. It doesn't include infrastructure spending or chained-CPI. It doesn't even replace all of sequestration," Klein and Soltas explain. "Politically, the deal is a signal that the age of grand bargains is over. Republicans and Democrats recognize that they can't come to a big agreement," they argue. Think Progress reporter Jeff Pross tweets "good riddance" to the grand bargain.
Elizabeth Goitein at Al Jazeera America on putting a face to enemy terrorists. "The notion that terrorists could be motivated by a complex range of thoughts, emotions, and external realities — rather than by pure evil — is anathema in American public discourse. ... If terrorists are 'bad guys,' further inquiry is unnecessary," Goitein argues. "Empirical studies suggest that there is no consistent, linear path to terrorism, and no reliable indicators that someone is on this path other than the subject’s criminal preparations." Investigative reporter and News Junkie author Jason Leopold tweets this line: "Abu Zubaydah's diaries put a human face on the enemy — something Americans are not accustomed to doing."