Five Best Wednesday Columns

Jim Geraghty on Bob McDonnell, Chris Cilliza on Wendy Davis's resume issues, Paul Krugman on Ezra Klein, Charlotte Alter on Dove's "feminist" marketing, and Michael Tomasky on Sen. David Vitter. 

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Jim Geraghty at National Review on Bob McDonnell. "Painful lesson: You never really know a candidate or public official, unless you’re in the innermost of inner circles. Little or nothing in Bob McDonnell’s past as state attorney general or state legislator pointed to an extravagant lifestyle, serious personal debts, or blind spots in judgment. Even if you know a candidate … you never really know how power will change them," Geraghty writes. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, have now been charged with illegally accepting gifts from a wealthy donor. "The Commonwealth of Virginia does not provide its governor a mansion so that he can help donors sell their products, and we don’t elect these guys so they can suddenly become enormously popular with rich guys who want to share their vacation homes and buy them watches. You can’t cash in on your office – and if the argument is that every elected official does it, you can’t do it on this scale," Geraghty argues. CNN's Jake Tapper recommends the post.

Chris Cilliza at The Washington Post on Wendy Davis's resume issues. Over the weekend, the Dallas Morning News revealed some inconsistencies in Davis's biography. "This all may blow over in short order. But it does pose a potential problem for Davis — especially when you consider that this race may be at least as much about the future as it is about the present," Cilliza argues. "Here's what we mean: Yes, Davis has a chance to win the governor's race in November. But, no, it isn't a great chance. Davis ... smartly grasps that much of politics is about timing; right now she is a national star thanks to her filibuster against a Texas abortion law ... Given all of that, Davis had to run for governor this year — even if she didn't think she could win," Cilliza explains. So Davis is reserving her spot to run in future races, and that's when her biography could matter. "What Davis then needs most of all is not to win ... but rather to be seen as having run a creditable campaign that continues to elevate her star status," Cilliza writes.

Paul Krugman at The New York Times on Ezra Klein. "Ezra Klein of Wonkblog is leaving the Washington Post. Not news, exactly — the impending move has been all over the blogs for a while. But now it’s official. And may I say respectfully to the Post: You idiots!" Krugman writes. "Here’s the problem: When you’re covering policy, the usual tools of journalism ... just won’t cut it. You have to have people who actually understand the policy issues ..." he explains. Otherwise you get "he-said-she-said" reporting. "The Post — I really don’t think I’m being unfair here — has been particularly guilty ... Colin Powell says Iraq is building WMD — well, that settles it, doesn’t it? The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says we have a fiscal crisis — well, they’re the authorities, aren’t they?" Krugman writes. "What Ezra and company brought was a combination of sophistication about policy issues and skepticism toward the Very Serious People." Gawker editor John Cook tweets, "Is Paul Krugman actually accusing the Washington Post of being gullible on Iraq/WMD?"

Charlotte Alter at Time on Dove's "feminist" marketing. "Dove is famous for making two things: soap, and long-winded advertisements aiming to 'redefine beauty' in the name of selling soap. Their latest ad, titled 'Selfie,' debuted Monday at Sundance, like a real-live movie. It’s a heartwarming tale of a bunch of normal-looking girls who have absolutely no discernable interests in anything except how they look," Alter writes. "They all thought they were ugly until Dove told them they were beautiful, and then the world was illuminated with their beaming smilies, because they are beautiful, and feeling beautiful makes you happy, according to Dove." Alter continues, "Marketing conspiracy aside, I just think the conversation about 'redefining beauty' is a misguided one at best. Because 'redefining beauty' is still talking about beauty, and we need our girls to be thinking and talking about things other than the way they look."

Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast on Sen. David Vitter's run for governor. "He’s a nasty piece of work, the junior senator from Louisiana. He doesn’t seem to like anybody. He loathes senior senator Mary Landrieu, he detests Governor Bobby Jindal, he despises the media. They all pretty much hate him back. And yet, by merely announcing, he immediately became the odds-on favorite to win the governor’s race in 2015. Why?" Tomasky asks. Vitter survived a prostitution scandal that ended with a madam hanging herself. "Vitter skated through it and sailed to reelection two years later," Tomaksy writes. "Even if he somehow loses the governor’s race, it’s no real skin off his nose — he’d remain a senator, because that seat isn’t up until 2016. ... One way or another, we’re stuck with this guy for a while." The Daily Kos's Greg Dworkin recommends the post.

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