Five Best Wednesday Columns
John Batchelor on how the 2016 presidential prospects are like 'Game of Thrones,' Kathleen Parker on erasing the race card, Thomas Gagen on the lessons learned in the hunt for the Tsarnev brothers, Ana Marie Cox on GOP chauvinism versus the White House pay gap, Charles C. W. Cooke on the problem with Cliven Bundy.
John Batchelor at Al Jazeera America on how the 2016 presidential prospects are like ‘Game of Thrones’. “The Bush and Clinton clans are likely to run for president again, like a ‘Game of Thrones’ season but without Hollywood casting or Irish locations. This time, the bear-size Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida, is taking the lead position while his immediate family and their legions of retainers and wise men cheer and hope,” Batchelor writes. “The tireless Hillary Clinton is leading her clan, with a multitude of subclans of Hollywood lords, Silicon Valley princes and New York and Washington nobles. The crowning puzzle of the anticipated 2016 presidential race: Why has the United States, a country born from the rejection of kingship, come to elect royal families during the last century?” Thomas Bowen, president of Political America, tweets, “Bush and Clinton clans raise banners for 2016 battle.”
Kathleen Parker at The Washington Post on erasing the race card. “One approaches the race fray with trepidation, but here we go, tippy-toe. The race cards have been flying so fast and furious lately, one can hardly tell the kings from the queens. Leading the weird lately has been Democratic Alabama state Rep. Alvin Holmes, who called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina “Uncle Toms,” Parker writes. “No one denies that there are racists roaming the byways of Alabama — as elsewhere. But this doesn’t translate to all whites being racists, as Holmes implied, nor does it justify slinging racial slurs at African Americans who don’t toe the party line. It is striking that during what many had hoped would be a post-racial America, racial division has been amplified, owing not least to sustained media attention.”
Thomas Gagen at The Boston Globe on the lessons learned in the hunt for the Tsarnev brothers. “This week, as the 2014 Boston Marathon draws near, memories of suffering and heroism surely dominate the minds of everyone in the city and region. Responses to the public safety challenge presented by the search for perpetrators, however, were far from flawless. Police officers made major mistakes in the use of weapons during the hunt for the Tsarnaev brothers in Watertown,” Gagen writes. “The Kennedy School report, “Why Was Boston Strong?”, finds that “in tactical situations definitive and authoritative command is an essential resource.” The Watertown officers, familiar with each other and the neighborhood, sorted out their responsibilities despite being under heavy fire. Chaos ensued once the out-of-town officers arrived. Public safety will be enhanced when police officers and their superiors throughout Massachusetts acknowledge and learn from the Watertown mistakes.”
Ana Marie Cox at the Guardian on GOP chauvinism versus the White House pay gap. “Republicans have been both very right and very wrong about their many objections over the past week to the White House's flashy "paycheck equality" push. But here's where Republicans are wrong: they believe that a gender pay gap due to "lifestyle choices" is somehow OK, or inevitable, or – and this gets to the core fallacy of modern conservatism – that it is OK because it is inevitable,” Cox writes. "A recent RNC memo called for a solution to the wage gap that is exponentially more radical than a mere civil suit, even as the party’s communications team made the tacit admission that women's decisions to enter low-paying careers might not be the "natural" choice after all. The memo dared the White House to offer "credible ideas to ensure women have the opportunity to secure high-paying jobs." That sounds like some welcome social engineering to me.”
Charles C. W. Cooke at National Review on the problem with Cliven Bundy. “Forged in revolution, informed by soaring sentiment, and defined by acts of variously prudent dissidence, Americans of all sorts fancy themselves to be fighting the good fight. Cliven Bundy is one of these sorts, and protests such as his, it seems, are how the West was won. After a longtime dispute with the federal government, the rebellious cattle rancher has forced the government to back down. Hooray?” Cooke writes. “Not quite, no. Sympathetic as I am to his plight — and quietly thrilled, too, by anyone standing up to the state’s endless overreach — I fear that Bundy’s champions are rather mixing up their issues. Cliven Bundy has been dealt a raw hand by a system that is deaf to his grievances and ham-fisted in its response. But this is a republic, dammit — and those who hope to keep it cannot pick and choose the provisions with which they are willing to deign to comply.” Dave Weigel at Slate tweets, “RINO -> MT @charlescwcooke: The rule of law matters, and Cliven Bundy doesn’t get to opt out of it.”