Five Best Tuesday Columns

Eugene Robinson on the scandal at the VA, Jesse Wegman on Georgia's execution drug secrecy, Amy Davidson on why we're all bad mothers now, Michael Kazin on why Democrats need Bernie Sanders to run for president, Celia Walden on the Parisian lives on two famous American expats.

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Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post on the scandal at the VA. “Finally, an authentic scandal: incompetence and deception at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of so many faux scandals that it’s hard to recognize the real thing. If VA hospitals really are falsifying records to disguise lengthy waiting times — and if veterans are dying as a consequence — then President Obama needs to bring in new management to fix the problems and fast,” Robinson writes. “It is important to keep the VA scandal in context. Conservatives who crow that this shows government cannot competently provide health care are wrong. The solemn promises we make to our veterans cannot be broken. There’s no need for histrionics from President Obama. But he does need to clean house.”

Jesse Wegman at The New York Times on Georgia’s execution drug secrecy. “Does a citizen have a right to know how his government plans to kill him? In Georgia, the answer to that question appears to be ‘no.’ The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday ruled against Warren Lee Hill, a death-row inmate who had challenged the state’s law hiding the makeup of the lethal-injection drugs it uses, as well as the identities of the loosely regulated compounding pharmacies that produce them. But Mr. Hill was not seeking the name of his executioner. He simply wanted to know the nature and provenance of the drugs that would be used to end his life,” Wegman writes. “The death penalty in America long ago lost any claim to being consistently or fairly applied, if it ever was. But as Justice Benham argued, there must at the very least be ‘certainty’ in its administration.”

Amy Davidson at the New Yorker on why we’re all bad mothers now. “Is there such a thing as a good mother, in the eyes of the New York Post? It would appear, from their reading of an interview that Chirlane McCray, the First Lady of New York City, gave to New York magazine, that there is not—not in this city, not in this world. There are only bad ones, the kind who would make a 'heart-wrenching confession' summed up in a banner headline: I WAS A BAD MOM!” Davidson writes. “There does not seem to be a question about de Blasio’s job, or what it means, to him, to be a good father. That is a question, as it happens, that he has said he’s thought about his whole life." The Boston Globe’s Britt Peterson tweets, “Shocking but not surprising.” Brick Wall Media’s Melissa Lafsky Wall tweets, “Thank God, since I have every intention of being a "bad mother".

Michael Kazin at the New Republic on why Democrats need Bernie Sanders to run for president. “Bernie Sanders may actually run for president. The feisty Senator from Vermont is giving dinner speeches in Iowa, telling journalists he’s ‘prepared’ to campaign, and is deciding whether he wants to compete for the Democratic nomination or take the ‘radical’ step of heading an independent ticket,” Kazin writes. “At a minimum, it would make the Democratic primary about more than the deeds and personality of Hillary the inevitable. A Sanders campaign could also excite and mobilize some of the young people who have grown disenchanted with Obama’s achievements, yet still hold strongly progressive views. There is, of course, a danger that an aggressive campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2016 would expose divisions between Democrats—of gender as well as ideology—and weaken her for the main contest that fall.” Slate’s Dave Weigel tweets, “FWIW, I saw a “Bernie Sanders for President” T-shirt in Columbia Heights yesterday.”

Celia Walden at The Telegraph on the Parisian lives of two famous American expats. “Lesser women have tried and failed. Now, two of Hollywood’s leading ladies are competing to be accepted by that most impenetrable breed of all: Parisians. This week’s New York magazine has branded Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson 'The White and Black Swans of Paris Celeb-Expat Living'. But there can only be one winner in the battle of the bombshells — and Portman is the clear front-runner,” Walden writes. “The Black Swan actress had a head start by marrying Benjamin Millepied, a French dance star who is due to take over the Paris Opera Ballet this autumn, and by learning to speak French. But Portman has also remained characteristically discreet – a quintessential Parisian quality – about her integration, something Ms Johansson would have done well to emulate. Instead, Scarlett complained to CBS’s David Letterman that Parisians shove her in the street, which prompted a backlash in the media."

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