Five Best Thursday Columns

Suzanne Goldberg on Hillary Clinton and the highest glass ceiling, Nussaibah Younis on why the army alone can’t save Iraq, Harold Meyerson on what Cantor’s loss means to the immigration debate, Simon Critchley on why there’s no such thing as a bad World Cup, Michele Simon on the the flip-flop over the school lunch debate.

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Suzanne Goldberg at the Guardian on Hillary Clinton and the highest glass ceiling. “Hillary Clinton is only a few pages into her new memoir, Hard Choices, when she throws out a hint that she, as a woman running for the White House, would run differently than a man. She says there is no way she would ever give in to the sexist impulses of Obama campaign aides and attack another candidate – Sarah Palin, in this case – just because she is a woman. It's one of the very few revelations in a book – more like a campaign document, produced by three ghost writers and reviewed by any number of political consultants – that has been scrubbed of anything that could make news or provoke strong opinions, especially about a female president,” Goldberg writes. “There is a whole lot more talk about gender inequality than there was in 2008 when Clinton was running for the White House. It would be great, finally, to hear what Hillary Clinton thinks about it all. But Clinton is still not ready to talk. It's about time she did.”

Nussaibah Younis at The New York Times on why the army alone can’t save Iraq. “The Obama administration must help the Iraqi government retake the city of Mosul from Islamists and stem their march toward Baghdad. On Tuesday, Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell to Islamist militants led by a breakaway group of al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. That puts ISIS, a leading force in the Syrian civil war, dangerously close to its goal: establishing a militant Islamist mini-state straddling the two most violent countries in the Middle East,” Younis writes. “The blitz shocked Baghdad and Washington, but Iraqi militant groups had been gaining ground for months. Even so, the fall of Mosul is a game-changer. The city is a commercial, political and military hub. The extremists have seized American-supplied weaponry, including armored vehicles. A long ISIS occupation could be ruinous for Iraq.” Antalya International University Professor Tarık Oğuzlu tweets, “Maliki's sectarian policies need to change....a good analysis of the rise of ISID.”

Harold Meyerson at The Washington Post on what Cantor’s loss means to the immigration debate. “The winner in Tuesday’s mind-boggling defeat of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wasn’t just David Who? (Actually, David Brat.) It also was gridlock — for the remainder of this congressional session, and the next one, and probably for a number of years beyond that. Brat’s victory is almost certain to push the Republican Party to the right on the very issue that will cement the Democrats’ hold on the White House: immigration," Meyerson writes. “President Obama is likely to respond by extending his do-not-deport policy, currently applicable to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, to a wider range of people — perhaps to the undocumented parents of U.S.-born children. Latinos will have every reason to go to the polls, particularly in presidential election years, to punish Republicans. Unless the Democrats can wrest control of the House from the GOP gridlock will intensify.”

Simon Critchley at the New Republic on why there’s no such thing as a bad World Cup. “What football is not about is money—however many tens of millions of euros players may now be traded for. It is not about construction boondoggles in Brazil or Qatar, dodgy government officials and shoddy labor practices. It is not about Coke or Budweiser or any other Official Sponsor. Nor indeed is it about FIFA, an entirely corrupt organization administered by the extremely suspicious Sepp Blatter, who is the Robert Mugabe of world sports. If this were all true, the World Cup would merely be a reflection of our age at its worst and most gaudy, a continuation of war by other means. As things are, the tournament, despite itself, still has much pleasure to offer, indeed whole bucketfuls,” Critchley writes.“There will be triumph for a very few and righteous injustice and pain of defeat for the rest of us. But there will be this, too: Something unexpected, wonderful, and possibly even magical might happen. There will be grace. And then we will talk about it. A lot.”

Michele Simon at Al Jazeera America on the the flip-flop over the school lunch debate. “Perhaps the most visible advocate for improving school food, Michelle Obama is now defending what shouldn’t be such a controversial idea: adding fruits and vegetables to public school lunches. But some Republicans, such as Rep. Robert Aderholt of Alabama, never seem to miss an opportunity to turn a no-brainer into a political battle, particularly when it comes to school food. And just in time to give them the necessary cover, they got a gift from an unlikely source. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has asked Congress to approve waiver requests for schools that are struggling to comply with federal nutrition regulations aimed at improving children’s health,” Simon writes. “Predictably, SNA strongly denies any undue influence from its sponsors, despite the fact that they happen to have a hefty economic stake in the fight over school food. So who is really representing school food professionals, and who is doing the bidding of the junk food industry?”

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