- Richard Cohen on Reconciliation and Leadership With an eye on the health care bill, the Washington Post op-ed columnist bemoans the political disaster that has befallen the Obama administration. Cohen believes that the White House suffers from a "PR dilemma": the benefits of its programs are virtually unfelt by the American public, making the President a slave to our "poll-driven culture." Cohen, with a heavy heart, doesn't think this should be the case:
Great presidents lead. In a sense, Lincoln "rammed" through the Emancipation Proclamation just as FDR "rammed" through Lend-Lease, Truman "rammed" through desegregation of the military, and Lyndon Johnson "rammed" the Civil Rights Act down the throat of a gagging South. These might be considered more dramatic issues than mundane health care, I grant you -- but grant me an exception for someone putting off doctor visits because he or she can't afford to be sick.
- Anne Applebaum on Germany's Growing Anger The Washington Post columnist outlines a larger consequence of Greece's economic meltdown: a growing resentment in Germany at continually bailing out Europe. At some point, Applebaum argues, repaying the debt from World War II won't be a good enough reason anymore. "Sooner or later, Germans will collectively decide that enough sacrifices have been made and that the debt to Europe has been paid. Thanks to the ungrateful Greeks, with their island villas and large pensions, that day may arrive more quickly than we originally thought."
- Jonah Goldberg on Treatment of Women Worldwide In a rare pro-feminist column, the Los Angeles Times columnist admits he shares their horror over the barbaric treatment of women in many part of the developing world. Goldberg strips away the religious and cultural explanations to find the source of the misogyny--namely, that men enjoy being uncivilized. "The reason strikes me as fairly simple. Women civilize men. As a general rule, men will only be as civilized as female expectations and demands will allow. 'Liberate' men from those expectations, and 'Lord of the Flies' logic kicks in."
- Eugene Robinson on the "al-Qaeda Seven"... In The Washington Post, Robinson accuses Liz Cheney of the worst kind of political posturing. Cheney, co-chair of the group Keep America Safe, recently led a vociferous campaign against seven unnamed Justice Department officials who had "represented or advocated for terrorist detainees"--although Robinson prefers to say that the DoJ officials were merely doing "what lawyers are supposed to do in this country: ensure that even the most unpopular defendants have adequate legal representation and that the government obeys the law." To Robinson's mind, Cheney's attacks have nothing to do with national security and everything to do with eroding Obama's credibility--though at the unfortunate cost of degrading some of the Constitution's basic principles.
- ...and Marc Thiessen Arguing the Other Side In another Post column, Thiessen doesn't rebut Robinson directly, but does offer a pointed defense of Cheney's actions. "Would most Americans want to know if the Justice Department had hired a bunch of mob lawyers and put them in charge of mob cases?" Thiessen asks rhetorically. He parries the Constitution-based arguments coming from the left and insists that this is a case where transparency and public accountability are especially important. "The charge of McCarthyism is intended to intimidate those raising legitimate questions into silence," Thiessen writes. "But asking such questions is not McCarthyism. It's oversight."