Five Best Wednesday Columns

The Atlantic Wire
Five Best Wednesday Columns
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Five Best Wednesday Columns

Matt Miller in The Washington Post on Republicans and health care Miller takes Republicans to task as the House plans a symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare and several governors' refuse to participate in the Medicaid expansion. "The Republican message to uninsured Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent ruling couldn't be clearer: You're on your own." Miller points out that Republicans used to be more interested in putting forward their own proposals to expand coverage, and says their failure to do so now gives Obama a huge opening. "Here's what you should do Mr. President," he says. "[R]emind Mitt Romney that the ranks of the uninsured today are equal to the combined populations of Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa [etc.] Then ask your opponent: Would America turn its back on the citizens of these 25 states if everyone there lacked basic health coverage?" 

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Milos Forman in The New York Times on Obama's 'socialism' Forman, the Academy Award-winning director, compares the alleged socialism of President Obama to the Marxist-Leninist socialism under which he grew up in Czechoslovakia. "The critics cry, 'Obamacare is socialism!'" he writes. "It offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism." Forman says Americans should continue to debate the appropriate role of the federal government, but they should keep in mind the language they use. "If all participants play fair and strive for the common good, we can achieve a harmony that eluded the doctrinaire socialist projects. But if just one section, or even one player, is out of tune, the music will disintegrate into cacophony."

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Holman W. Jenkins Jr. in The Wall Street Journal on engaging with China's Huawei Jenkins explores the U.S. government's relationship with Huawei, an enormous China-based telecom equipment provider. The U.S. often discourages American wireless operators from purchasing the equipment out of fear that it could come with espionage devices. "But for the penny-ante, highly perishable gains that state intelligence agencies typically produce, governments understand it makes no sense to endanger their most successful companies, the ones with large and vulnerable overseas assets, revenues and personnel," he says. We should see engagement with a Chinese company as opportunity. "In return for greater access to the U.S. market, Huawei should be expected to list its shares on a U.S. stock exchange, forcing the company into greater compliance with Western standards of transparency and accountability."  

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Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times on political ads McManus says that the American political ad can rise to the level of art form. In a year when over $1 billion will be spent airing them, he devotes a weekend to watching the many we've already seen, and doling out some awards for most misleading, most effective. most controversial, etc. "[W]atching them is only the first step. You owe it to yourself and your fellow voters to see what the fact-checkers say too," he says. "Don't take your own side's claims as gospel; they're cutting corners too."

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John Steele Gordon in The Wall Street Journal on air conditioning Though things are already cooling off in the East this week, it's fun to read Gordon's history (and appreciation) of man's attempts at air conditioning, from the rotary fan to the window unit. From there, he considers the political implications of a country that can stand to live in hotter climates. "Today the Confederate states have 160 electoral votes. Texas gained four [electoral] votes in the last 10 years, Florida two. The outcome of presidential races this year and in the future could well turn on the fact that Willis Carrier invented air conditioning a century ago." 

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