Politics 13 August 2009 Five of the Best The top five comment pieces from today's papers and the web Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML Maureen Dowd argues in the New York Times that the Clintons' renewed rivalry and the increasingly visceral attacks on Barack Obama's health-care plan prove that the president can't transcend old divisions. The postpartisan, postracial, post-Clinton-dysfunction world that Barack Obama was supposed to usher in when he hit town on his white charger, with turtle doves tweeting, has vanished. In the Times, Roy Hattersley recalls the day he signed the order that was to keep troops in Northern Ireland for 35 years. It was almost 20 years later that I first met Gerry Adams ... We got on famously until he expressed his regret at the animosity that he was shown by Northern Ireland Protestants. Even when I asked him how he expected them to react to photographs of him carrying the coffin of an IRA bomber who (in a mixture of evil and incompetence) had killed two children, he calmly replied that it was his duty to pay respects to a "dead volunteer". Only after I said that too many Irishmen were obsessed by death did I fear that he was going to have me shot. Over at Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundal exposes the Conservatives who want to privatise the NHS. This sort of wing-nuttery has become mainstream within the Conservative party here. Why doesn't Cameron say anything about it? Why don't the media hold him to account for his own people's views. The Guardian's Seumas Milne argues that the failure of the US government to suspend military and economic aid to the Honduran coup leaders proves that Latin American radicals can't rely on Obama for support. It's clear that the Obama administration could pull the plug on the coup regime tomorrow by suspending military aid and imposing sanctions. But so far, despite public condemnations, the president has yet to withdraw the US ambassador, let alone block the coup leaders' visas or freeze their accounts, as Zelaya has requested. Adrian Hamilton argues in the Independent that the failure of sanctions to deliver political change in Sudan, North Korea and Zimbabwe demonstrates why the west shouldn't impose new constraints on Burma. You would be hard put to find any evidence that they've done anything to change policy in those countries. If anything you could argue that they've actually retrenched repressive regimes by enabling them to tighten control of import revenues and present themselves to their people as victims of international aggression. › Beatbox cuisine George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles What the debate over troops on the streets is missing The problems with ending encryption to fight terrorism How long will general election campaigning be suspended after the Manchester attack?