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Pundits & Editorials

Pundits think Pennsylvania will come down to religious voters, Obama's image and street cash. Plus: Giving up on biofuels:

• "There’s something about obsessing about a campaign... that doesn’t exactly arouse the imaginative faculties," notes David Brooks. "As you cover it, you feel yourself enclosed in its tunnel. Entire mental faculties go unused."

• "We don’t hear a great deal about education in the presidential campaign. It’s much too serious a topic to compete with such fun stuff as" Hillary Rodham Clinton "tossing back a shot of whiskey, or" Barack Obama "rolling a gutter ball," Bob Herbert jeers.


• "How on earth is the Republican Party going to sell John McCain? Once the Democrats stop doing the job, I mean," quips Eugene Robinson.

• "The result of the 2008 election may come down to how voters decide to define" Obama, argues E.J. Dionne. "Is he Adlai Stevenson or John F. Kennedy?"

Tara Wall thinks Pennsylvania will be determined by religious voters. "It may be a wing and a prayer (literally) that determines who pulls it out."


• In the Los Angeles Times, freelance journalist Shawn Hubler recounts what he "thought as" he watched his rural Pennsylvania "hometown -- and so many others like it -- materialize so improbably at the forefront of this election: As much as the truth may hurt, Obama was right."

• "At the borders of the state where" Clinton and Obama "have waged what could be the ultimate contest of their seemingly endless 2008 marathon, there should be signs: 'Welcome To Pennsylvania -- You Are Now In The 19th Century,'" kids USA Today's Sandy Grady.

• "Philadelphia is a living museum of American history, where the political machine, though it wheezes and gasps, still functions much as it did 100 years ago," local columnist Tom Ferrick Jr. reports in the New York Times. "And street money is the manna of Philadelphia ward politics."

• Clinton "wants to become president so badly that she has made the goal more important than how she gets there -- and now she has rendered herself incapable of doing an essential part of the job. Her plight is virtually biblical," writes Richard Cohen.


• "To put it bluntly, the Democratic Party is not going to thumb its nose at history and deny the nomination to a black candidate in favor of a woman with Mrs. Clinton's baggage," former Democratic National Committee press secretary Terry Michael predicts in the Washington Times. "Get ready for Obamamania, Mr. McCain."

• "The 2008 election will indeed be about change and Mr. McCain should stand for big change to correct what is holding back our economy today. And there's no bigger problem to fix than the federal tax code," James C. Capretta, formerly of the Office of Budget and Management, recommends in the Washington Times.

• Missing from discussions about Iraq "is any realistic assessment of the fate of Iraqi refugees." In the New York Times, four distinguished members of the International Rescue Committee’s board offer "three actions to ease the plight of displaced Iraqis."

• "These people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance," freelance journalist Tulin Daloglu agrees in the Washington Times, "and Congress must approve funding for key humanitarian assistance programs in the fiscal year 2008 supplemental budget."

• "Young people are tired of hearing about Iraq, and they gave up getting angry about its steep death toll and mounting costs a long time ago," college junior Peter W. Fulham laments in USA Today.

• "The best cure for today's neoconservatism is a big dose of the neoconservatism of old," prescribes Jonah Goldberg.

• "Congress took a big chance on biofuels that, unfortunately, has not worked out," the Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown and climate specialist Jonathan Lewis write in the Washington Post. "Now, in the spirit of progress, let us learn the appropriate lessons from this setback."

• "Republicans are trying to have their cake and eat it too," complains Bruce Bartlett, a Treasury Department official under George H.W. Bush, in the Los Angeles Times. "They get to blame Democrats for advocating higher taxes while implicitly using those higher taxes to make future deficits smaller."

• Radio Free Europe "does have a good number of admirers in Washington, as well as a few constructive critics, usually people who wish it did more things better. What it does not have, however, is an advocate," frets Anne Applebaum.

• "After a generation of electoral reform and economic liberalization, Mexicans have finally gotten a taste of sunshine courtesy of" a "landmark" transparency law, lawyer Zachary Bookman explains in the Los Angeles Times. "But just as the country starts to enjoy a culture of transparency, vested interests are looking to defang the right to know."

From The Editorial Boards...

• The New York Times is critical of President Bush's new environmental proposals. "Instead of trying to make up for years of denial and neglect, his speech seemed cynically designed to prevent others from showing the leadership he refuses to provide -- to derail Congress from imposing a price on emissions of carbon dioxide and the states from regulating emissions on their own."

• But the Washington Post sees a silver lining in Bush's warning "against using laws, such as the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, to address global warming.... If the EPA classifies carbon dioxide from tailpipes as a pollutant that threatens public health or welfare, then the agency will have to regulate greenhouse gases from all other sources as well."

• The Boston Globe is outraged by a Defense Department "psychological warfare operation targeting the domestic audience.... In the end, the government's disguised lies have done more damage to American democracy and the national interest than to any foreign enemy. "

• "Texas authorities confronted with the question of what to do with the 416 children removed from a polygamist compound earlier this month face an unenviable choice." The Los Angeles Times suggests they be "returned to loving, nonabusive parents who are fully capable of caring for them."

• "Area transit authorities and congressional leaders have got to be kidding. They want American taxpayers to buy additional rail cars and to finance a slew of Metro maintenance projects, new capital improvement proposals and dozens of personnel hirings," the Washington Times fumes.

• "Of the many things to worry about in life, should the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) be added to the list?" worries USA Today.

• "Recent media reports about the safety and use of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins have unnecessarily confused and frightened the public," American Chemistry Council President Jack N. Gerard counters in an opposing view.

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