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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Senators hit the opinion pages, with Specter, Coburn and Grassley all showing up in this morning's papers. Plus: Pelosi's power play and McCain's options to fill out his ticket.

• "There has been little public Republican protest over the seizure of the appropriating process by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her clique," Robert Novak complains, concluding with a jab at the California Democrat: "Unchanged in Nancy Pelosi's House is bipartisan devotion to the three-day workweek."

• In the Washington Post, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (R) explains his support for a media shield law, contrasting a recent editorial from Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

 

• And in the Washington Times, Rep. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., justifies his opposition to a bill that would give D.C.'s Metrorail system $1.5 billion to improve its infrastructure, suggesting that "the biggest problem facing Metro may actually be too much federal funding."

• Indulging in some veepstakes speculation, William Kristol posits that John McCain could pick Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as his partner on the Republican ticket: "It might... be a way to confront the issue of McCain’s age (71), which private polls and focus groups suggest could be a real problem. A Jindal pick would implicitly acknowledge the questions and raise the ante."

Sebastian Mallaby dismisses the controversy over Barack Obama and his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He asserts, "The Obama-Wright 'revelations' are really a revelation about our political culture: About its failure to distinguish the important from the trivial and about the inevitability that the race card will eventually be played against a black candidate."

 

• Obama isn't really starting a dialogue on race, Gregory Rodriguez contends, but "whether you agree with him or not, isn't that exactly what Wright was doing last week when he reappeared in public to make more provocative statements on race and politics?"

• "Success breeds failure," Paul Krugman proclaims, suggesting that the worst of the country's economic crisis may be over, but "if we don’t fix the system now, there's every reason to believe that the next crisis will be bigger still -- and that the Fed won’t have enough duct tape to hold things together."

• Meanwhile, Jackson Diehl discusses next steps in the "war of the rockets" between the Israeli government and Hamas militants in Gaza.

• In the Boston Globe, James Carroll describes the "new immorality" of the Iraq war, arguing that "a failure to distinguish between the aggressive war that overthrew Saddam Hussein and the collapse of Iraqi social order that followed is part of what fuels the ongoing US mistake."

 

• U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon calls for more international help for Africa in the Washington Times, identifying "home-grown, grass-roots solutions for grass-roots problems -- precisely the kind of solutions that Africa needs" and concluding that "we can begin by taking the hard steps to deal decisively with the crisis in food."

From The Editorial Boards...

• The Philadelphia Inquirer disagrees with the Supreme Court's recent decision on voter-identification requirements in Indiana, noting, "When half of the voting-age population often stays home on Election Day, voters hardly needed the U.S. Supreme Court to give them yet one more reason to stay away from the polls. That's just what the court did last week."

• "Congratulations! You and your fellow taxpayers will soon be the proud owners of a multibillion-dollar portfolio of student loans," the Wall Street Journal quips. "And a leading Member of Congress promises that this pretty bundle of debt comes to you with no cost and no risk. President Bush apparently agrees."

• The Washington Post also reprimands Congress for its actions on student loans: "Perhaps the real problem with the government-backed student loan business is that the federal government turned over most of it to private companies in the first place, without a compelling reason for doing so."

USA Today comes out against new tax cuts and Republicans' rejection of "pay-as-you-go" rules. But Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, pens an opposing view, pointing out reasons to "debunk the sanctimony of pay-go."

• The New York Times slams "Big Oil's Friends in the Senate," noting that renewable-energy tax credits are on the verge of expiring and "the choice for the senators, in particular the Republicans, is simply this: They can extract a few billion dollars from the ridiculously rich oil companies... or they must explain to the American people why protecting the oil companies is more important than protecting the planet."

• The Washington Times warns that "it's past time for all of the relevant national security committees of the House and Senate to begin to take a very careful look at the ramifications of the North Korea nuclear deal and what the United States will be getting in return for taking North Korea off the terrorism list."

• The gas-tax holiday proposed by McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton would be "nothing to celebrate," according to the Dallas Morning News. "Instead of wasting time on gimmicks like a gas-tax holiday, which not only wouldn't help but actually would hurt, they could do what we hope all future presidents will do -- consider the long term."

• "Russia and Georgia are moving precariously close to war over the separatist Georgian republic of Abkhazia, a gorgeous strip along the Black Sea where Georgian leaders would like to see rows of swanky tourist hotels," the Los Angeles Times writes. "But that won't happen if Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has a say in it -- and unfortunately, he does."

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