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Pundits & Editorials

Puerto Rico enjoys the limelight and Henninger drafts Clinton's concession speech. Plus: Is the farm bill the epitome of beltway politics?

• "Puerto Rico, an afterthought trophy for the United States 110 years ago at the end of the Spanish-American War and an island in limbo since, has become an improbable player in the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama," professor Michael Janeway asserts in the New York Times.

• Meanwhile, Flavio Cumpiano, executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, says in the Washington Times that the commonwealth will enjoy the spotlight. "Puerto Ricans are excited to introduce our unique role in the United States to the rest of the country."


• In the Politico, Washington journalist Gebe Martinez recounts an instance in which Sen. Edward Kennedy, "the Massachusetts Democrat, political icon, legislative workhorse and grandson of Irish immigrants who faced discrimination, demonstrated once again his decades-long loyalty to Hispanics."

• Democratic consultant Bud Jackson writes in the Politico that Kennedy's recent diagnosis has "sparked renewed attention to Sen. John McCain's age as an issue in this year's presidential election."

Robert Novak says McCain has marked his territory: "His campaign has no intention of fighting this battle on Democratic turf."


Rosa Brooks puts McCain's ability to garner American support for his stance on the Iraq war with all the other "unsolved mysteries of the universe."

• Writing in the New York Times, journalist Nathan Thrall and Columbia doctoral candidate Jesse James Wilkins link Obama with John F. Kennedy. If Obama "wants to follow in Kennedy’s footsteps, he should heed the lesson that Kennedy learned in his first year in office: sometimes there is good reason to fear to negotiate."

• In the Wall Street Journal, former Bush deputy chief of staff Karl Rove also calls on Obama to defend his willingness to talk with countries like Iran and North Korea. "He owes it to the voters to explain, in specific terms, what he can say that will lead these states to abandon their hostility."

• "Clinton cleared the hurdles often cited as holding American women back, yet she is unlikely to surmount the final barrier. So you have to wonder. Is it something about Hillary, or something about us?" Marie Cocco asks.


Daniel Henninger drafts Clinton's concession speech and fast-forwards to June 2.

Gary J. Andres dissects the "paradox of partisanship:" "Candidates think they need to say 'yes' to parties to get elected and 'no' to govern."

• "Republicans in Congress must offer solutions of our own; we must be willing to lead where the Democrats have failed," encourages Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, describing the GOP's energy agenda in the Washington Times.

• "The prevalence of middle-class ambitions and values creates a vexing contradiction," Robert J. Samuelson contends. "The advances in living standards that Americans expect require a flexible and competitive economy that weakens the security and stability that Americans also expect."

• "The new preventive war -- the government responding forcefully against a postulated future threat -- has been declared on behalf of polar bears, the first species whose supposed jeopardy has been ascribed to global warming," George F. Will writes.

• In USA Today, author Paul E. Roberts worries about China's influence on the global food crisis. "That the world's most populous nation now seeks to lock up pieces of foreign food production not only confirms that China has reached the end of food self-sufficiency as well, but suggests that Western hopes for a quick end to today's food-price crisis could be overly optimistic."

• "A reduction in carbon emissions has become an end in itself," author Bjorn Lomborg posits in the Wall Street Journal. "The fortune spent on this exercise could achieve an astounding amount of good in areas that we hear a lot less about."

• In the Los Angeles Times, contributing editor Timothy Garton Ash lays out the key reasons why the United States still has a "responsibility to help the Burmese," arguing that "military action isn't the way."

• "In the aftermath of the great Sichuan earthquake, we’ve seen a hopeful glimpse of China's future: a more open and self-confident nation, and maybe -- just maybe -- the birth of grass-roots politics here," Nicholas D. Kristof observes.

From The Editorial Boards...

• The New Hampshire Union-Leader transcends party lines in honor of Kennedy: "We have dished out some hot criticism of Sen. Kennedy over the years. There are few issues, if any, on which we share the senator's views. But political opinions do not make a man."

• "The Republican Party faces an identity crisis of its own making and a profound voter backlash that began in 2006," the Washington Times admits. "But even at this late stage, there is time to avert disaster. We urge party leaders to chart a winning course for 2008."

• "For years, Mr. Bush has refused to tell the truth about his administration's inhuman policy on prisoners, and the Republican-controlled Congress eagerly acquiesced to his stonewalling," the New York Times fumes. "Now, the Democrats in charge of Congress must press for full disclosure."

• The Washington Post denounces the farm bill: "Arcane and often irrational, its subsidy provisions can be difficult to understand and, sometimes, even difficult to identify."

• "You couldn't write a piece of legislation that more thoroughly represents the Beltway status quo than this one," the Wall Street Journal agrees. "In every way imaginable, and even a few more, it repeats and compounds the spendthrift errors of previous farm bills."

• "The unfortunate and unnecessary impact of the California Supreme Court ruling might well have been to set back the cause of gay rights more broadly," USA Today argues regarding the court's decision to strike down a ban on same-sex marriages.

• In two opposing views, Evan Wolfson, executive director of the group Freedom to Marry, and Timothy Dailey, senior fellow for policy at the conservative organization Family Research Council, predict that the debate is just beginning.

• The Los Angeles Times doesn't see much hope in the "temporary" peace deal achieved in Lebanon. "Washington is left to ponder the meaning of yet another rout of one of its best Middle East allies by a popular but violent Islamist movement."

• The Boston Globe weighs in on the appeasement talks surrounding the Middle East in its "Friends close, enemies closer," editorial, noting that "diplomacy is impossible without broad diplomatic contacts."

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