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Pundits & Editorials

Russert's journalistic legacy and Congressional disunity. Plus: What should lawmakers' next step be in the climate change debate?

• "He died too young," William Kristol writes, mourning Tim Russert's sudden death Friday. "But he lived more than a full life -- a life overflowing with achievements, and friendships, and love, and joy."

• "Russert will be remembered for his remarkable career. But I'll remember him as the famous journalist who gave counsel to an intern, and who told me to 'get out there and do it,'" Wall Street Journal fellow Robert Costa, who first met Russert when he was interning for PBS in 2006, recalls in the Journal.


• "Geography, age, experience, foreign policy or military expertise, gender, ideology, party and even ethnicity are all factors that both campaigns will consider" in their VP selections. "But both" Barack Obama and John McCain "should think more broadly about the message their selections will send," advises Stuart Rothenberg (subscription).

• In the Christian Science Monitor, attorney Joshua Spivak suggests that the VP selection isn't just important for the short-term challenge of winning in November, because the second-in-command will also "become the prohibitive favorite for his or her party's nomination for the presidency in 2016."

• "How our next president represents the interests of young Americans will define not only his legacy but that of an entire generation of political leaders," former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and former ambassador to Mexico James R. Jones contend in the Washington Post.


• In USA Today, politics editor Dan Gilgoff examines "why the Christian right fears Obama," and asserts that even even though he is "not telling values voters what they want to hear on issues such as abortion, [he] is nonetheless speaking to them. And the Christian right's heart is beating faster."

• The Washington Times' editor at large Arnaud de Borchgrave describes the relationship between Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Jim Webb, D-Va., and praises their bipartisan efforts to pass a new GI bill.

Don Wolfensberger (subscription) assesses how "the recent 'glitch' in the enrollment of the farm bill raised Republican suspicions of partisan skullduggery. In truth, it appears to have been nothing more than a clerical (or computer) error. But the episode illustrates how much partisanship has corroded the steel bonds of trust in Congress."

• Defining a "fiscal poison pill" as "a financial arrangement designed to protect current management by crippling the company if someone else takes over," Paul Krugman scoffs that "the tax cuts enacted by the Bush administration are, in effect, a fiscal poison pill aimed at future administrations."


• "Speculation that the Federal Reserve is about to begin inflation-fighting interest rate increases appears to be dead wrong," declares Robert D. Novak. "Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is worried more about runaway oil prices contracting the global economy than inflating it through a wage-cost spiral."

• In the Los Angeles Times, the New Republic's James Kirchick argues that President Bush "never lied to us about Iraq," and that "administration critics continually demonstrate an inability to distinguish making claims based on flawed intelligence from knowingly propagating falsehoods."

• "Has the push for Pakistani democracy exposed the United States to greater risk of another 9/11?" Jackson Diehl wonders. "Has it made an already-volatile Muslim country with a nuclear arsenal even more vulnerable to an Islamic revolution or collapse into a failed state?"

• "It's long been a sociological axiom that homeowners take better care of their houses and their neighborhoods than do renters. I think the same principle applies to cities and nations," Gregory Rodriguez contends, discussing the pros and cons of increasing globalization and migration throughout the world.

From The Editorial Boards...

• The Washington Times maintains that Russert "was among the most influential and respected figures in American journalism... Less well-known, however, was the fact that his fame and fortune never went to his head. He treated people -- be they waiters or repairmen, colleagues at NBC News or powerful politicians -- the same: with dignity and respect."

USA Today laments, "It's a particularly cruel irony that someone who wrote two books on fathers and families would die on the Friday before Father's Day. And it seems particularly unjust that someone who loved politics so much would miss the remainder of an unusually pivotal and exciting presidential election."

• "Trying to deflect criticism that he is sounding like a clone of the unpopular" Bush, McCain "is equating" Obama's "policies with those of President Jimmy Carter. Comparisons across generations are rarely on target, and McCain's remarks are particularly obtuse," charges the Boston Globe.

• "The Countrywide Financial sweetheart loan scandal continues to grow, spreading to Senators and other Beltway potentates," notes the Wall Street Journal. "We are about to find out if Congress's passion for investigating business ethics extends to conflicts of interest and cash that involve fellow Members."

• The New York Times urges the Senate to "begin to redeem itself, by approving a bill to extend vital tax credits for renewable fuel sources like wind and solar power," after it "fell flat on its face earlier this month when it could not even produce enough votes to have a good debate" about the global warming legislation.

• Meanwhile, the Washington Post delves into a new report released Friday by the independent task force of the Council on Foreign Relations that urges "more aggressive action at home" in curbing greenhouse gases. The board insists that none of the report's recommendations "will become reality as long as the United States remains on the sidelines."

• "The global food crisis offers the United States a fresh opportunity to show the world its humanitarian mettle," the Los Angeles Times indicates. "The question is whether it can turn this crisis into an opportunity to remake the agricultural and aid policies that have racked up a 50-year record of expensive failure."

• The Dallas Morning News praises the Bush administration for its recent talks with European leaders on Iran. "The united front shows the progress the administration has made in restoring some concord with European leaders, even though there remains a strong anti-Bush feeling among Europeans."

• Noting that "the UN mandate under which U.S. forces operate in Iraq expires at the end of the year," the Chicago Tribune ponders what the "new ground rules" for the war might be when it expires. "Will U.S. soldiers be allowed to attack terrorist targets without permission from Iraqi commanders? Will U.S. soldiers who break the law be subject to Iraqi courts? How many bases will the U.S. maintain?"

• The Christian Science Monitor weighs the pros and cons of how high gas prices have encouraged more people to use public transportation. "It eases pocketbook expenses, road congestion, and pollution. But it's also straining providers of mass transit -- a signal for needed change."

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