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Pundits & Editorials

Chastising Ralph Nader and debating gun rights. Plus: What does diplomacy with North Korea mean?

George F. Will weighs in on how the two decisions the Supreme Court handed down Thursday affected the two presidential candidates. "One ruling benefits Barack Obama by not reviving the dormant debate about gun control. The other embarrasses John McCain by underscoring discordance between his deeds and his promises."

• "As much as I abhor the possible real-word impact of the ruling, I fear that it's probably right," Eugene Robinson worries about the court's decision striking down D.C.'s handgun ban.


E.J. Dionne Jr., on the other hand, charges that "the conservatives on the Supreme Court have again shown their willingness to abandon precedent in order to do whatever is necessary to further the agenda of the contemporary political right."

• "There's one group of District residents absolutely unfazed by today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling shooting down the District's strict handgun ban: the dudes who have been blowing away their fellow citizens with abandon since the law was put on the books 32 years ago," Colbert I. King laments.

• "New Hampshire residents, grab something sturdy today," publisher Joseph W. McQuaid declares in the New Hampshire Union-Leader. "Obama is coming and his ability to switch positions on major issues is dizzying. It wouldn't matter, except Obama wants to become President. If that happens, hold on for dear life."


• Slamming Obama on his "flip-flopping" ways on everything from public finance to NAFTA trading, Charles Krauthammer sneers: "Not a flinch. Not a flicker. Not a hint of shame," on Obama's face. "By the time he's finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous."

Deborah Simmons chastises independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader for his comments on Wednesday regarding Obama and race. "What does Mr. Nader want Mr. Obama to do: Ship his white-American half to speak to 'the white power structure' and take his African-American half to 'ghettos'?"

• Brushing off the large amounts of media the Democratic Party's "hothouse of egos and drama" has received, Peggy Noonan wants to show some press love for the GOP's candidate: "Let McCain be McCain. Get him in the papers being who he is, get people looking at his real nature."

• The GOP is "in disarray, engaged in a fight over the soul of the party," proclaims Kimberley A. Strassel. "The reformers demand the leadership aggressively define itself on health care, earmarks and spending; the fat and happy push back, insisting their pork and their farm bills are necessary for re-election."


David Brooks believes that "among the many dark tidings for American conservatism, there is one genuine bright spot. Over the past five years, a group of young and unpredictable rightward-leaning writers has emerged on the scene."

Joel Stein enjoys the emerging political trading market Web sites that allow users to gamble on what candidates they think will win. "Of all the things I've ever gambled on... politics is the most fun."

Michael Gerson delves into the "latest findings of the Pew Forum's massive and indispensable U.S. Religious Landscape Survey," which he contends "reveal some intriguing confusion among Americans on cosmic issues." He also weighs in on how Obama's campaign is reaching out to evangelical voters.

• "Members of Congress liked what they heard" in May "when hedge fund manager Michael Masters told a Senate committee that speculation is the main cause of rising prices for oil and other raw materials... And since that testimony much of Capitol Hill has jumped on the blame-the-speculators bandwagon," notes Paul Krugman.

• "They are fond of George W. Bush in China," Philip Stephens reveals after a recent trip to Beijing. "There are not many capitals around the world where foreign policy practitioners say hand on heart that they will miss the US president." Bush "can reflect that here at least is a foreign policy that may outlive his presidency."

From The Editorial Boards...

• Thursday's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller "is a decision that will cost innocent lives, cause immeasurable pain and suffering and turn America into a more dangerous country," fumes the New York Times. "It will also diminish our standing in the world, sending yet another message that the United States values gun rights over human life."

• "The dismaying surprise is that the Second Amendment came within a single vote of becoming a dead Constitutional letter," counters the Wall Street Journal. "That's the larger meaning of" Thursday's "landmark" decision.

• "What remains" after the handgun ruling "is a cultural divide, largely between rural and urban areas, over gun control," contends USA Today. "The most useful thing to do now is decide what limits can cut the carnage while still comporting with the Constitution."

• "The court firmly, and rightly, upheld that basic right to self-defense and declared the gun ban unconstitutional," National Rifle Association vice president Wayne LaPierre maintains in an opposing view. "This historic decision cements the individual right to bear arms as a cornerstone of American constitutional law."

• "It was probably inevitable that the court would revisit" the right to bear arms issue, the Los Angeles Times points out, adding that the "decision needlessly complicated the lives of legislators seeking to bring gun violence under control. But it could have been worse."

• The New Hampshire Union-Leader likes McCain's idea of holding town hall meetings and hopes Obama will take part. "What say you, Sen. Obama? Will you elevate this year's presidential debates by agreeing to participate in this most democratic and revealing of formats?"

• If Nader's "patronizing comments" about Obama "were meant to attract attention, they succeeded. Unfortunately, they also served to reinforce how out of touch" Nader "really is," the Washington Post charges.

• "The political demise" of Reps. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md., and Chris Cannon, R-Utah, in recent primary losses "should serve to remind Republicans that voting for open borders and increased spending can become a fast track to involuntary retirement," quips the Washington Times.

• "There are still important questions to be answered about North Korea's nuclear program, but a milestone was passed" Thursday, applauds the Boston Globe. "North Korea gave China what is supposed to be a complete account of that program, and President Bush said it is exempted from the Trading with the Enemy Act and will be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism."

• Meanwhile, the Financial Times asserts that the administration's diplomatic efforts are a "very small step," but are "better than confrontation, defiance and no progress at all. But no one should be fooled into thinking that this is a great diplomatic success or that North Korea is seriously considering abandoning nuclear weapons."

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