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Pundits & Editorials

Lambro insists the economy's improving while Krugman fears a collapse of the financial market. Plus: Are we at war with Latin America?

• "If Barack Obama loses this election to John McCain -- something which, for the first time, I regard as a real possibility -- history will point to August 29, "the day McCain picked Sarah Palin for his running mate, "as the pivotal moment," Clive Crook projects.

Michael Barone maintains that the Republicans -- and particularly the unexpected choice of Palin as McCain's running mate -- have "gotten inside Obama's OODA loop. That term was the invention of the great fighter pilot and military strategist John Boyd. It's an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act."


• "McCain's "selection of" Palin "gave the GOP ticket a shot of excitement," Charlie Cook notes. "So, even though McCain's vetting of Palin was cursory, and journalists or Democratic opponents could still uncover something horribly damaging, Palin counts as an asset, at least for now."

• "Whether it's complaining about lipstick on a pig or bashing Washington insiders, the media and those oh-so-condescending Hollywood celebrities, Republicans have turned their own kind of victimhood into a political art form," scoffs Gregory Rodriguez.

• Reacting to negative ads the McCain camp has been releasing, Dawn Turner Trice urges Obama to "not lower himself to the McCain campaign's most recent level. In electoral politics, image is everything, and voters' perception of that image is reality. Obama has to be careful that he doesn't come off looking like an angry black man."


Steve Chapman also berates the GOP nominee for his "misleading" attacks. "McCain has concluded that a fact-based case about Obama isn't enough to prevail in November. So he has chosen to smear his opponent with ridiculous claims that he thinks the American people are gullible enough to believe."

• For more on political advertising, visit's Ad Spotlight blog.

• "There's clearly a fundamental difference in the way the two candidates see the world. The split might best be captured by asking a simple question: what kind of a world do we live in?" explains Fareed Zakaria, then speculating on how each might respond to such a question.

• "Is 2008 just a strange year, or is something big happening?" William Kristol wonders about the presidential election. "Are we seeing one of America's periodic political and cultural awakenings, one of our occasional, almost-convulsive democratic reactions to what is felt to be too great a distance between the people and their 'establishments'?"


Fred Hiatt lavishes praise on national security adviser Stephen Hadley for refusing to give in when conditions in Iraq were at their worst. He hopes that "the next national security adviser again has the strength to resist the crowd and the deftness to steer the country in the right direction."

• Citing numbers that show an up-tick in economic growth, Donald Lambro contends that "nightly news coverage of the economy has been a little like reporting the strikes and outs in a baseball game, while ignoring the hits, runs and double plays."

• On a more pessimistic note, Paul Krugman asks "will the U.S. financial system collapse today, or maybe over the next few days? I don't think so -- but I'm nowhere near certain. You see, Lehman Brothers, a major investment bank, is apparently about to go under. And nobody knows what will happen next."

• In the Washington Post, Dennis Ross, former special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton, reveals that "there is a looming issue that I found to be worrying Palestinians and Israelis alike: What happens in January when Mahmoud Abbas's term as president of the Palestinian Authority expires?"

From The Editorial Boards...

• While acknowledging that Palin has given the GOP ticket a boost, the Financial Times fears that "the Palin nomination has driven the McCain campaign in a worrying direction. While trying to build on his new momentum, Mr McCain needs to make some adjustments."

• The Wall Street Journal thinks Obama can learn something about how the success of the surge came about in Bob Woodward's "The War Within." Even "as a (very) rough draft of history," the book is "an instructive profile in Presidential decision-making," the board asserts.

• "The fellow who writes tax law for the entire country can't even get his personal tax returns right. That's why Speaker Nancy E. Pelosi (D., Calif.) should remove Rep. Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee," chides the Philadelphia Inquirer. "The post requires Rangel to be above reproach, and he has not met that high standard."

• "Mounting embarrassment for taxpayers and Congress makes it imperative that" Rangel "step aside as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee while his ethical problems are investigated," the New York Times agrees.

• "Normally when a Congress does nothing, it is actually a good thing. But the past few years, congressional inaction has hurt the country in ways we could never have imagined," seethes the Washington Times.

• The Washington Post supports a transportation funding bill the House passed last week, but stresses that the "bailout" is not a permanent solution and that lawmakers need to "search for new sources of transportation funding or risk a similar crisis next fall."

USA Today admonishes automakers for "seeking $25 billion to $50 billion in loan guarantees" from the government, charging that the move is "unconvincing, premature and has more to do with politics than economics."

• In an opposing view, Michigan Reps. John Dingell (D) and Fred Upton (R) argue that, "without these loans, the auto industry will not be able to design and produce the advanced cars and trucks we're requiring them to create."

• Responding to the news that Venezuela President Hugo Chavez and Bolivia President Evo Morales expelled U.S. ambassadors from their countries last week, the Los Angeles Times asks "did somebody announce we are at war with Latin America and forget to tell us? The expulsion of the ambassadors came seemingly without provocation, and the notion that" Bush "is plotting an invasion is laughable."

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