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Pundits & Editorials

A Pittsburgh columnist hears some painful truths in Murtha's recent remarks, and Blankley calls for a "new conservative movement" after Nov. 4. Plus: Can polls measure this election?

• "On the cusp of what some think will be a major" Barack Obama "victory," Tony Blankley calls for a "new conservative movement."

Robert J. Samuelson addresses a memo to voters under 35: "You're being played for chumps. Barack Obama and John McCain want your votes, but they're ignoring your interests."

 

• "People who put faith in government to solve national or even individual problems are headed for deep disappointment, if it hasn't already arrived," predicts syndicated columnist Cal Thomas in the Washington Times.

• Dismissing claims that Obama's economic policy is too far to the left, syndicated columnist Robert Scheer complains in the San Francisco Chronicle that "Obama has turned to the same American 'free market' elite that views government as merely a corporate subsidiary."

Thomas Frank sees the roots of the "Joe the Plumber" story in a larger, "factproof worldview of lasting power. It is simply this: Conservatives are authentic and liberals are not."

 

• "As much as" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Reg Henry "cringed when I heard" Democratic Rep. John Murtha's "impolitic remarks," about racism's role in deciding the presidential contest in Pennsylvania, "I have to admit that perhaps a little unvarnished truth is what we need."

Ruth Marcus laments the tone of the McCain campaign's closing argument, noting "how much harder it will be for the next president to unite a divided country in the way that both McCain and Obama say they want."

• A "predictable story of overreach, backlash and bitterness easily could destroy Obama's presidency, even before his first achievements -- unless he can suddenly find the ability to shape, tame, even fight, the self-destructive tendencies of his own party," Michael Gerson warns.

Maureen Dowd praises former Defense Secretary Colin Powell's decision to endorse Obama in response to the increasing negativity of the race, calling it "a tonic to hear someone push back so clearly on ugly innuendo."

 

• In the Washington Post, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker hypothesizes a "Reverse-Bradley Effect: whites who would never admit to voting for a black man, but do."

• "Will" Obama "play the Sarah Palin card?" wonders John Mercurio. "It's no longer the risk Democrats once believed. And it might be his best chance to dampen a late-breaking GOP surge."

• "Obama and Palin are late Boomers, the Overlooked Generation," observes Clarence Page. "That puts them in a generation that could make a big difference in the outcome of the Nov. 4 election."

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• In the National Review, Byron York examines Palin's time as governor, concluding that "her conservatism comes with a substantial portion of populism."

• Law professor Vikram David Amar asks in the Los Angeles Times, "Why are voters denied the chance to vote for a president of one party and a vice president of the other?"

• "Political polling is often a meld of science and art, but nowhere more than in the selection of 'likely voters,'" writes Mark Blumenthal, explaining how pollsters are adjusting for what could be a changed electorate this year.

• "Can we trust the polls this year?... As a recovering pollster and continuing poll consumer," Michael Barone's answer in the Wall Street Journal "is yes -- with qualifications."

• "The McCain campaign is giving new life to old myths," observes Harold Meyerson. "In an attempt to suppress minority voting, it has conjured up the specter of voter fraud, though there is no evidence that voter fraud exists."

• "There has been important and valuable reporting and attention paid to the possibilities of organized voter suppression and election fraud," write Katrina vanden Heuvel and election observer Nicholas Jahr in The Nation. "What may well be a greater threat to a fair and democratic election is legal disenfranchisement and poor preparation."

• "Iraq has been regarded as such a success story in recent months that many have forgotten that all the old cleavages still exist -- Sunni vs. Shiite, Kurd vs. Arab, regional autonomy vs. central government," explains David Ignatius.

• "As it turns out, the best vision going forward" on Iraq "is one that incorporates the thinking of" McCain and Obama, opine Marine Corps Capt. Ann Gildroy and Brookings Institution fellow Michael O'Hanlon in USA Today.

• In the Los Angeles Times, international relations professor Pamela Starr pushes for U.S. action "on the southward flow of arms and ammunition that is fueling an explosion of drug-related violence in Mexico and that could soon threaten U.S. interests."

Thomas Friedman has "mixed feelings" about the falling price of gasoline, noting that when it was more costly, "Americans drove less, polluted less, exercised more, rode more public transportation and, most importantly, overwhelmed Detroit with demands for smaller, more fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars."

• "We should move immediately to correct one of the most antiquated and dangerous flaws in" our "regulatory structure and merge the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)," urges former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt in the Wall Street Journal.

• Calling knowledge "the most sought-after commodity in the new global economy," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) argues in the Washington Times that the financial crisis makes it even more important that America invest in education.

• Forget worrying about access to student loans, advises New America Foundation fellow Michael Dannenberg in USA Today. "The real danger during bad economic times is that tuition often skyrockets."

From The Editorial Boards...

• The Wall Street Journal believes Obama's "monumental flip-flop" on public financing "should finally bust the illusion that campaign finance reform is somehow about better government. It is really about power."

• "Of course, the nation should strive for cleaner elections. But the larger problem in this country isn't polls overrun by fraudulent voters. It's that too few Americans bother to vote," concludes USA Today.

• Conservative criticisms of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's opinion in District of Columbia vs. Heller "demonstrate that there are no real originalists, only activists of different stripes. And that's OK," rules the Los Angeles Times.

• "Next month, voters in Massachusetts will face a tempting ballot question: whether to eliminate the state's income tax," notices the New York Times. "This is a reckless proposal that would hurt all taxpayers."

• Citing statistics that suggest Obama's tax plan will raise taxes on one in 10 small businesses, the Washington Times fumes: "What part of such government-engineered wealth distribution isn't socialism?"

• "Badly scared by a deepening recession, Washington is broadening its appetite for costly financial cures," worries the Houston Chronicle.

• "The Iraq policy of the next American president will have to be rooted in a realization that Bush has opened Iraq to Iranian influence. The soundest way to counter that influence is to cease being an occupying power as quickly as possible," recommends the Boston Globe.

• The Washington Post calls attention to the possible poisoning of Karina Moskalenko, the lawyer representing murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

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