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Legacy Content / EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Brooks explains the battle for the Republican Party, and Applebaum compares Obama to Princess Diana. Plus: protecting America's veterans.

November 11, 2008

• Disagreeing with those who say that "the ascendancy of Barack Obama signals the beginning of a 'post-racial' America," in the Washington Post former columnist William Raspberry does acknowledge that "Obama's election means that in America, including at the highest levels of our politics, race is no longer an automatic deal-breaker. That's a major step forward in the thinking of white America."

Anne Applebaum compares the media coverage of Tuesday night's election results to the outpouring that erupted over Princess Diana's death, sensing "a touch, just a touch, of" the same type of "starry-eyed celebrity worship."

• If Obama "wants to get off on the right foot as a bona fide uniter, he'd be wise to choose his high-ranking appointees with a party-blind approach," comments Ross K. Baker in USA Today.

 

Richard Cohen urges Obama to tap Al Gore for secretary of state. "Can you imagine a bolder statement about a new direction when it comes to global warming and the general care of our abused planet?"

• "The theme of" Obama's "transition is clear" to Derrick Z. Jackson: "The original rallying cry of 'hope' can now be summed up as 'pragmatic hope.' That is signal enough of the events that will challenge Obama's ability to deliver on his original promises, as sure as President Bush's 'compassionate conservatism' disappeared off the face of the earth after Sept. 11."

DeWayne Wickham is heartened by the preview he believes the country has gotten of the way Obama "will wield the awesome power he will soon possess."

• "The most important thing the Democrats and President-elect Obama can do with regard to the economy is bring back a sense of fairness and equity," Bob Herbert contends, blaming "the fat cats" for "plac[ing] the entire economy at risk with their greed and manic irresponsibility."

• "Can we save corporate dinosaurs that have been mismanaged for decades? Yes, we can!" Rich Lowry jeers, mocking Obama for supposedly changing his tune on saving the auto industry.

• "John McCain's fulminations against" Obama's "socialism or infatuation with redistributing wealth were as risible as would be former President Bill Clinton lecturing Pinocchio on the evils of mendacity," lawyer Bruce Fein quips in the Washington Times, adding that "for the last century, both the Republican and Democratic parties have embraced the morality if not the economic wisdom of the progressive income tax and government spending to redistribute wealth."

• Previewing McCain's appearance on "The Tonight Show," William McGurn discusses some of the "nasty stuff" about Sarah Palin leaked from the Arizona senator's campaign staff in the last week and wonders whether the candidate will take the opportunity to stand up for his running mate.

• "After two straight electoral defeats, it is time for a substantial party shake-up," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., asserts in the Wall Street Journal. "We don't need a feather duster; we need a fire hose."

David Brooks outlines the "fight over the future of conservatism" being waged between Traditionalists -- "the people who believe that conservatives have lost elections because they have strayed from the true creed" -- and the Reformers, who "argue that the old G.O.P. priorities were fine for the 1970s but need to be modernized for new conditions."

Eugene Robinson senses, "The truth is that the Grand Old Party is on a Bridge to Nowhere and may have great difficulty changing course."

• "Was" Bush "a conservative president?" asks Jonah Goldberg. "For liberals, this is a settled question. Bush is not merely a conservative, he is the conservative. He is the ur-right-winger, the Platonic ideal of all that is truly Republican." But "the view on the right is very different, and the debate about the Bush years will largely determine the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement."

• In the Washington Times, Brookings Insititution Senior Fellow Michael O'Hanlon argues against a proposal to guarantee that four percent of the nation's gross domestic product go toward military spending, concluding that "the Defense Department budget does not need to be treated effectively as another federal entitlement."

From The Editorial Boards...

• The New York Times deems "direct government action to prevent foreclosures... essential to keep millions of Americans in their homes and head off an even deeper financial catastrophe."

• "A $50-billion loan to the automakers... isn't likely to bring about the changes the notoriously insular companies and their unions have resisted for three decades," the Los Angeles Times concludes. "Before putting taxpayers on the hook for billions in aid, policymakers need to ask Detroit for change they can believe in."

• The Washington Post chastises French President Nicolas Sarkozy for rushing "multilateral action to fix the financial system.... Rather than issuing demands and pointing fingers, Mr. Sarkozy -- like other G-20 leaders -- should be soberly assessing what can be achieved at a meeting hosted by a U.S. president who will be leaving office in two months."

• The Boston Globe comes to the "inescapable conclusion" that Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili "started the war" between his country and Russia in August "and lied about it," and argues that President-elect Obama must remind Georgia that "a reliable ally does not defy the will of Washington and recklessly implicate America in an unnecessary confrontation with Russia."

• The Washington Times responds to Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell's most recent column -- in which she admits that the paper's coverage of the presidential election had a "tilt" toward Obama -- saying that "none of these admissions means much after the fact. But it, along with other studies of other media, does validate claims made by many observers that the mainstream media is biased toward the left."

• "The champagne is barely off the ice and Democrats are already celebrating their new majorities by punishing a few heretical colleagues" -- Rep. John Dingell [Mich.] and Sen. Joseph Lieberman [Conn.]. "The retribution speaks volumes about the direction of liberal politics," worries the Wall Street Journal .

• The approval of same-sex marriage bans in three different states "suggest[s] two lessons going forward in the drive for equal treatment under the law for gay Americans," according to USA Today: "most people... aren't yet ready to push the envelope all the way to same-sex marriage" and "the better way to harness growing public acceptance of homosexuality is to push harder for" civil unions.

• "After the scandalous treatment some combat veterans experienced in recent years, the first priority" of the new administration "will be to ensure that those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan receive the best possible care for both physical and mental injuries sustained while overseas." But "the administration cannot lose sight that many wounds linger long after combat has ended," the Philadelphia Inquirer maintains.

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