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Pundits & Editorials

Dowd and Broder ponder the possibility of a Secretary of State Clinton, while Obama's economic policies are scrutinized. Plus: Detroit weighs in.

• "It may be moot and it certainly is presumptuous, but" David S. Broder "would be less than honest with readers if I did not say what I believe: Making Hillary Rodham Clinton the secretary of state in Barack Obama's administration would be a mistake."

• By considering Clinton for secretary of State, Maureen Dowd worries that "Obama is overlooking all his cherished dictums against drama and leaking and his lofty vetting standards to try and create a situation where the country can benefit from the talent of the Clintons while curbing their cheesy excesses, like their endless cash flow from foreigners."


• Referencing reports that Obama will have to give up his BlackBerry once he takes office, Ruth Marcus would "argue that Obama should cling to his e-mail as a 21st-century way to pierce the White House bubble. After all," Al Gore "did it as vice president, BlackBerry included."

Amity Shlaes contends that Obama has adopted the policies of economist John Maynard Keynes, who believed that consumer spending is "the way out of a slowdown." Shlaes finds this "problematic. For Keynesian solutions often fail to deliver good or even acceptable results."

• "Mr. Obama's one deeply false note during the campaign was his harping on 'deregulation' as if that were the source of current troubles." Holman W. Jenkins Jr. charges that "his real problem is the crack-up of the world" Franklin D. Roosevelt "built."


• "Amid the stress and storm of the financial crisis, 'deregulation' makes a convenient villain. But the facts say otherwise: The nation's regulatory burden has grown heavier, not lighter, since President Bush entered the White House." Jeff Jacoby argues that "too little government didn't make the economy sick. Too much government isn't going to make it better."

• "President Bush has stymied a strong push by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to engage Iran and Cuba more directly in his twilight days of power. Better never than late seems to be Bush's motto in diplomacy." Jim Hoagland believes that "this time he is right."

Harold Meyerson lays out two reasons why Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., should head the Energy and Commerce Committee instead of the current chairman, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.

• "The evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh," declares Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post.


• "It is likely that we [Americans] really do want universal health care and some measure of wealth-spreading, and even would like to see it become easier to organize a union in the workplace, however misguided such ideas may seem to the nation's institutions of higher carping," Thomas Frank scoffs.

• In the Wall Street Journal, Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO of General Motors Corp, explains why GM deserves a federal bailout.

• Meanwhile, in the New York Times, former presidential candidate and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney (R) predicts that "if General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout... you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won't go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed."

• In the Washington Times, Cal Thomas cites two executives -- Chick-fil-A restaurant chain CEO S. Truett Cathy and Aflac Insurance Co. CEO Dan Amos -- to contend that philanthropic leaders do still exist in this age of "corporate greed" and "big business."

• "It's sobering -- even shocking -- that Monday's final report by the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses failed to find a place on the front page of a single major newspaper," laments Tim Rutten.

From The Editorial Boards...

• "When Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and" Obama "sat down Monday for an amicable chat, there was no real agenda. So," the Washington Times wonders: What should we "make of the meeting?"

• "In the aftermath of the reckless politicization of the Justice Department under" Bush, "the wisest course for" Obama "would be to choose an eminent lawyer who shares the administration's legal philosophy but can't be caricatured as a presidential insider," the Los Angeles Times suggests, adding that former Deputy Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. may be too close to the president-elect for this position.

• While the Washington Post editorial board thinks Hillary Clinton is qualified to be secretary of State, it has reservations about what kind of baggage Bill Clinton may bring to Foggy Bottom.

• "Bygones will be bygones -- at least when the future of the Senate is at stake." Tuesday, "Democrats decided not to boil" Joe Lieberman, I/D-Conn., "in oil after all," remarks the Wall Street Journal, concluding that "Lieberman alive is of more use to the new President than Lieberman banished."

Roll Call (subscription) calls upon "Senate leaders to do their part and be prepared to promptly process nominations to key Cabinet and sub-Cabinet positions as soon as" Obama "makes them."

The Hill looks at the 77 departing members of Congress, writing that "most of the departing class should hold their heads high, whether they retired or lost their reelection races."

• "If" Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. "wants to persist in withholding bailout funds for foreclosure relief, he will have to come up with a new set of justifications," the New York Times fumes.

• "It's too early to call the" Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, "a rousing success, but it's also too soon to label it a flop," cautions USA Today. "At a minimum, the program has helped tamp down the wildfire that was racing through the financial system earlier this fall."

• "While you can see progress in credit market indicators if you squint hard enough, it's hard to tell how much of this comes from TARP and how much from the frantic actions of the Federal Reserve," Josh Bivens, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, counters in an opposing view.

• "It doesn't matter that, for the most part, the attacks on the automakers are based on misinformation or conditions long ago dealt with. Clearly, public opinion is not with the Big Three," the Detroit News observes. "That means the domestic industry, if it survives -- or perhaps to survive -- has a major public relations challenge to meet."

• Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press asks with incredulity, "Why on Earth would it make sense to inflict hundreds of billions worth of economic damage on people, governments and other businesses when, for a fraction of the cost, they could be spared? The case for bankruptcy simply makes no sense. Congress has got to come through with financial help."

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