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Pundits & Editorials

Brooks stresses the importance of Obama's education pick and Fund ponders the possibility of a Sen. Bush. Plus: 'The most important job opening in the world.'

• Calling Barack Obama's national security team "extraordinary," Henry A. Kissinger acclaims in the Washington Post: "It took courage for the president-elect to choose this constellation and no little inner assurance -- both qualities essential for dealing with the challenge of distilling order out of a fragmenting international system."

Ronald Brownstein puts forth three "less obvious" questions he predicts will likely determine Hillary Rodham Clinton's effectiveness as secretary of State: "Will Clinton's experience as an elected official help or hurt her?" "Whose failures does she remember?" And, "Is Clinton's star power an asset or a liability?"


• In the Washington Times, the American Spectator's R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. scrutinizes Obama's Cabinet picks, claiming they are all too similar to the Clinton administration. "Of all the Clintonistas Mr. Obama has appointed, the most bizarre is the appointment of Mrs. Clinton as secretary of State."

• Choosing his Education secretary will be a "tough call for Obama, because it will mean offending people, but he can either galvanize the cause of reform or demoralize it." David Brooks declares that it will be "one of the biggest choices of his presidency."

• "You might think now that" Obama "has staffed his economic and security teams, the hard choices are over." But, Kimberley A. Strassel cautions that "he has one more doozy of a decision to make. And the worry is that his picks for that final, crucial team -- those overseeing energy and environmental policy -- will undo any smart moves the president-elect has made so far."


• Discussing the incoming administration's position on national security issues, Stuart Taylor Jr. contends that "Obama will have a choice: He can give the Left what it wants and weaken our defenses. Or he can follow the advice of his more prudent advisers... and kick the hard Left gently in the teeth."

• Using the Mumbai attacks as a jumping-off point, Michael Gerson explains the implications of a new report, which projects some type of biological or nuclear attack will occur in the world by 2013, and offers advice to the incoming administration on national security.

Eugene Robinson tears apart President Bush's interview with Charles Gibson, fuming that the president is trying to "rewrite history."

• "It's not too late," President Bush. "Sure, your approval ratings are lower than Richard Nixon's when he resigned, but you have six weeks to make this country love you again," Joel Stein quips, listing ways the president can win back Americans, such as spending more time with Obama, taking credit for lower gas prices or having a baby.


• With the headline, "Will there soon be another Bush to kick around?" John Fund speculates that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may run for the seat of retiring Sen. Mel Martinez.

Peggy Noonan discusses the unusual position the country is in right now between presidencies.

Dana Milbank recounts the automakers' testimony before Congress this week, observing that lawmakers were not satisfied that the executives sacrificed their private jets for cars and still drilled them on all the logistical aspects of their trip.

• "Enjoy lower gas prices now -- they probably won't last," Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., predicts in the Washington Times. "OPEC plotters won't allow it. To fight the near-certain higher gasoline prices of tomorrow, we need to plan to increase supply of our own domestic energy sources today."

• "Now we enter a new world order: more regulation, more skepticism, and more scrutiny," Charlie Cook senses, regarding the economy. "That's what happens whenever the pendulum swings too far one way or the other. In a perfect world, the pendulum would center itself, but this is not a perfect world."

From The Editorial Boards...

• The Los Angeles Times slams Obama for considering Rep. Xavier Becerra as his top trade representative, calling the California Democrat "a terrible choice, and not just because of a history of unsavory behavior."

• "While attention has focused on Bill Clinton's belated agreement to release the names of donors to his presidential library, the sitting president, unnoticed, has been raising money for his own," the Washington Post points out. "Bush's secret fundraising is lawful, but it is no more acceptable than Mr. Clinton's was."

• "The plans are fairly credible, but the chief executives from the Big Three auto companies left two things in Detroit," the New York Times asserts. "One was a believable commitment to transform themselves into businesses that make fuel-efficient cars, even when gas is cheap. The other was their letters of resignation."

• "In deciding whether to bail out US automakers, Congress has set itself up as a venture capitalist.... But can lawmakers be CEOs?" the Christian Science Monitor wonders. Under President Obama, "they best get used to it."

• Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press is fed up with all the criticism of the automakers' chosen modes of transportation. "The issue at hand is so much larger than who's traveling how -- it's about keeping intact an industry that supports millions of people and is the very core of American manufacturing."

• "Little attention is being paid to what is probably the most important job opening in the world," the Wall Street Journal marvels, "referring to the New York Federal Reserve Presidency, which will become vacant when Timothy Geithner moves to Treasury early next year. This job makes Commerce Secretary look like the Maldives finance minister."

• "More and more details continue to emerge that show bank regulators for years ignored warnings, and -- with lobbying from the banks -- torpedoed efforts to rein in risky lending practices now at the root of the mortgage meltdown," the Philadelphia Inquirer maintains.

• "A nuclear-capable Iran armed with ICBMs could be only months away," worries the Washington Times. "Meanwhile Washington drifts, awaiting more compelling news to shake it from its lethargy."

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