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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Commentators review a whole host of confirmation hearings, while Bill Clinton's fundraising antics get extra attention. Plus: Gov. Jindal on the GOP.

• "At Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing yesterday, senators came up with a new interpretation of the Constitution's 'advice and consent' clause.'" Dana Milbank quips that "this one could be called the 'admire and congratulate' clause."

• "How does a guy on the fast track to be Treasury secretary fail to pay $34,000 worth of federal taxes"? Maureen Dowd marvels, in response to Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner's confirmation drama. "Americans expect the man who's in charge of the I.R.S. to pay his own taxes."

 

Ruth Marcus is not satisfied with the confirmation hearing of President-elect Barack Obama's Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis.

• Writing in USA Today, the paper's former intelligence reporter John Diamond expresses his concern that Obama's choice for CIA director, Leon Panetta, shows that the administration "is placing greater weight on the CIA's image and reputation than on the intelligence the president needs to lead effectively."

• "To regulate banks, Obama has chosen people who have sided with banks against the public interest," Harold Meyerson maintains.

 

• Referencing talk about Obama's '"post-partisan' instincts," Thomas Frank scoffs that "there is no branch of American political expression more trite, more smug, more hollow than centrism."

Martin Wolf argues that Obama's economic stimulus plan is still inadequate and incomplete.

• In the Chicago Tribune, columnist Rick Horowitz conjures up a sarcastic letter highlighting the 180-degree turn Democrats made in deciding to support Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to the Senate.

• In the Washington Times, Cal Thomas recounts a recent interview with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and ponders whether he could be "the new face of the GOP."

 

• Meanwhile, Amy Walter lists three reasons why Senate Republicans "have some opportunities to break the negative cycle" of lawmakers leaving the Hill.

• "Something has gone terribly wrong with the American dream. No longer is a college degree -- or even an advanced degree -- a guarantee of employment or job security," Kathleen Parker laments in the Washington Post.

• "Cease-fire talks" between Israel and Gaza "are under way in Egypt. If no halt has been arranged before Obama takes office," Trudy Rubin insists that "Clinton's first foreign-policy task should be to expedite one."

Thomas L. Friedman has "only one question about Israel's military operation in Gaza: What is the goal? Is it the education of Hamas or the eradication of Hamas? I hope that it's the education of Hamas."

• In the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post's Jonathan Finer recounts his time reporting on the 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon and describes how Israel hindered journalists' ability to do their jobs.

From The Editorial Boards...

• Obama's "appointments say that he values experience and expertise over loyalty to his political tribe. This was a trait notably lacking in the Bush administration." The Financial Times applauds this as a "welcome innovation."

• "One of America's greatest strengths is its potential for redemption and renewal." The New York Times "saw that again" Tuesday during Clinton's confirmation hearing.

• Former President Bill Clinton's "charitable foundation has the potential to haunt both his wife and the Obama administration," the Los Angeles Times predicts.

• The Washington Post agrees: "Ms. Clinton would be doing herself, and Mr. Obama, a favor by pressing her husband to accept greater disclosure or, better yet, to suspend foreign fundraising."

• Meanwhile, USA Today remarks that if Clinton is "confirmed as secretary of State and has to juggle an array of world crises, the last thing she needs is for" her husband's "foundation to become a distraction."

• Furthermore, the Wall Street Journal senses that Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and John Kerry, D-Mass., have "been around Washington long enough to be able to see political difficulty over the horizon."

• The Chicago Tribune asserts that Attorney General-designate Eric Holder, who begins his confirmation hearings this week, "has serious questions to answer about his role in two regrettable episodes."

• "The newly sworn-in Democrat-led Senate appears to be flailing about in trying to reach consensus on" Obama's "financial stimulus package, with most of the disagreement centering on $300 billion in tax cuts and refundable tax credits," the Washington Times notes.

• "The decision to go ahead and seat Burris this week was the only way to cut the party's losses and shove news media attention onto subjects that cast a more favorable light on Democrats," The Hill reasons.

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