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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

The inauguration has commentators in a frenzy, but can Washington survive the festivities? Plus: going down memory lane with George Bush.

Peggy Noonan senses a different feeling in Washington for this inauguration and tells readers what's required for a "full enjoyment" of the event.

• "Our nation's capital will survive the financial meltdown," but as for Tuesday's inauguration, Eugene Robinson cautions, that "is an open question."

 

Mona Charen has "never witnessed enthusiasm like this for an incoming president. There is always a degree of giddiness on the part of those who supported the president-elect, whoever he is, but today's excitement borders on worship."

Michael Gerson details what it will take for President-elect Barack Obama and his speechwriter, Jon Favreau, to craft a memorable and moving inaugural address.

• Obama needs "to avoid the fate of the last two Democratic presidents, both sabotaged by their own majorities," Kimberley A. Strassel contends. "Mr. Obama has yet to assume office, and already his own party is beating his priorities like a conga drum."

 

William Schneider thinks it wise that "Obama is not behaving as if he has a partisan mandate."

• Meanwhile, in the Washington Times, Cal Thomas welcomes the president-elect to Washington and reassures him that "even conservatives like me want you to succeed, so long as you don't pursue a strictly left-wing agenda."

Stuart Taylor discusses how Obama should go about closing Guantanamo Bay, focusing specifically on how he should handle the detainees.

• In the Los Angeles Times, Joseph F. Connor, the son of a man killed by a Puerto Rican terrorist group that Obama's Attorney General-designate Eric Holder later was involved in pardoning, reacts to Holder's confirmation hearing.

 

• "In revealing comments this week, Presidents 44 and 43 offered divergent visions of how to lead in a democracy," asserts Ronald Brownstein. "Obama talked about a 'collaborative, consultative process.' George W. Bush continued to praise something very close to the opposite."

• Referencing various GOP Senatorial match-ups, Charlie Cook remarks that "the party's contraction and rightward movement have become self-perpetuating, and will continue to be until something breaks the cycle."

• In the Wall Street Journal, Peter Wehner, former deputy assistant to Bush, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., scrutinize Obama's universal health care plan and warn readers that "we may be approaching a tipping point for democratic capitalism."

• The financial crisis "has delivered a blow to classical economics and taken a body of psychological work that was at the edge of public policy thought and brought it front and center," David Brooks explains.

• In the Washington Post, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., discusses his newly released report "detailing the abuses and excesses of the Bush administration and recommending steps to address them."

• "If we don't have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years... this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don't face any consequences if they abuse their power," Paul Krugman fears.

• Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer thinks Bush's legacy will "rehabilitate" itself sooner than many think.

Joel Stein lists various "gaudy and ridiculous" things Americans indulged in before the economic recession, including dog gyms, hedge funds and "the entire city of Las Vegas."

From The Editorial Boards...

• The Washington Times urges Obama to use his inaugural address to "unite Americans around common values and reassure us that he will vigorously defend our interests abroad."

• Obama spoke with the Washington Post editorial board Thursday "with two messages sketchy on details yet reassuring in approach: a commitment to fiscal discipline, and a determination not to be bound by liberal, or indeed any, orthodoxy."

• "Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has one of the toughest jobs in Washington," The Hill observes, noting that "a lot of bad news has greeted [him] in his first few weeks on the job."

USA Today evaluates what it sees as Bush's "dubious legacy," concluding that his "record, at least for now, does not lend itself easily to a positive assessment."

• "The Bush presidency was a successful one and will be viewed so over time," Wehner, Bush's former deputy assistant, counters in an opposing view. "The primary responsibility of the president is to keep American citizens safe. By that standard alone," Bush "has achieved success."

• "The world remains a very dangerous place. Yet thanks to Mr. Bush's post-9/11 willingness to act decisively, and at the risk of his own popularity, Americans are safer today than on September 10, 2001," the Wall Street Journal agrees.

• Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times delves into what lessons Obama could learn from Bush in terms of war tactics and predicts how the incoming leader may be a different type of "war president."

• "It is time for a cease-fire with Hamas and a return to the peace negotiations that are the only real hope for guaranteeing Israel's long-term security," the New York Times insists.

• The Boston Globe concurs, recommending that the cease-fire be in place before Obama takes office as president.

• The Christian Science Monitor maintains that in the Russia-Ukraine natural gas conflict, blame should be placed on both countries. The board focuses specifically on what Ukraine has done to provoke Russia.

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