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Legacy Content / EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Partisan bickering reaches new heights over the stimulus bill, with Krugman pegging it as 'hackneyed political theater' and Milbank likening lawmakers to horses.

February 6, 2009

Peggy Noonan fears what may lie ahead in the new administration: perhaps a terrorist attack, as former Vice President Dick Cheney recently warned, or the stimulus package, which she calls a "mistake."

Kimberley Strassel compares President Obama's campaign rhetoric -- denouncing special interests and encouraging bipartisanship -- with his recent actions. She concludes that "from now until 2012, he'll be flyspecked for every interaction with a special interest, lobbyist, wealthy individual, or Republican."

• "More damaging to Obama's image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package," Charles Krauthammer scoffs.


Stimulating Partisan Wrangling

Paul Krugman laments that the stimulus bill debate has degraded to "hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clichés about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts."

Dana Milbank puts lawmakers into two categories -- workhorses and showhorses -- depending on how they dealt with the stimulus package on Thursday.

• "Something interesting happened this week," David Brooks senses. "The momentum of the debate was set by moderates. Conservative protests wouldn't have amounted to much without nagging moderate unease."

David Ignatius believes that Obama should channel Clint Eastwood in working with Republicans on the bill: "Make Washington politicians fear that if they cross him, they'll pay a penalty."

• The New York Times editorial board is "happy to see" Obama "getting tough with Congressional Republicans who are trying to sabotage" the stimulus bill, but stresses that he must also "get tough with Democrats."

The Nitty Gritty Details

• "For Obama, the key to recasting the debate may be reaffirming his commitment to long-term fiscal discipline," Ronald Brownstein reasons.

• The Wall Street Journal editorial board criticizes a plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that would bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back into the picture.

• "The spirit of Smoot-Hawley lives" on in the "Buy American" provisions of the stimulus bill, Clive Crook explains, arguing that restricting trade with other countries is not a good way to begin a presidency.

Scot Lehigh seeks to refute the stimulus bill critics who say it's too big or wouldn't affect the economy quickly enough.

Life After Daschle

• Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin and others offer their take on who Obama should pick as his Health and Human Services secretary in the Washington Post.

Charlie Cook cautions that Daschle's withdrawal brings Obama to an "important fork in the road," between appearing incompetent and looking transformational.

Scrutinizing Steele's GOP

• "More than anything else," Michael Steele's election as Republican National Committee chairman "signaled the restiveness among even rank-and-file Republicans," James A Barnes remarks. "And, ironically, if Steele is to succeed, he might need to expand on his earlier base-broadening efforts."

• In, Liberal strategist Bob Beckel calls the election of Steele a "smart move for the GOP and a warning for Democrats."

• "The Republican Party is sending mixed signals about how it intends to adjust to its new minority status," William Schneider perceives.

The Long And Winding Road In Afghanistan

• In the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I/D-Conn., lists five things he deems necessary to succeed in Afghanistan.

• Meanwhile, Fred Kaplan delves into the various decisions the new administration will have to make in Afghanistan.

Odds And Ends

Harold Meyerson explains why he believes Obama's move Wednesday to cap bank executives' pay is both "good politics" and "good economics."

• Do you have an MBA but no job? Kathleen Parker has a suggestion: volunteer in countries such as Sudan or Kyrgyzstan through the MBA Enterprise Corps, a division of the Citizens Development Corps.

• "The rules that removed" Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich "are not sufficiently distinguishable from a railroading, and they are wide open to abuse," Jonathan Rauch warns.

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