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Pundits & Editorials

Rumors swirl around bank nationalization and Clinton's human rights comments face scrutiny. Plus: Will the GOP strike back in the Northeast?

William McGurn asserts that "one good gauge" of President Obama's success in tonight's address will depend on a group of Americans who have been "largely absent" from his statements so far: "entrepreneurs and small business owners."

David Brooks fears "that in trying to do everything at once," the administration "will do nothing well." He worries "that we have a group of people who haven't even learned to use their new phone system trying to redesign half the U.S. economy."


• In the Washington Post, former Sen. David Boren, D-Okla., suggests building "bipartisan working groups of key members of Congress and members of the Cabinet" to help mend the relations between parties.

Tony Blankley hates "to admit it, but" he misses "Bill Clinton. At least that lecherous old charmer was more amusing than his successor as a Democratic president, our new mortician-in-chief, Barack 'end of the world' Obama."

Jonah Goldberg finds numerous similarities between Obama and George W. Bush.


• "2010 could be the start of a comeback for the GOP in the Northeast, in part because the party suffered such complete devastation that a bit of a rebound seems close to inevitable," Stuart Rothenberg (subscription) speculates.

Stimulating Talk

Bret Stephens argues that the country's predicament resembles its pre-World War II crossroads and that investing in defense is also a sound way to create jobs.

• The New York Times editorial board admonishes the GOP Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mark Sanford of South Carolina for refusing stimulus money.

Derrick Z. Jackson applauds the amount of money the stimulus allocates to transportation, but encourages Obama to do even more to support public transportation over the Detroit automakers.


Bob Herbert supports the idea of an infrastructure bank, but believes the administration can do even more to create jobs and invest in infrastructure.

The Weekly Standard's Jim Prevor picks apart Obama's housing plan.

A Nationalizing Reality

• The Wall Street Journal editorial board believes that the stock market is plummeting because the administration refuses to address rumors of impending bank nationalizations.

Eugene Robinson thinks the new administration needs to show some "brutal honesty" regarding banks and their rumored nationalization to bring "the economy out of its kamikaze dive."

• "The Obama administration needs to make clear immediately that nationalization... is not a viable option," declares former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman William Isaac in the Wall Street Journal.

• "Nationalization is scary, all right. But" David Greising worries that so is the alternative: "The malaise and mismanagement we have witnessed since the financial system started breaking down last summer."

• In the Washington Post, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., highlights the differences between the major Wall Street banks and those around the country, insisting that the administration's rules should reflect these differences.

The Power of Clinton's Words

Anne Applebaum contends that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's prediction that "we pretty much know what" China is "going to say" regarding human rights in Tibet isn't as powerful as the new administration's silence and inaction on this issue.

• The Washington Post editorial board counters that Clinton has underestimated the power of her words.

• The Los Angeles Times editorial board believes Clinton had a successful trip to Asia and that other trips will present more appropriate opportunities to address human rights.

Other Foreign Affairs

• The U.S. faces grim challenges in confronting -- or deciding to live with -- a "nuclear Iran," Gideon Rachman cautions.

Richard Cohen examines the "complicated" role Arabs play in Israel.

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