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Pundits & Editorials

Chapman labels Congress a 'lynch mob,' and Henninger wants earmark spending out in the open. Plus: McCain and Lieberman on Afghanistan.

• On, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., argues that Republicans have incorrectly placed blame for the last decade on Democrats, because the GOP was in charge of Congress.

• In the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove contends that by "contradict[ing] campaign promises," the new administration is "unwittingly giving the Republicans an opening."


Daniel Henninger quips that a new TV show should be created, "American Earmarks," so lawmakers can let every American see what each of the 8,000 earmarks in the omnibus spending bill are and how they're being spent.

• The Los Angeles Times supports the administration's decision to cut funding for Yucca Mountain, the proposed nuclear waste site.

Reaction To The Reaction To The Reaction

Dana Milbank believes that one thing lawmakers could agree on at AIG chief executive Edward Liddy's hearing was their outrage: "They traded expressions of this emotion in a sort of mass catharsis."


Caroline Baum wants to know: "Why should Liddy endure the public's wrath for the sake of his reputation, which lawmakers will destroy in a heartbeat to save their own hides?"

E. J. Dionne Jr. maintains that populism -- the mass anger of Americans -- should not be the problem, the AIG executives should be.

• Responding to President Obama's recent comments about the public's reaction to the bonuses -- "I want to channel our anger in a constructive way" -- Gail Collins quips that "everybody knows constructively channeled anger doesn't really count. It's like diet pizza."

• "No one in the lynch mob [Congress] wants to admit that the amount is piddling from the point of view of taxpayers," scoffs Steve Chapman. "The prevailing reaction amounts to swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat."


• "Of all the reasons for taxpayers to be outraged about AIG, executive bonuses are only a part of it," the Philadelphia Inquirer asserts.

• In the Washington Post, Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, former AIG chief executive; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, economic adviser for John McCain's presidential campaign; and L. William Seidman, founding Chairman of Resolution Trust, Corp., weigh in on the bonus debacle.

• "The financial crisis, including what went wrong at A.I.G., is not just the result of a missing regulator, a gaping structural gap in the regulatory framework," the New York Times contends.

• The Washington Times insists that there must be "prudent and well-calculated examination of the situation before slapping together legislation to address the challenges presented by" the bonuses.

• "The worst mistake" Obama "can make is to deflect attention away from government's mistakes by joining the attack on the very bankers he needs to lead an economic recovery," the Wall Street Journal maintains. "That's how a deep recession becomes a Depression."

• "If we thought it was tricky to price these toxic assets at failed banks, try calibrating outrage." John Dickerson expects that "to be the president's task after this AIG mess is over."

Foreign Affairs: Approaching Afghanistan, Pakistan

• In the Washington Post, Sens. McCain, R-Ariz., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., propose a strategy for Afghanistan.

David Ignatius believes that David Kilcullen, an Australian "counterinsurgency guru" who had been one of the architects of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq, has some good ideas for the next steps in Afghanistan.

• "As Obama unfurls his Afghanistan strategy, it's worth recalling that the original goal was clear, limited and quickly achieved," USA Today remarks.

• The Washington Post lays out what it believes the new administration must do in order to save Pakistan.

Odds And Ends

• When we go online for news, "each of us is our own editor, our own gatekeeper.... And if that's the trend," Nicholas D. Kristof fears, "God save us from ourselves."

• Reporting from Arizona, George F. Will laments that the state is right in the middle of violent turmoil instigated by the Mexican government's decision to "wage war" against its drug cartels.

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