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Legacy Content / EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Obama faces criticism for his 'nuclear vision,' while Gates is lauded for Defense cuts. Plus: Should the GOP pay more attention to its chairman?

April 7, 2009

President Obama "scored very highly for style and ambition on his European tour. But can he deliver the substance? Here, the verdict has to be much more doubtful," Gideon Rachman cautions.

• "Of all" Obama's "transformative domestic policy proposals, none is more far-reaching and less transparent than health care," Tony Blankley sneers.

• "A new public [health] plan -- to offer consumers greater choice, keep the private plans honest and, one can hope, restrain the relentless growth in health care premiums and underlying medical costs -- seems worth trying," the New York Times maintains.

 

• In the Los Angeles Times, The American Prospect's Ezra Klein asserts that the health care systems of the U.S., Britain and Canada are equally unsuccessful, despite the fact that the latter two are public and the former is private.

• By joking about marijuana in his recent online town hall meeting, Obama "passed on an unparalleled opportunity to offer food for thought on how the White House might be willing to rethink our disastrous marijuana policy," Drug Policy Alliance's Grant Smith contends in the Los Angeles Times.

• "It's Obama's "worst bailout so far. He's going to rescue the U.N. Human Rights Council," Jonah Goldberg fumes.

Roger Cohen believes it's a bigger deal that Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, opted out of the positions that earned him $8 million in order to work in the government for much less, not the fact that he earned that much money.

Derrick Z. Jackson cheers a House vote that gives the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco.

William McGurn criticizes Democratic governors and state legislators for allegedly proposing to expand "millionaires' taxes" to people earning as little as $300,000.

Eugene Robinson "can't believe" he's "saying this, but if the Republican Party wants to get back into the game, it should start by paying more attention to its new chairman, the all-too-quotable Michael Steele."

Scott Soshnick gives credit to former GM CEO Rick Wagoner for being "instrumental" in bringing the Final Four to recession-rocked Detroit.

• "Calmly and methodically," Defense Secretary Robert Gates "posed a direct challenge to the military-industrial complex" by announcing specific department cuts yesterday, Dana Milbank notes.

Fred Kaplan calls Gates' decision to cut funding "remarkable" and lauds him for taking the "first steps toward truly reforming the way the Pentagon does business."

• The Los Angeles Times deems the Defense cuts as "just about right."

Anne Applebaum charges that Obama is being unrealistic about nuclear nonproliferation.

• "The truth is that Mr. Obama's nuclear vision has reality exactly backward," the Wall Street Journal argues.

William Kristol finds it "telling" that Obama never referenced World War II or the U.S.'s use of nuclear weapons in 1945 when pushing for nonproliferation in Prague.

Bret Stephens also thinks Obama "implicitly" suggested in his speech that the "nuclear challenges we now face from North Korea and Iran all stem from America's original sin of using atomic bombs to bring World War II to the swiftest possible conclusion."

• "The defining characteristic of U.S. policy toward North Korea -- incoherence -- doesn't seem to have changed much as the Bush administration has given way to that of" Obama, the Washington Post scoffs.

• "So far, North Korea's rocket has failed but its gambit has won," the Chicago Tribune opines.

• Reporting from Afghanistan, David Ignatius relays discussions he sat in on between U.S. officials and Afghan tribal leaders regarding the war in that country.

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