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Pundits & Editorials

McNamara's death opens old wounds, and his legacy serves as a 'cautionary tale' for Obama. Plus: the trials and tribulations of subsidizing health care.

President Obama "and Democrats claim they can expand subsidies for tens of millions of Americans, while saving money and improving the quality of care." The Wall Street Journal charges that "it can't possible be done."

• "If health care reform falls apart again in Congress, the most likely cause will be failure to agree on how to subsidize coverage for tens of millions of uninsured Americans," the New York Times speculates.


• "Sen.-elect Al Franken is good enough, he's smart enough, and, doggone it, people like him," Dana Milbank quips, recounting his arrival to the Senate Monday.

• "Naming" Sarah Palin "to the GOP ticket -- a top-down choice by McCain -- was the most reckless decision any national politician has made in the longest time, and while it certainly says something about" John McCain, "it says even more about his party. It has lost its mind," Richard Cohen remarks.

William Kristol wants to know why his "friends in the mainstream media and the Republican establishment... want to bury" Palin's "chances now as a presidential possibility. What are they so scared of?"


Eugene Robinson lays out "two reasons the political class and the commentariat continue to speak and write about Palin as if she were a substantial figure whose presence on the national stage is anything but a cruel, unfunny joke."

• "The negative but sustained passion being expressed by the professional Washington political class against" Palin "tends to belie its almost unanimous assertion that she is washed up," Tony Blankley contends.

• "Palin's career is, at this moment, the second most interesting in American politics," Michael Wolff acclaims. "She's gone from a local character to a national super nova to a major draw and wondrous wild card in less than a year."

• "When family life is severely worsened because of professional life, the sacrifice can be rightly judged as not worth it. Most voters understand this." The Christian Science Monitor says, "It's all the other reasons" Palin gave "that might rightly puzzle them."


• The Washington Post wants Congress to pass legislation that would "allow millions who live in autocratic societies access to the Internet."

Jonah Goldberg maintains that the Washington Post's now-cancelled "salons" shouldn't be surprising. "What the Post proposed is hardly radical. Lots of major publications -- and by lots, I mean pretty much all of them -- offer a wide array of meet-and-greet opportunities."

David Brooks looks to the recent news surrounding South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), Michael Jackson's death and Palin to argue that while "Americans still admire dignity... the word has become unmoored from any larger set of rules or ethical system."

• Obama's "foreign policy is in crisis," Gideon Rachman opines. "Above all Mr Obama is getting nothing on the issue he placed at the centre of his drive for a rapprochement with Russia: Iran."

Robert McNamara, who died Monday at 93, "will go down as a cautionary tale for the ages, and perhaps none more than for the Age of Obama," Bret Stephens writes.

• "With no small irony, Obama won the White House by running to a noticeable degree against McNamara's legacy, in the form of President Bush's invasion of Iraq," Derrick Z. Jackson asserts. "But questions are emerging as to whether Obama is slipping slowly into his own quagmire, in another guerrilla war."

• Obama "must avoid the intellectual hubris and blindness that" McNamara, "as brilliant as he was, sadly came to personify," Jim Hoagland remarks.

• "The obscenity of war is lost on most Americans, and that drains the death of" McNamara "of any real significance," Bob Herbert contends.

• For David Ignatius, "McNamara's death evokes a whole world of relationships and dreams and reversals that characterized the Washington of the 1960s."

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