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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Morton Kondracke says health care reform is politically "too big to fail" for Obama, while A.B. Stoddard thinks the president's luck has run out. Plus: Is it time to kill 'cash-for-clunkers'?

• "'Too big to fail' is the tagline that health lobbyist Fred Graefe applies to the health care reform effort, and he's got it dead right," Morton Kondracke argues. "The failure of an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress to pass President Barack Obama's No. 1 priority would be a political disaster for the president and his party."

Cal Thomas takes issue with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' contention that lawmakers ought to look beyond the fine print and realize the impact health care reform will have. "The details matter because they are about government deciding who gets treatment when sick and who does not, who lives and who dies," he writes. "Are there any details more important than that?"

 

• "The escalating war to block President Obama's hostile takeover of our health care system has moved to a wider battlefield of TV ads, Internet videos and town-hall meetings where his opponents may have the advantage," Donald Lambro points out.

Stuart Rothenberg thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., need to "recharge their batteries" over the recess after a string of legislative frustrations.

• "When several members of the Blue Dogs, a moderate-conservative Democratic faction, met last week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to negotiate the deal that allowed the health-care bill to move to the floor, it was a signal of their rise to prominence," David Broder argues.

 

• "Sending a former president to secure the release of two journalists detained by North Korea was a big step, but Bill Clinton's trip will have been well worth the effort if it laid the groundwork for truly productive talks on North Korea's nuclear programs," the New York Times maintains.

• "For many years, based on five visits to North Korea and its border areas, I've argued for an 'engagement' approach toward Pyongyang, but now I've reluctantly concluded that we need more sticks," Nicholas Kristof admits.

A.B. Stoddard chronicles the president's setbacks early in his term. "Clearly, Obama's luck ran out on Inauguration Day," she contends. "Happy birthday, Mr. President. Better luck next year."

• In addition to his 48th birthday, "Obama is hitting another milestone this week. When Congress goes into recess it'll be a rough half-year marker for his presidency," Gail Collins observes. "And things have been looking pretty good."

 

• "April might be the cruelest month, but August is the dumbest -- at least if you have the misfortune to be watching TV," quips Meghan Daum. "With relatively little else happening, the darndest people and causes tend to grab the spotlight."

• "Cash for clunkers is a little bailout that illustrates a big problem," writes Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., in Politico. "In describing what auto dealers must do with the traded-in vehicles, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, 'We kill the car.' Now the Senate should return the favor and kill this ill-conceived program."

• On Jan. 20, it seemed hard to believe that the new president could be stopped, Daniel Henninger argues. "Eight months into his presidency, Mr. Obama may do just that -- fail."

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