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Pundits & Editorials

'Death panels' incite debate on elderly health care, and Robinson breathes a sigh of relief Sarah Palin isn't VP. Plus: Pennsylvania's 'political earthquake.'

• Analogies invoking Nazis and Adolf Hitler have no place in town hall meetings, Michael Gerson maintains: "The burning of the Reichstag and Kristallnacht are not arguments against a single-payer health plan or against the Patriot Act."

Charles Krauthammer doesn't think preventative care will save money in the health care reform, contrary to what Democrats and President Obama have been touting lately.


Eric Zorn analogizes universal health care to the notion that all Americans should be able to board a lifeboat in an emergency, insisting that health care for all is essential.

• The Washington Post believes that the "death panels" debate "threatens sensible policy on end-of-life discussions and in the separate realm of reforming the health-care system."

• "While claims about... 'death panels' are over the top, senior fears have exposed a fundamental truth about what Mr. Obama is proposing," the Wall Street Journal argues. "Namely, once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, rationing care is inevitable, and those who have lived the longest will find their care the most restricted."


• In the Wall Street Journal, John H. Cochrane, a finance professor at University of Chicago's business school, asserts that a market-based health care system is the best way to make sure Americans receive care, especially for pre-existing conditions.

William Galston thinks the economy -- above health care and energy legislation -- should be the focus of Obama's attention for the next three years.

• "The president seemed like a man long celebrated as being very good at politics -- the swift rise, the astute reading of a varied electorate -- who is finding out day by day that he isn't actually all that good at it," Peggy Noonan scoffs.

Paul Krugman describes conservatives' opposition to Obama and Democrats as "an enraged right that denies the legitimacy of his presidency, that eagerly seizes on every wild rumor manufactured by the right-wing media complex."


• "Opponents have unleashed a torrent of hyperbolic claims and heated invective in an effort to stop" health care "reform. But the president shouldn't be surprised by the rhetoric," author Nancy J. Altman explains in the Los Angeles Times. "Three-quarters of a century ago, nearly identical denunciations were used in an attempt to kill legislation that created one of the country's most popular government programs: Social Security."

Eugene Robinson says that despite how bad things are now with the economy and a "polarizing" health care debate, things would be much worse if John McCain were president -- because Sarah Palin would be vice president.

• "What to do when your plans to save the financial system from future disaster are being derailed by the guy who supposedly saved the financial system from current disaster?" Kimberley Strassel asks. "Someone hide Ben Bernanke."

Michael Barone cites new polling data that shows GOP Senate candidate Pat Toomey besting incumbent Democrat Arlen Specter to suggest Pennsylvania has been the "scene of a major political earthquake."

• Washington should use its influence to encourage Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to alleviate sectarian tensions between Shiites and Sunnis, the New York Times contends.

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