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Legacy Content / EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Is 'government' a dirty word? Plus: Fred Barnes on why the GOP doesn't believe in bipartisanship.

August 24, 2009

Fred Barnes congratulates Republicans on a strategy that is "simply to aggressively and relentlessly oppose the liberal agenda of the president and the Democratic Congress." Their decision "to be combative rather than accommodating" has shown that "seeking compromise, being conciliatory, pretending bipartisanship exists when it doesn't all play into the hands of the majority."

• The Los Angeles Times notes that "critics of 'Obama-care' argue that the country can't afford the reform bills moving through Congress" but "if costs keep growing at their current rate, health care will consume 20% of all spending in the U.S. by 2018."

E.J. Dionne Jr. argues that avoiding an economic "cataclysm" was President Obama's "invisible achievement" and has allowed "antigovernment ideologues ... to pretend that no serious intervention was required. So everyone goes back to complaining about high deficits and the shortcomings of government as if nothing had happened."

 

• In a Washington Post op-ed, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele uses the word "government" more than a dozen times as he outlines what the GOP stands for, and against, on health care.

Paul Krugman explains why Reaganism -- "an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good" -- failed, and why Washington is still enthralled.

• The Wall Street Journal supports increased competition for health insurance but not if the government runs it. "Allow us to suggest a path to it that will be a lot easier than erecting the impossible dream of a public option: Let insurance companies sell health-care policies across state lines."

Ross Douthat evaluates the support of Obama's "most loyal constituencies" this way: "As the health care debate enters its decisive weeks, the left doubts President Obama's commitment, and the press doubts his competence."

• When Rep. Barney Frank quashed a raucous town hall crowd, the New York Times found it "certainly refreshing to hear him try to jolly or shame his audience into a serious debate."

• A decision to prohibit fishing in some Arctic waters is branded by the New York Times as "the first time the United States shut down a fishery because of climate change rather than overfishing."

Robert J. Samuelson contends that "the Obama administration's enthusiasm for high-speed rail is a dispiriting example of government's inability to learn from past mistakes."

• "Waxman-Markey is largely top-down regulation dressed in cap-and-trade clothing," argue David Schoenbrod of the American Enterprise Institute and Richard B. Stewart, former chairman of Environmental Defense Fund, in the Wall Street Journal.

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