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Pundits & Editorials

Conservatives attack Obama for going after possible CIA prisoner abuses, while both sides lose patience with the president's approach to health care. Plus: Could finger length explain the White House gender pay gap?

• "How best for President Obama to reclaim a left-wing base grown restive over what it sees as administration backtracking on health-care reform?" the New York Post asks. "Simple: Declare war on the CIA. George W. Bush's CIA, that is."

Rich Lowry believes the Obama administration is treating CIA Director Leon Panetta as "a frontman for Bush-era criminality." "If Panetta were shrewd," he mocks, "he'd make a play for a position that would command more respect -- say, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services."


• "History's demands can seem inconvenient, unfair or unreasonable," Eugene Robinson observes. "But they can't be ignored. The Obama administration has a legal and moral duty to determine whether crimes were committed in the Bush-era detention and interrogation of 'war on terror' prisoners -- and, if so, to prosecute those responsible."

• "Today the lesson that" Obama "and the Democratic leadership in Congress take from that 1994 defeat is that they need to avoid [Bill] Clinton's mistakes,'" writes William McGurn. "Avoiding mistakes, however, is not a winning strategy. A far more productive strategy would be to embrace Mr. Clinton's success, which was freeing himself from his party's left and returning to the centrist themes he had campaigned on."

Jonah Goldberg finds Obama's recent injection of faith into the health care debate "refreshing."


• "So we are to have a French health-care system without a French tradition of political protest," remarks Fouad Ajami, who teaches at the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University, in the Wall Street Journal. "It is odd that American liberalism, in a veritable state of insurrection during the Bush presidency, now seeks political quiescence."

• "Instead of hiking taxes on the high-earners paying nearly half their income in taxes -- as President Obama proposes -- the government should nail the super rich who are not so earnest," DeWayne Wickham suggests of tax cheats. "He should also aggressively pursue their enablers."

• "Senator Edward M. Kennedy has asked the Massachusetts Legislature to change state law to let the governor, currently a fellow Democrat, fill vacant Senate seats," the New York Times notes. "Abandoning the current system, in which voters choose, would be undemocratic, even at the request of such a respected lawmaker."

• "Teacher, please explain" health care and Afghanistan, Richard Cohen implores of the president. "Obama cannot -- or, to be both fair and precise, he has not been able to. This is because of an insufficiency I have noted previously -- his distinct coolness, an above-the-fray mien that does not communicate empathy."


• "If we had a draft -- or merely the threat of a draft -- we would not be in Iraq or Afghanistan," complains Bob Herbert. "But we don't have a draft so it's safe for most of the nation to be mindless about waging war. Other people's children are going to the slaughter."

Amity Shlaes uses the White House staff pay gap to talk about a new study connecting finger length to risk taking.

• "The philosophy of government under both parties can be boiled down to two acronyms: ATM and ASM -- always take more and always spend more," Cal Thomas alleges.

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